Perseverance is the Key to Success and Victory (Battle of Bunker Hill)

On June 17th 1775, a force of over 2000 confident British regulars and grenadiers marched steadfastly up a small hill outside of Boston towards a haphazardly assembled group of colonial militia.

And what a sight to behold. They were the pride of England. Their muskets gleamed in the afternoon sun. The bright red coats in perfect lines and organized with precision movements. All the men in perfect step. These men were part of an empire that had conquered and put down many a rebellion. Just the sight of them marching towards the enemy struck fear in the hearts of those who dared to stand against them.

The British had faced many such “armies”, if you could call them that, before. And they had all been defeated. They had no reason to think that this battle would be any different.

And the colonial militia that were there to defy the British? Behind their lines: confusion and disarray. They were not organized or trained like the British regulars. They were not equipped with matching kits and outfitted with a full array of the latest weapons.british regulars

And to an objective observer, the outcome of the battle would have already been decided. The smaller, untrained, unorganized colonial militia would have no chance against the British war machine. It was almost too easy. And then the battle happened.

The British marched toward the fortifications of the colonials. They were expecting the colonials to either flee, or perhaps make a feeble attempt to defend the hill.

But they didn’t do either! They just stood there behind their makeshift fortifications with their muskets waiting.

Attitude of Patience and Grit

Colonel William Prescott of the colonial militia had calmly ordered his men, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!”

He knew for them to have any chance, they would have to conserve their ammunition and certainly not flee. And they obeyed! The first attempt by the British to take the hill failed. And the second time as well. The overconfident redcoats were being turned away by a group of rabble!!

But on the third assault the British did succeed in taking the ground.

And the Americans? While they ended up technically losing the battle of Bunker Hill (because they retreated), they certainly gave the British something to think about. The British lost almost half their force taking that hill, while the Americans lost just over 100 men.

Read more about the Battle of Bunker Hill here from the History channel and from Wikipedia here.

perseverance at Bunker hill
Image source: WikiCommons

 What Can We Learn?

Why am telling you this story? Well, I do love history and the heroes that rise up when they’re needed most. But I also think we can learn from the actions of those brave colonials.

Can you imagine the thoughts running through the minds of the colonial militia while they watched the British soldiers march directly towards them? What goes through the mind of someone who is outnumbered and outgunned? They knew the stories of how the British had overwhelmed inferior forces before. Why would they be any different?

Would you stay and fight? Or would you run, and live to fight another day?

I think the character trait that defined the colonials during the Battle of Bunker Hill and the entire Revolutionary War would be grit and perseverance.

Develop Perseverance and Grit

They knew what they were fighting for, and they determined that they would do whatever it took to get it done. The steely nerves and resolve they had were put to the test. Because talk and rhetoric mean nothing when an army is on your doorstep ready to destroy your home.

But the patriots were determined to succeed. And if that meant facing down the premier army of the 18th century, then so be it. Bring it on!

If that meant not firing until that same elite fighting force was so close you could look them in the eye, then so be it. Bring it on!

If that meant facing down that impressive looking army multiple times without running in panic, then so be it. Bring it on!

So their attitude came from an angry indignation at the tyranny and injustices that the British empire had afforded the colonies. That was their why, and they wanted freedom.

Sometimes it seems that perseverance and grit are just qualities that some have and others don’t. Either due to difficult childhood circumstances or other financial hardships and disadvantages. But I would submit, that anyone can develop the grit necessary to succeed.

Like the patriots, sometimes it does take a difficult situation to bring out the perseverance needed to overcome difficulties. But other times it simply takes discovering your purpose to cultivate that never say die attitude.

Do you have a Purpose?

So, how about you? Do you have a difficult financial situation? Where nothing seems to come easy, and others around you seem to always be doing better.

Find your reason for fighting! Find that purpose for staring down debt! And resolving to pay it off – no matter what!

Find the why behind your going to work every day! For dealing with stress and hardship when others are seemingly living the good-life.

Is it family? Or freedom? Or perhaps faith? What ever your purpose, use it for motivation and encouragement.

And above all, DON’T QUIT! Once you make a plan to pay down your debt, or save large portions of your income, stick with it! If you decided to work a specific job to accomplish a goal, then bring it on! And see it thru to the end.

Use the attitude of the gritty colonial militia! Wait until you can see the whites of their eyes . . . Then LET ‘EM HAVE IT! . . . figuratively, of course.

So what’s your why? And do you identify with the grit of the patriots?

Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading and sharing.



Chris is the original Cash Dad. He's a father of 3 and a mechanical engineer by trade.


  1. I am writing about the same thing but from a different perspective. I have a disability so perseverance when the odds are stacked against you.

    • Chris Reply

      That sounds great. I hope it turns out well for you. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Mr. Financial Freedom Project Reply

    Nice article, Chris! I love the Bunker Hill reference. Both grit and perseverance open many doors that talent or skill alone cannot. I’m a big believer in the “effort trumps ability” adage.

    To the point of your last section in regard to finding your purpose, I’ve talked to some couples who had trouble agreeing on financial goals / direction / saving vs. spending balance when one spouse was a spender and the other a saver. I’ve found that the key to getting a spender on board with savings goals is to help them understand the “why”.

    Connecting those dots provides the necessary motivation to persevere, and can make all the difference!

    • Chris Reply

      Thanks for the feedback. I totally agree about the “why”. Once couples can get together behind their why, there’s nothing they can’t do.

      Thanks for the comment.

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