The Importance of Persistence
“Impossible is just a word people use to make themselves feel better when they give up.”
Dreams are tricky. On the one hand, a dream provides a goalpost for you to direct all your effort and aspirations toward. On the other hand, achieving your dream is not typically an easy task. There’s a good chance that reaching your dream will take long hours of work that will be fraught with disappointment. This is where persistence becomes key.
Persistence is a crucial element for achieving a dream. Unless you’re lucky enough to have your dreams handed to you on a golden platter, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll have to work to achieve your dream. Sometimes, it isn’t so bad; work can be rewarding, and even fun. But oftentimes, there’s a fair amount of suffering that goes along with work. This is the part that most people tend to forget or ignore when daydreaming.
Let’s say your dream is to become a famous musician. Near-infinite money, respect from other artists, and all the influence that comes from being a celebrity. It’s a pretty appealing prospect, right? In this case, you have chosen your dream and you’re pumped to start down that road towards glory. But herein lies the rub: are you ready to suffer for it?
Are you prepared to drive a dozen hours to your first paying gig? Are you equipped to negotiate a contract with a sinister record label? Suddenly, becoming a famous musician is looking like a lot less fun and a lot more work.
This isn’t meant to be a buzzkill. It’s better to strive for a difficult dream than to have no dreams at all. But it’s important not to discount the sheer amount of work and suffering that goes into achievement. That’s why persistence is so important.
Persistence is what keeps that that desperate musician playing. It’s what keeps the starving artist from selling their brushes, or the bruised athlete from hanging up their cleats, or the discouraged job searcher from giving up completely. Persistence is the will to keep going even when it seems like there’s no salvation in sight.
The Inevitability of Failure, and How to Bounce Back
You are going to fail. It’s an inevitable fact of life. However, what’s more important than your failure is how you react to your failure.
Abraham Lincoln put it best when he said, “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure”.
The key is to never be content with your failure. Persistence is the best (and only) way to avoid apathy, and although it may be easier said than done, it is the greatest way to achieve your dreams. The suffering you endure on your way to your dreams may be mild or severe, but no matter the degree, persistence is what separates those who did from those who didn’t.
Dreams can be hard work. Achieving them usually requires plenty of late nights and early mornings. The upside is that this suffering is ultimately a good thing. It cements your belief that you are doing the right thing, or it opens your eyes and makes you realize that you’re not interested in suffering for it after all. Either way, this suffering will help you understand your dreams a bit better. Besides, if you’re not willing to suffer for it, was it really your dream, to begin with?