Today I want to talk to you about persistence. Merriam-Webster defines persistence as,
1. The quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people. 2.The state of occurring or existing beyond the usual, expected, or normal time.
Let’s look at the first part of that definition. Persistence means doing something in spite of the fact that it is difficult or opposed by other people. I know that many people spend a lot of time worried about what others think of their actions; this can make making the decision to follow your own path very difficult. Pressure from your parents, your colleagues, or your friends can lead you to believe that the actions you want to take or the path you want to follow is not feasible. Or perhaps the path you want to take is difficult for entirely different reasons. Maybe you are scared of failing, maybe you don’t think you have enough time or money to make the decision to follow your dreams, maybe you have tried several times and something always seems to get in the way.
Persistence means ignoring all this–the pressure and judgment from others, the fact that obstacles present themselves, the fear of failure–and continuing toward the end goal, even if you can’t see it clearly.
Now let’s look at the second part of the definition. Persistence has a temporal element. Persistence means that if you look at the standard amount of time that any one action or effect is supposed to span, that action or effect outlasts it. When all signs point to doing, trying, working at something for a certain amount of time, persistence means reaching that “normal” period of time and continuing beyond it. It means disregarding convention, looking “usual” in the face and laughing at it as you walk past. It means pressing on because you have not yet obtained your goal and persistence dictates as much.
Persistence has a lot to do with ignoring things–people, time, obstacles, pressure, fear, insecurity, doubt, etc. Persistence means putting on your blinders and noise-canceling headphones, silencing the world around you and focusing exclusively on your goal. Being persistent basically equates to being a bad ass; flipping the bird to all negative thoughts, opinions, or sentiments that come your way and taking another step forward, even if you just took two steps back. Remaining persistent is, by its very definition, difficult and outside of the norm. So my only question to you today is, ‘are you normal or are you a bad ass?’
I think quitting should never be a choice. It will never give you the gratification of knowing what you’re able to conquer. It is something that sabotages what you are trying to accomplish.