Showing posts with label perseverance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label perseverance. Show all posts

Thursday, October 30, 2014

What is Your Why?

Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

Why do we do it? Sometimes I wonder what it is that keeps me going? Perseverance, commitment, fortitude, diligence, they’re all great, but if there isn’t something deeper, more basic powering those qualities, you won’t really get that far in life. Quitters aren’t winners and Cheats usually get caught, sooner or later. Sure they can live the high life for a while, but there’s almost always a downfall for taking the quick and easy way; the cheap and dishonest way.

Where does that drive and fuel for continuing on when things get hard come from? Who and what, or how did it get instilled in me to not quit, to never give up? I can point to good people in my life that taught me lessons, some painful, some wonderful, but all valuable.

Maybe because when I was young, our family was so very poor, not working, giving up, and slacking off meant hunger, homelessness, and despair. Maybe it was after I got my own job and discovered I could provide for myself. Maybe it was studying through college and realizing I could excel to greater heights if I applied myself and kept learning. Maybe it was enduring the hardships of Naval bootcamp, struggling to make it through despite fatigue, distraction, the unknown, homesickness, loneliness. Maybe it was when I truly was homeless and vowed to never let that happen again. Maybe it was being a single parent, knowing a child depended on me for everything and I held the responsibility of teaching and nurturing alone. Maybe it was when I fell in love again.

Maybe, just possibly, my whole life is one great lesson in understanding that perseverance and fortitude are developed over time, given the right circumstances and influences. I may never reach a level of ultimate success or fortune. I may continue to fail just as much as I succeed. If I’m a good person and that karmatic energy is passed on, perhaps the net gain of my life is more than just mediocrity.

If that is so, I wonder just how other people manage, when they don’t have the same influences I had. Some people I’ve met excel despite mistreatment, abuse, neglect and disregard. Others flounder even after being cared for, loved, nurtured and respected.

I don’t think there is one answer. I believe certain qualities innate in people can enhance or sabotage their lives, but influences, by others and circumstances, events and chance also play a role in driving their lives forward. I guess though, in the end, we all have a choice. 

Despite and in spite of all that we see and hear, experience and learn, choosing to continue down a path we know and understand to be right is the only real power we actually have. Like Neo in the Matrix, I choose to persevere. It’s my choice. That is my ‘why.’

What’s yours?

Thanks for reading.

Questions and comments are welcome.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Perseverance vs. Obstinacy

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.  

What good is a strong will if you are fighting for or against the wrong thing? I wonder that sometimes. Getting caught up in the mechanics of life, I noticed there are times when simply plowing ahead toward a goal becomes counterproductive. At that point, re-evaluation of the method, tactics, and even the very goal need to take place. All the effort in the world fails to help if the goal you work for holds no merit. So, where perseverance assists in forging ahead through the hard times, obstinacy blinds you to wrong, ineffective, and destructive behaviors that hinder success. 

Coming to this realization is difficult and sometimes painful; it can also be very hard. Admitting that you spend all that time and effort on a goal that proved unattainable is heartbreaking. But think about it this way, would you rather admit a change is needed today and start fresh, or soldier on for another month, year, or decade before that epiphany occurs? In ten years’ time you’ll be no better off, and ten years behind. Making the change now can cause grief, pain, sorrow; any number of negative emotions really. However, you might just realize after re-evaluating your current course that a new path will make things better. You might, dare I say, experience relief, joy, or even excitement at the prospect of trying something new. 

Not every problem or situation needs to be attacked with mindless obstinacy. Obstacles in life should be looked at as challenges to overcome and something to learn from, not barriers to destroy or annoyances to avoid. Life takes a lot of work. It reminds me of a very old saying: 

The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. 

Everything worth the effort takes time; just make sure you are putting your energies in the right place.

Thanks for reading. Questions and comments are welcome. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dreams are Hard Work

Did you ever think for a moment that what you really wanted in life might just be too hard to get? Did you ever think it would be easier to just dream about what you want instead of actually doing all the hard work involved in actually earning it? I’ll tell you straight out, yes, I’ve thought those things. I’ve been in love with the dream of being a published, successful writer for so long, sometimes I find myself indulging in the fantasy of writing, rather than actually DOING it. I’d imagine elaborate scenarios where I’m accepting an award for an amazing piece of literature I created, or signing a multi-million dollar book deal. I’ve got a good imagination so you can assume the fantasy was pretty impressive. Now I’ve also sat and contemplated all the things involved in making those fantasies a reality. You know what it comes down to? A shit ton of hard work. That’s right. Making a dream a reality requires determination, persistence, perseverance and a lot of backbreaking, mind bendingly hard work. So, can you do it? Do you have what it takes to make your far flung dreams something real?

