"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do." - Pele
"Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Sometimes it is difficult to see the progress we’re making. Sometimes we’re pretty sure we’re not making any progress at all. That’s when perseverance comes into play. It is that “keep going” when all signs point to stop. It’s being able to take one more step when all you want to do is fall down.
Most worthwhile goals seem to require a lot of work and many times the path to the final result is not very clear. Yet we learn quickly that keeping at some sort of puzzle or hammering away at an obstacle gets us a result in the end. Over time we also develop a sense of how much effort is appropriate to put in to a task and when to give up on a problem that is just not solvable.
The quotes today highlight a few of important points about perseverance. First Pele points out that sometimes our path to success is not just about perseverance with what we already know, but in learning something new. Learning, by its very nature, requires extra energy and concentration and at the end of that effort we may have only made some minimal gains. So by making an effort to learn new skills and new ideas we are both practicing perseverance and building new resources to take aim at the next bigger thing. Perhaps our next step forward is in an area we currently have no understanding of. Certainly it is something to consider.
Next Longfellow paints a picture of one way perseverance works. I love the imagery of a person pounding on the door hoping to gain entrance. How often do we feel this type of struggle. Our attempts to break through are clearly not getting any result whatsoever. The door remains closed completely until something finally happens and we can engage with the next step. The effort has to be sustained without any measurable progress for a long time and even then we don’t necessarily gain the result we want.
Perseverance allows us persist in our efforts beyond the horizon of immediate gratification and maintain our energy toward longer term objectives. It is the belief in the correctness of our actions, approach, and thinking that help us stay engaged with our effort when frustration, fatigue, and disappointment try to tear our determination down. What sort of ideas, what sort of experiences to you draw on to continue forward?
Work to develop a strong and flexible mind and then practice perseverance in both big and small ways. Persevere in this lifelong practice and you’ll be amazed at what doors can be opened.
What do you struggle with most with these days? How does perseverance come into play for you?