“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” ------Calvin Coolidge
So, this word has been just finding its way to me over the past week. I am reading a book with a chapter about persistence. I had a journal prompt that asked me to list instances of persistence in my life. And, the speakers at the Oscars last night, were over and over and over…. Repeatedly… drumming this into my heart. I am hearing it loud and clear.
Persistence has been my way. It really is a theme of my life, it is the fabric of my soul and I don’t mean in a bad way, it is what it is. It was summer. Afternoon in my back yard, on our old concrete porch that was “quartered” off so it had long lines which of course…. Was my practice balance beam. I was practicing some of my balance beam routine on the line, and I dared to speak my heart. I dreamed of going to the Olympics. I was told, don’t be silly--- only such a small percent can do that, don’t get your heart set. OHHHH my…. And yes. My heels were dug in, and I. WOULD. There was NO listening to that. I would trudge forward day after day, year after year. So, I actually don’t know if I was born with persistence, or if I learned it over these years. Anyway. It was my essence. PURE me.
And of course it continued. Anyone who knows me – yes, I never gave up on my UVA dream even though I was waitlisted, waitlisted again… I was waitlisted for med school, just everything… over and over…. The universe saying, “how much do you have, girl?”…. and I was at this time ready to just be fierce and give it all. Into my adult life. Adoption. Sticking with tough times. Races, ironman, my daily existence oozed persistence….
Until maybe 4 years ago when things happened.. and.. I got tired. Enough giving my everything. I want to be quiet, still, and just safe and okay.
But, this voice is whispering to me. This theme. My heart. My world. My belief. Why is PERSIST whispering to me now?
Because it is what I believe in. Persistence is HOPEFUL, and HOPE to me is so strong. I realize there are times when hope is THE ONLY THING. It gives you some power… or at least gives your heart a fluttering snapshot of possibility of power.
Persistence is a JOURNEY. It isn’t one choice, but an over and over and over promise that you make to yourself. If you are persisting, you are on a path.. a PATH to somewhere- even if it doesn’t reach your ultimate goal, it is the only way to try. It is a belief that your actions will be rewarded over time.
Maybe most importantly, the journey of this persistence, we become transformed and deepened. By enduring, our “self” becomes truer. Choice by choice, day by day, our character blends in with the quiet steadiness of the hope of persistence.
I wish that for so many, and maybe it is partly why I do what I do and coach people for races, train them to strive. The feeling of the end result is amazing. And the deepening of our lives through the journey is priceless.