Elbert Hubbard? Robert Burns Wilson? Dale Carnegie? Kin Hubbard? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: A short motivational piece of about 130 words begins with the following sentence: “Genius is really only the power of making continuous efforts.” The piece has been attributed to aphorist Elbert Hubbard and poet Robert Burns Wilson. Would you please explore this topic?
Quote Investigator: The earliest match for the full piece located by QI appeared in 1895 within “Mining and Scientific Press” of San Francisco, California. Boldface added to excerpts by QI. No attribution was given: 1895 June 1, Mining and Scientific Press, Volume 70, Number 22, Keeping Everlastingly At It Brings Success, Quote Page 344, Column 3, San Francisco, California. (Google Books Full View) link
Genius is really only the power of making continuous efforts. The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it—so fine that we are often on the line and do not know it. How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience would have achieved success. As the tide goes clear out, so it comes clear in. In business, sometimes prospects may seem darkest when really they are on the turn. A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success. There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose.
Based on current evidence the author of this piece remains anonymous. Interestingly, the text contains material lifted from an 1887 essay by Robert Burns Wilson. See details further below.
The first ascription to Elbert Hubbard occurred in a book published in 1911. But this evidence is weak because of its late date.
Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.