Do you think you know what perseverance is? We all do. If you have attempted anything beyond mere survival on this planet, you have surely come across obstacles, at which point someone has advised you to persevere, universally understood as sticking to it. While that tells you what persevering involves, it does not enlighten you on how to go about this whole business of sticking to it.
To understand how to persevere you must understand that perseverance is not a singular concept but a plural one. The two ‘P’s of perseverance must become your constant companions and your close friends if you are to last the distance and reach your goals.
Persistence is the active phase of perseverance. To persist is to act according to your plans and aims, no matter what the discouraging results and circumstances. You must often become an unstoppable force of positive action in the shadow of stiff opposition, both internal and external, to achieve most things of value. Such is the nature of things, and this is the price you must pay for striving beyond the mundane.
Patience is the passive phase of perseverance and is an acknowledgement of the fact that striving doesn’t always solve everything. The universe is a complex thing with an infinite number of variables and forces constantly at play. To say that circumstances are ever-changing and that things are not always conducive to restless action is an understatement. Often to persevere is to simply wait for better times to come, so that so that when you take the proper action, you get the expected results.
This patience in the face of unavoidable circumstance is a much ignored part of perseverance. It is as essential a component of it as the much celebrated persistence. To court one without the counsel of the other is to invite disaster, because the persistent juggernaut destroys all in its path and the patient Buddha often fails to set off on the path in the first place. Either way a pleasant journey is impossible and the end unreachable.
Befriend both the juggernaut and the Buddha within, and make sure you learn to temper their strengths with the fine guiding hand of human compassion. Do this and your every journey will be a success and your every destination in reach.
Written in response to the Litemind Personal Excellence Project