In the confrontation between the rock and the stream, the stream wins – not through strength but through perseverance.
Perseverance is the act of doing something wholeheartedly, whether you want to or not. Most people admire this characteristic in others, and employers look for it in their employees.
People who persevere give their absolute best to push through their challenges. They don’t take defeat lying down. Instead, they battle on to master the skills they need in order to be successful.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. The person who starts off with a hiss and a roar can easily be demoralised when progress slows. But, as the saying goes, ‘It’s not how you start but how you finish that matters most’. The strength of your finishing will depend on the hundreds of small decisions and actions that you take each day.
‘The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.’ – Confucius.
Great advice for your teen
Every action counts
Life never stands still. Every action either takes us towards a rewarding life or towards a life that disappoints. Every time you persevere, you create a positive expectation about how you’ll handle your next challenge. Likewise, every time you give in or give up, you set in place a negative expectation.
John Maxwell said, ‘We overestimate what we can do in a day but underestimate what we can achieve in a lifetime.’ Our society values instant gratification, so it’s easy to become discouraged by the apparent slowness of your progress – but that’s where perseverance kicks in. If you keep at it, one day you’ll wake up and realise just how far you’ve come. This is especially true of health and fitness goals, and when saving money or mastering new skills.
People who persevere are problem-solvers
Employers always favour a person with perseverance and a great attitude to gaining aptitude (i.e. new skills and capabilities). A successful business owner once told me, ‘I employ people who persevere – they don’t quit when the going gets tough. I expect my staff to find a way to solve their problems.’ But that’s not the end of the story: ‘If they’ve done all they can to solve the problem on their own, then I expect them to ask for help. It’s about the attitude. Even though I want them to be fighters, I don’t want them to be so full of pride that they’re not willing to seek help.’
Every action either takes us towards a rewarding life or towards a life that disappoints
It’s all about finding the right balance because, while it’s good to learn from personal experience, it’s also good to ask for help from someone who has more wisdom or experience. It takes humility to put your ego in your pocket and admit that you’ve come to the end of your own capacity. Just pushing on for the sake of it, doing the wrong thing or heading in the wrong direction, won’t achieve the positive results you’re seeking.
Just like the stream that finds a way over, under or around a rock, the smart way to approach life is with intelligent perseverance. Know when to keep pushing and when to stop to find out if there is a better way.
Yvonne Godfrey, is the founder of MIOMO (making it on my own), youth independence programme. She is also the author of ‘Parenting Yadults’ – How to Set Up Your Young Adult for Independence and Success in Life! and ‘Making it on my Own’ – 52 Smart Ways to Smash it in the Real World. Yvonne and her husband Simon have 2 adult daughters, and 2 grandchildren. For more information MIOMO.com