I’ve often heard stories about how persistent woodpeckers are. They don’t jump around to 15 different trees. Instead, they beat on one tree over and over again. Why? Because persistence tends to pay off.

They know that there are bugs in every tree. And if they fly to a lot of different trees, they have a 1 in that entire tree chance of hitting a bug. But, each time they make a hole in the same tree, they increase their odds.

Let’s say they could poke 1,000 holes in a tree. If they flew to a new tree and made a hole, they have a 1 in 1,000 shot at finding lunch. If they left and went to a new tree, they’d lose all their progress and start all over with 1 in 1,000. But, if they stay at the same tree, that changes everything.

According to studies, woodpeckers can drill 20 times in one second. Let’s say it takes 20 pecks to get a decent hole.

That means, if they stay at the same tree for 1 minute, their odds at finding a bug are now 60 in 1,000 or 6 in 100. Let’s say they stay there 10 minutes. The odds are now 60% that they will find food.

Don’t think they do this? Here’s a log I found with a series of holes.


Don’t jump to a new tree (or opportunity) just because the first hole doesn’t work out at the last tree. Stay focused. Stay engaged. And above all, stay persistent.