Determination and the ability to see a course of action through are critical to an entrepreneur. And yet, persistence needs oversight from a sense of reality. You can be as determined to see an idea through to fruition as you want, but you also need patience and flexibility to make ideas work.

Howard Schultz and Jeff Bezos, CEOs and founders respectively of Starbucks and Amazon.com, have been determined for decades. Each has taken a personal vision of what might have seemed like an unlikely potential empire--a mammoth bookstore online or global chain of high-priced coffee shops?--and then recruited the help to build it physical or virtual brick by brick. Both have seen setbacks and still gone on.

Each is currently wrestling with both public disbelief and attempts to push the bounds on their businesses at the same time. Pundits are saying that Bezos can't possibly succeed with some of the hardware his company has created, and yet, Amazon got the OK to test delivery drones outdoors, which seems as nutty and unlikely a business activity as any. Schultz was castigated for his "Race Together" program to increase social awareness of racism, but is creating a practical path of work and education for youth to be upwardly mobile.

Schultz and Bezos have a lot to teach, and here are five principles you can see in their efforts.

Set your goal

When people make goals, they often set small ones, even when those goals seem ambitious. Bezos could have aimed at a big player in the book business. Instead, he wanted to remake the entire retailing industry. Schultz might have been happy with a chain of cafes, and then with a huge chain of cafes. But he grew up in a housing project and wants the company to make both money and a social difference. If you're going to put your mind to something, might as well aim for something large. More on that in the next point.

Know the difference between the goal and path

The goal is the ultimately destination you want to reach. The path is the particular route you take at any moment. It's like the difference between saying you want to drive to California and identifying the set of roads that will get you to a specific city in the state. At times you may find your progress blocked, so see how you can shift from one path to another to keep getting closer to where you want to be. The ability to shift paths is key to why aiming for something large is helpful. The bigger the goal, the more different ways you can have to approach it. It's much harder to achieve, but also much harder to block.

Be ready to invest

Giving up is easy when you have little on the line. Invest big for those big goals. It may be money, although more likely your major investments will be sweat and time. The more you leverage Other People's Everything, whether effort, capital, or achievements, the more easily you let yourself off the hood.

Recognize when you're wasting time

Persistence is important. Having some common sense and recognizing when you're hitting roadblocks is a must. The trick, here, is to find some balance. If you concede victory too easily, you'll never achieve anything of note. But you can also chase down a dead-end and wind up nowhere.

Dust yourself off and restart

The key to persistence is to keep going. You're going to fail a thousand times in various ways. All that matters is that you get up and start over once more than your number of failures.