Perseverance

In the last post we talked about laziness and how it invades our lives in a way that is difficult to overcome. Today, let’s talk about the opposite of laziness. It’s a good thing to discuss given what I said about myself in the last article, having fallen victim to it for most of my life. Especially in the last eight years, I have been gripped by apathy because nothing seems worth it. Writing a post about perseverance seems like a logical next step toward pulling out of the pit of laziness and starting to climb that mountain of success.

That’s all you really need to get started. You make a choice. You decide that this one thing is important enough to do, regardless of whether it leads to something rewarding later on. Most successful people take life one decision at a time. They have goals, but they don’t fixate on them. The healthy ones don’t, at any rate. They focus on the issue of the moment and give it their full attention and effort. It is because they are able to disregard the noise of life that they make the consistently correct decisions that lead to success.

It seems to me that we are meant to live life in the moment. We have a deep seated need to look toward the future, but we are never happier than when we are satisfied with what we have right now. Hopes and dreams are wonderful things. They propel us forward into a future we can’t even imagine. The problem is when we constantly live there and aren’t doing the things we need to be doing right now to move toward those dreams. It is an extremely hard thing to learn. I haven’t learned it yet, and odds are you haven’t either.

Perseverance is probably the hardest thing for us to keep. It’s so easy to just decide you can’t do something and sit down and let life pass you by. Laziness is so enticing because it promises us the easy life. The truth is that there is no such thing as the easy life. Not for any but a select few individuals. The rest of us have to continue working hard to make life happen. Regardless of what we do, we’re going to spend a great deal of effort just trying to survive. The question is how do we spend that effort?

If you’re like me, your default state is to do the bare minimum to make the money you need and then hurry home and immerse yourself in whatever pointless activity you like to engage in. Your relationships suffer because those require effort as well and you just can’t summon the energy for it. You shut yourself in your home, not wanting to deal with the frustrations that come with dealing with being out in public. Traffic, long lines, crazy people; it feels like too much.

The thing is that nothing is ever too much. It only feels that way because we focus on all the negative things as one big thing rather than small little things we can conquer one at a time. We don’t have to overcome these things all at once. We’re not capable of doing that anyway. We just have to choose one thing to get started on and focus our full attention on it. There are a bunch of clichés I could probably use right now to illustrate the point, but all you really need to understand is that we have to chip away at the wall of negativity a tiny piece at a time. It’s really that simple.

This is what perseverance really is. It’s making the choice each and every time to put in that small effort to chip away at the wall that is stopping us from getting where we want to go. It’s not a new lifestyle or completely different way of thinking. People just don’t change like that. It’s small adjustments over time that accumulate into a huge change. When you get to the other side you’ll see that things are vastly different than they were when you started, but the unfortunate truth is that you probably won’t be able to see it while you’re in it. It’s only when we look back that we see the difference.

So what now? That really is up to you. For me, I think maybe it means that I just have to keep writing a little bit at a time. I think I might have something to contribute that people need, and maybe that might be the thing that brings meaning and value to my life. Perhaps it will lead to the financial independence I’ve been longing for. Or maybe it will just make me a better person. Sometimes just working through these things on paper and sharing them with others can help you to think about things in a different way.

Perseverance is important, but it isn’t the only thing you need to get where you’re going. One key ingredient is patience, and perhaps that will be the topic of our next post.

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