My answer to that question is YES. It has to be otherwise I’ve just been lying to myself all these years. I know my abilities are good enough to accomplish my goals. It’s a funny thing about dreams, though. They can help you through some really tough times but if you let them take over, or just fester, they can become an oppressive thing that weights you down instead of lifting you up. Sometimes the thing that stands in the way of your dream isn’t under your control at all. The relationship you have with your dreams can be a complex one. I think Langston Hughes’ poem, A Dream Deferred sums it up best.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

There are so many courses your life can take; correspondingly, your dreams can shift as well. The main point is if you don’t do anything to make those dreams a reality, they become a negative. You will become disheartened and cynical. Part of the reason achieving your dreams feels so good is because of the hard work involved. Knowing that your effort is what made that dream come true is a reward unto itself, above and beyond the dream. Realizing a dream can be fantastic, but along the way you’ll develop self-reliance and perseverance. Those are qualities that can make almost any dream a reality. So instead of day dreaming (like I used to do) get out there and do the hard work necessary to make that dream come true.

I challenge you. Recognize your one true dream. Visualize it and know that it is what you want. List all the steps needed to bring that dream into reality. Then, do it. Do it today! And tell me, what's your step one?

Thanks for reading. Questions and comments are welcome. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fortitude is in the Mind

Stay strong in body and mind

Have you ever been accused of being stubborn?  Are you stubborn?  Being single minded about an objective or goal is actually a very good thing.  It keeps you focused.  I call it fortitude.  Applying your personal strength and conviction to a single goal helps achievement, but what about applying fortitude to life in general.  What good is that and what purpose does that serve? Well, having the strength of mind to withstand the pains and adversity of life is a pretty valuable asset don’t you think?  I’ve talked about perseverance and how it aids you on your life’s mission and keeps you going toward your goals.  But perseverance isn’t enough.  That’s right, you need fortitude.  Being able to keep going is one thing, being able to maintain your mindset and inner strength as well is totally different.  There will be a time when challenges in your life beat you down so much you might think you’ve lost.  But if you have a solid foundation of who you are, what your values are, and why you have them, well that’s fortitude, and you can take comfort from that; draw strength from that and carry on.

Why bother?

The only person that will always be with you throughout your life is you.  You better like that person’s company if you’re going to find any value in your life.  I know a person who has compromised everything they ever held dear because they thought it would be easier to attain what they wanted.  That person was wrong.  I know another person that never bothered to set any life goals, look toward the future or bother to develop a strong sense of self worth or conviction.  That person’s life is very unhappy. 

I’ve had my values tested, my convictions called into question, but I’ve always focused on who I was, what I wanted and what I valued.  When I weighed the options and saw what compromising my ideals would bring, I chose the right path.  Fortitude isn’t just about being strong.  It’s about believing in yourself when things go wrong, look terrible and you doubt everything.  When I got divorced, everything seemed go to wrong, then get really bad, and then get horrible.  I was hungry, homeless, penniless and thousands of miles away from family.  Let me tell you, sleeping out on the street for a few days really tests your fortitude.  I made mistakes, chose poorly, and didn’t listen to common sense.  I paid the price.  But because I took the time to re-examine my path, but stay strong to my convictions, I steered back toward my goal, and continued on my mission. 

Getting through the bad times can be done.  I know it from experience.  Don’t give up.  Stay strong.  You never know when things will turn around. 

Thanks for reading, post a question or comment.  I’d love to hear from you.

Check out this picture and others here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Perseverance Pays Off

What keeps you going?  How do you go on when you know it may never get any better than this? 
Hope.  As corny as that sounds, it’s true.  It’s very rare that you find a person who’s life is absolutely nothing but despair, or total happiness.  Life has a way of fluctuating and changing without you even lifting a finger to help it.  But if you don’t even try to direct it on a course that you can live with, it will become oppressive.  That attempt at driving your life forward can be hard, but it can also be rewarding. 
Those clichés about ‘giving it your all’ or ‘never giving up’ and the like are clichés because people have used those thoughts and ideas to persist, strive, endure.  The mere act of living through hard times is an act of perseverance.  Now, I’m not talking about continuing on a path you know will lead to failure.  I’m not suggesting that you take on an endeavor you know to be fool-hearty and just shlog through hoping it will all work out in the end.  No, what I’m talking about is staying focused on your dreams, accepting your limitations, learning to deal with them and exploring new ways to achieve your goals. 
Remember, life can and does change if you change the way you look at it.  Striving for the ideal is motivational, comparing your success to the past is logical, and driving yourself to not give in to despair will help in your longevity.  Perseverance isn’t just about not giving up, it’s about doing better with what you have, even if what you have is less than yesterday.  Tomorrow can be better, you just have to give it your all.

You gotta believe you’re awesome to Be awesome.

Understanding Pandemics

By Doug Clark Head Writer -  The Inspiration Engine With all that is going on with Covid 19, I thought it would be a good idea to help ...