In the middle of my workout yesterday, I had this thought pop into my mind: Persistence is the ability to stay with the pursuit of a goal without losing optimism and the belief that one can be successful. It requires endurance, resilience, discipline, and commitment. Learn how to persists no matter what, and you can accomplish anything.
I immediately had the urge to stop and write it down, but I didn’t need to interrupt my workout. As I continued to ponder this thought, I had so many life experiences cross my mind, particularly those where I could easily apply this concept: growing up in poverty, earning my college degrees, working as an educator, and losing weight and becoming more fit. It hit me that too often folks miscalculate what separates those who experience success and accomplish their goals versus those who do not. To me, it’s quite simple: they give up too soon. Staying with something, especially something that is challenging, is more difficult than it sounds. We’ve all heard it: Never give up. But I’m not so sure that’s the only reason for folks not making their dreams come true. Instead, I’m convinced that far too many of us are quick to give in, and by that I mean we give in to the opinions of others, the idea that because something has never happened, it can’t happen for us, to the ideas that others might have for our lives instead of our own, to temporary feelings of exhaustion, despair, and sadness. Giving in and giving up are not the same. Giving up requires a conscious willingness to acknowledge you no longer wish to pursue your goals. Giving in is more like a distraction. You allow other things to take precedent over what’s most important to you, you lose your way because you lose your focus, and before you know it, that thing you said you wanted is somewhere in the distant background.
Our attention is a masterful tool that can help us bring our desires to fruition. How we spend our time, what we choose to focus on and think about, who we select to spend time with and what we choose to spend energy on, are all very important predictors of our ability to persist. To live with intention is a goal I have for myself, one that I feel certain will require continuous work. Redirecting our attention to the things that matter to and for us as individuals can help us persist. For the past few years, I’ve practiced a 90 day social media detox, usually beginning in October and ending in December. I’ve done this for many reasons, but one that stands out to me is the amout of time I can easily spend engrossed in other people’s posts, comments, and likes, and how that time could be spent on the things that matter most to me, the goals I’ve set for myself, or the dreams I still want to make true.
It seems the older I get, the more important this becomes to me. I want to make sure I’m doing the things that matter the most, spending my time on and with the people who are important to my life, and on the things that bring me joy. I want to practice this kind of persistence because it can help me stay optimistic and productive. I can reduce the probability of regret and resentment, and most of all I can match my life with my intentions.
That’s the ultimate goal: to live with purpose on purpose and for a purpose that matters to me.
Y’all be easy,