What is wrong with having the character quality of perseverance?
Absolutely nothing. It is one of the most highly desirable qualities to possess. However, getting things done or obtained quickly is becoming the norm. Two definitions reveal how perseverance can be classified as “dirty”.
The first is that perseverance is dirty, and I want to stay away from it. Like trying to avoid getting scuff marks on my brand new pair of white Nike’s.
There is a challenge – my choices are easily avoidance, denial, and quitting. Whatever I am desiring to obtain – it is simply not worth the effort. Or, I can go through life letting others or my electronic devices think for me in decision-making, finding out information, directions, preferences for what I like, and put together a research project with minimal effort beyond a few clicks on the computer. The mantra of: If at first you don’t succeed – quit! I’ve been there, have you? It took me almost three years to self publish my first book of about 50 pages. And it isn’t because I’m slow on the keyboard. I became close allies with Procrastination, Discouragement, Resignation, and Diminishment. Fortunately, Perseverance beat up those false allies.
The second way that perseverance is dirty is a good thing. It is associated with getting your hands filthy, messy, hard work, grit, thinking outside the box, facing pain,being stretched and challenged, forced out of your comfort zone, and embracing an indomitable spirit that won’t give up.
Three of my favorite stories of perseverance come from the entertainment world:
1) Sports: QB Kurt Warner – he took two perennial losing teams to the Super Bowl (Rams and Cardinals) and was voted as the league MVP. He had to overcome not being drafted by a team, playing in the Arena Football League, stocking shelves at a grocery store to pay the bills, and sit on the bench for years while less talented players were given the starting position.
2) Movies: Sylvester Stallone – in the 1970s he had written a script about an underdog boxer named Rocky that Hollywood was not interested in. United Artists took a chance on him, ultimately leading to an Academy Award for best picture. Five decades later he is still making movies!
3) Music: U2 – they initially broke up in their early beginnings out of frustration and lack of progress. They were rejected twice by every recording company they attempted to get a contract with. They had to eat humble pie and borrow money from their parents to support their first tour of London. Now, they are frequently referred to as “The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World.”
Two things stand out with these and other stories of perseverance:
*The people involved had an unstoppable belief that they had something of value to offer, thereby making the world a better place. They absolutely refused to quit until their was no other way humanly possible to accomplished what they envisioned.
*People who persevere have someone who believes in them. They can see past the current circumstances and give an opportunity, continual encouragement, finances, a contract, public exposure, or whatever else is needed at that particular time.
How many of us were (or are) on the threshold of success only to give up inches away from a major breakthrough?
Thanks for reading – please share your favorite story of perseverance in the comments section. Or, is there something you are working through right now needing perseverance?