So… this week I am visiting one of my daughters and her family, and my son who lives with them. I am not necessarily the adventure type. I don’t “go on vacation.” When I travel away from my home, I go to be with and to help family. I am just not the run-around-the-countryside kind of person. Thus, this week I have focused my “vacation” on doing little projects for my daughter and easing what I think may be her burdens.
It is hard work sometimes. Last night I was determined to not go to bed until I had loaded the dish washer and wiped off the counters after spending the day helping my daughter sort through and box up the multiple bags of clothing she had in her attic for the kids. She was tired too. She looked at her dad and ask, “where does she get the energy? I’m exhausted.” Her dad, who was helping me load the dishes, replied, “Oh, she is tired. She’s just persistent.”
I wonder if I am persistent or just plain stubborn.
Persistence is the ability to maintain action regardless of your feelings. You just keep going, even when you feel like quitting. Persistence means you keep working toward a goal even when it takes a long time or the going gets tough. Without persistence, obstacles bring your progress to a dead stop.
With persistence, your failures become learning opportunities.
Some may mistake persistence for motivation. They are not the same. When you work toward a goal, your motivation will wax and wane, like waves hitting the shore. Trust me. I am not very motivated to “lose weight” or to “exercise.” But I am determined to be a healthier person, so I persist in learning and practicing healthier habits. Sometimes I feel motivated; sometimes I don’t. It’s not my motivation that will produce results — it’s my action. Persistence allows me to keep acting for myself when I don’t feel any motivation to do so. In fact, I am learning that persistence eventually provides motivation. By putting one foot in front of the other I eventually see a result… like a clean kitchen or an elusive pound lost. Results are always motivating!
I am learning in my old age that anything good, anything that is worthwhile, takes persistence to achieve… from a clean house to a healthy weight… from being a good person to being a good mom… from being a good student to being a good teacher. Working through the tough times, the trials and challenges of life takes persistence.
Boy! Is that ever true! I wouldn’t say I am loaded with talent nor education, but I succeed in small things because I keep trying. I may not be famous and changing the entire world for the better, but I know I can make a difference within my little circle of family and friends. Sometimes I wonder if that matters. Then, I remember a few people who inspire me to keep working toward my goals.
I mean, imagine a world without Star Wars, Einstein’ theories, Beethoven’s symphonies, Kentucky Fried Chicken, or Disney! What would we enjoy if these inspiring people gave up?
George Lucas spent over four years peddling the script for Star Wars, racking up numerous rejections before getting a yes. If he had listened to all the negative voices he would have never ended up producing the highest grossing film of all time… and a successful Star Wars franchise.
Einstein was considered an “unteachable” fool by a few of teachers. Guess he showed them.
Beethoven’s music teacher told him he was a hopeless composer. Who’s turning in who’s grave now?
Colonel Sanders was told “no” by over a thousand restaurants for over a year while he lived in his car trying to sell his chicken recipe.
Walt Disney was turned down by dozens of banks when he tried to get funding to develop Disneyland. He was also fired from his job at a newspaper for “lacking ideas.” LOL.
These guys were persistent. They understood the concept that persistence is a stick-to-it attitude, even when they hit bumps along the way. They stayed consistent. Their persistence developed into perseverance.
Elder Jospeh B. Wirthlin once spoke regarding perseverance:
Perseverance means to continue in a given course until we have reached a goal or objective, regardless of obstacles, opposition, and other counterinfluences. . . .
Perseverance is a positive, active characteristic. It is not idly, passively waiting and hoping for some good thing to happen. . .
. . . Perseverance is vital to success in any endeavor, whether spiritual or temporal, large or small, public or personal. Think seriously of how important perseverance, or the lack of it, has been in your own endeavors, such as Church callings, schooling, or employment. I believe that essentially all significant achievement results largely from perseverance. . . .
. . . Perseverance is essential to us in learning and living.
Sometimes persistence is over a long period of time… maybe even a lifetime. I have a feeling my health is a lifetime persistence thing. That’s why I take it one step at a time… on day at a time… one inch at a time.
I learned the inch thing from President Thomas S. Monson who taught, “Seek heavenly guidance one day at a time. Life by the yard is hard; by the inch it’s a cinch. Each of us can be true for just one day – and then one more and then one more after that – until we’ve lived a lifetime guided by the Spirit, a lifetime close to the Lord, a lifetime of good deed and righteousness.”
Persistence is taking life one inch at time. Persistence is adjusting when needed to continue forward progress. My favorite “personal inventory” lists is found in Alma 5: “And now beyond, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your heart? Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body? I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth.” (Alma 5:14-16).
With this as my guide, I start asking myself: “Do I have the right things on my to-do list? Am I focusing on tasks that will bring me to my desired outcome? Do my tasks demonstrate who I really want to be? Do the expressions on my face reflect Christ’s image to others?
I really don’t think God wants us to suffer. Many times what we see as trials and struggles are merely small steps toward something greater that we cannot conceive. Often, I find myself praying for things I want or need, or things that I think will make life better and then, somehow, think God isn’t listening. When this happens, I think God is reminding me to be persistent, to be steadfast.
Nope. I am not full of energy. I get tired. I am not Wonder Woman. I wouldn’t look good in that costume. I am not magical. I am not super human. I fail, but I get up. I make mistake, but I learn from them. I am persistent. When I put my mind to something, I keep going until I am done. So, I guess my husband is right. I am persistent.
A Warrior Woman is persistent.