Home Ask Dr. Kathleen® Why should I persevere in life?

Why should I persevere in life?

by Dr. Kathleen Hall

Matthew, Perseverance is one of the greatest attributes one can possess or acquire. Perseverance means to continue a course of action in spite of difficult opposition. Perseverance is grounded in determination and resolute purpose. Being honest and optimistic enough to overcome obstacles and having hope amid suffering requires grit, stamina, endurance, and steadfast and tenacious attention focused on hanging in, holding fast, pressing on, seeing through, toughing it out. In short, perseverance is courage.

It took Thomas Edison thousands of attempts before he discovered the light bulb. Most people experience failure as the end. Great minds like Edison’s experience failure as motivation. His potent comment on failure was “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

The Buddhists have a saying about how to best follow the path to enlightenment: “Fall down forty times, get up forty-one.” Seriously, I could just tell you to continue reading this statement over each day of your life. Repeat it each time a difficult task or situation arises. This is the unvarnished truth behind perseverance. It’s simple, but it’s not easy.

Some of us are born with more ability to persevere than others. Others have more stamina because they have been using their “perseverance muscles.” Perseverance is like anything else; the more you exercise and practice, the better you are at it. We know now, with emerging science, that there are practices that help us learn how to become stronger in the area of perseverance. Perseverance is a discipline. When applied to every situation, perseverance is the foundation of confidence and the scaffolding for creativity.

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