I love em both

I love both, persistence and perseverance. However, there is a subtle difference between the two. Knowing this difference has helped me use the words correctly, and switch to my one core value from persistent to perseverance. I still love the word persistence, more than the word perseverance for some of the expressions where persistent can be used but perseverance can’t. I will give examples later in the post. For now, let’s see the difference.


If you google the definition of persistence you get:

Firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

Looking up perseverance gets us:

Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.


So what’s the big deal?

The subtle but significant difference is in the perception of the action identified by these words. For example, I have stopped picking up phone calls because spammers/scammers are persistent in calling me. From my point of view, they are stubborn, persistent, and fraudulent but not perseverant. They might think that they are perseverant. And, this is the difference between the two words. 

Perseverance, on the other hand, is used to express a positive trait of making wise decisions over time to accomplish a noble goal.

Nothing can stop you from attaching whatever meaning you want to persistence and perseverance. However, in the english language and literature the word persistent invokes a negative emotion while perseverance results in a positive emotion.

Having said that, there are some expressions where persistent comes in handy and the perseverance sits on a side line. A couple of examples:

  • Persistence of vision
  • Persistence of action