I’ll admit it… I’m a planner. I love to analyze things and work out projections. I love to try to figure out the desired outcome and put together the steps for how to get there. It’s like a puzzle that fits together in my head and I love the game of it.
Just about the time that my plan is complete, though, something happens that changes everything. I take action. You see… As soon as I take action there is a reaction and the reaction often isn’t what I forecasted in my planning stage. Sometimes planning is like working out a physics problem in high school… You calculate the main variables as though it’s a perfect world but ignore the little details like friction, air resistance, etc.
As such, any plan that takes more than one step to accomplish takes persistence. You have to stick to it until it is complete in spite of the unexpected turns along the way. Persistence is the only way to accomplish any worthwhile thing. So what is it, really?
Persistence is defined as a “firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition”. So the key to persistence is continuing on in spite of difficulty or opposition. Persistence isn’t really required when everything is going exactly according to plan but, oh boy, do you ever need persistence when it all goes sideways. When things go wrong, when people are all telling you to quit, when it seems impossible to succeed… This is the fire in which persistence is forged.
The elements of persistence are described in a personal development course that I am currently taking. In the Master Key Mastermind Alliance course we have examined the component parts of persistence. The four elements are: a definite major purpose, a positive mental attitude, a plan of action and a mastermind alliance (people who work in harmony with you towards the definite major purpose). In situations where people persist you can see these elements over and over. You can also see them in the stories that we tell and in the heroes that we look up to. I certainly saw each of these elements in the movie “Rudy” that I saw recently.
Rudy is the story of a small, unathletic, non-academically inclined kid who dreamed his entire life of attending Notre Dame so that he could play on their football team, the Fighting Irish. In spite of being told that it would never happen by virtually everybody his entire life Rudy never gave up. He pushed harder and worked harder than anybody else. He attracted to himself the few that would help him. He gave all that he had to his dream, his purpose, and had such a burning desire that he was willing to make any sacrifice necessary. He followed his plan and maintained a mindset of absolute assuredness that one day he would realize his dream. And he did… He realized his dream even though he was pushed, for a brief moment, to the point of giving up hope.
Perhaps that is the key… Persistence is simply the action that occurs when we hold onto hope and keep faith. Even when it all goes sideways. Even when it looks impossible. Even when it looks hopeless… The four elements of persistence serve the purpose of nourishing hope and keeping faith alive so that we can stay the course, persist through the resistance and, in the end, emerge victorious.
So… If the world without is a representation of the world within and if our situation is a mirror of what occurs in our mindset then hope is the water that allows the seed of persistence to germinate. It is also the fuel that allows persistence to grow strong enough to endure any opposition.
It all comes down to hope, or faith, if you will. Whether you want to play on a football team or launch your business to the next level or recreate your life so that you can be the best version of yourself…
Nourish hope, keep the faith and then persist until you succeed.