Persistence – How Long Will It Take?

I really hate waiting. Especially when it’s something I want or I think I want. That makes the wait even worse. As a kid, birthdays and Christmas were two events I hated to wait for. When I got older, it became parties or getting a paycheck. And now that I’m a little bit older, I find myself waiting on some other things: getting recognized, possessing a proper writing platform, a new idea worth digging into, to name a few. But yes, waiting for a paycheck is still in the mix too (as it should be). However, I find myself struggling to remain patient – or at the very least, defining what a healthy version of patience looks and acts like.

I find this to be one of life’s more difficult dances to perform. Running over other people will eventually ruin the road you’re on, but don’t get to running and you yourself will be trampled. Not everyone runs at the same pace, but simultaneously we are all running the same race. So how does one do this gracefully? Or rather, effectively?

For one, we must be willing to make mistakes. When I finished my first two books, I felt a real sense of accomplishment. “Hey, I made it” – that was my new mantra. But, just as Rome was not built in a day, neither is a successful author. People who read my material – and had the opportunity to speak with me on it – would inform me of a few grammatical snafus I didn’t catch and yes, I felt like recalling every last order and throwing the book out for good.

But, my failure was ultimately good. I needed to know that I couldn’t count on the first book I wrote to be a raving success. There were pieces and parts to this journey I couldn’t have seen until I started off upon it. Mistakes were inevitable, the journey was not had I remained on the sidelines.

Secondly, we must be willing to know the difference between observation and initiation. I wouldn’t learn much about driving cars if all I did was read about the process. It’s when I take the wheel and drive that I find where my limitations lie and where I have basic understandings already mastered. Oftentimes, I feel like I can wave my flag proudly if I’m well-read on a certain subject; letting my opinion fly like it matters. But, if I haven’t actually experienced the topic I’m claiming to be an authority on, then I really don’t have a platform to state my case at all.

Like, every voice who claims he or she should be boss but knows nothing of the responsibilities that go along with being the boss, there’s a clear space between the two. Even if it’s invisible to the person who thinks he knows what’s best without knowing much.

Lastly, if we are called to do something, then we must keep listening to that voice that is calling. This is probably the most confusing of the three and the easiest one to mess up too. I used to think that a “calling” was something big, dramatic – HUGE. Like, a person who feels “called” to one day be a CEO or a famous musician, a calling tends to get mixed up with false aspirations; possessing an image of one’s self where we are highly influential and always on center stage. The problem with that thinking, if you are willing to be taught otherwise, is that it’s extremely self-centered and self-serving.

Everyone wants to feel important and to be recognized – much like how I want to be with my writing career – but if I feel my calling is all about taking center stage, then I’m always going to be fall short of what that calling is after. There are tinier battles to be won and seemingly less important stakes to win that will ultimately lead to that position of influence. Because a calling is meant to help you so that you may help others, not to help you feel better about who you think you ought to be in other people’s eyes. And that means taking the hits, taking the setbacks, and doing so with the persistence that I must continue listening to the voice that called me out, not the one that tells me to die where I stand.

I would encourage anyone who thinks their persistence isn’t paying off for them to consider that a little more time may be all that’s required to get to the next step.

As I sit and type this, I am reminded that I have a book being released in just two days and about a half dozen more coming down the pipe soon. That’s something to stay persistent about.





Persistence – Stubbornness in the Right Places

Being persistent and being stubborn seem to go together. Their relationship seems to mirror what it’s like to have cousins. Same family, but different parental umbrellas. When a person exhibits persistent behavior, then you may say he’s stubborn. And when a person is stubborn by nature, he may exhibit unusual persistence in all his endeavors.

But, since they are different words, they ultimately mean different things. The difficulty lies in knowing when and how to use them, especially when you’re identifying areas of your own life.

For example, a stubborn person will keep certain attitudes or beliefs despite counsel or reason that says otherwise – for right or for wrong. Like staying in a toxic relationship. A friend may have advised another about the imbalance he is witnessing in his friend’s romantic life and still, the one receiving counsel will refuse to apply what he’s heard. The one in the relationship may think or believe that things will change or convince himself of the goodness there is – even if it’s not there. So in this case, it’s all about attitude and belief.

Conversely, a persistent person will stay the path despite the obstacles he faces. This could include or not include outside counsel, but doesn’t have to. Additionally, persistence is viewed over a prolonged period of time without change. You wouldn’t call a rusted screw ‘persistent’ as you try to remove it from a wall. That would imply a desire and a rusted screw has little desire to stay in a wall. And the screw doesn’t have a motive of staying in the wall either, it’s just rusted. So in this case, it’s all about desire and motive.

As someone who makes it his business to know as much as he can about words – and how to use them in new and different ways – I find stubbornness and persistence to be tricky tools of the trade. If I take a look at my own life, I’d rather be someone who is open to the advice of others, but I value the ideals of persistent people too. And many times, the most persistent of people – the ones who find success – seldom let too many voices in. That’s admirable, but it’s better to be teachable than a self-proclaimed know-it-all.

So here’s my own dilemma: writing for a living is a forever thing. Once you put something down, it’s there for eternity. The Internet teaches us that truth as much as the Bible does. So there’s a certain level of authority a person must exude if he is to be successful at it. And this is where it can get murky – the callings of a person’s life. This is something I struggle with daily: knowing when to stand firm along the journey; encompassing every attitude, belief, desire and motive I possess therein and yet somehow in the midst of that journey, remain open to appropriate counsel along the way. Again, that’s a tricky thing for anybody to do well, especially for someone who has only been on the Earth for a hair over three decades (that’s me).

I once heard that we shouldn’t doubt the call on our lives, but it’s okay to doubt if we’re the person to carry that vision out every once in a while. That may sound like a convenient way to hide future failure, but my experience has proven otherwise. It’s more of a reality than a cover up. Everyone has fears and everyone has times of darkness. If someone tells you otherwise, then they are covering up a potential failure themselves. It’s okay to break free from the trap of always feeling right or having to know what’s best. Again, another thing I struggle with daily, but to have a growing discernment of when to be persistent or when to be stubborn will help me grow as a person; something I want to be as persistent about as possible.







Persistence – what does it look like?

The end of the calendar year can often look like one of two things to people: a time for reflection or a time to scramble and finish whatever project was begun way back in January. Several folks will float between both categories, naturally, and do so till December has ended and the new year has begun. Some will even be fortunate enough to have their eyes completely on the year ahead, content with leaving the year behind. I find myself as one of those ‘floaters’ – alternating between reflection and completion. There’s plenty I’ve completed and plenty I’ve yet to complete. There are still many goals out there, but there is one solace that keeps my unfinished ventures in a healthy perspective: my persistence.

To some people, persistence is a way of life – an invaluable character trait. Nothing comes easy in life so anything easy just can’t be worth the effort. Failures may come, but it’s the failures that define and mold those who count themselves as survivors. From there, they adopt an enduring will for anything else that crosses their path. For others, persistence may appear to be wasted time; wasted energy; or even wasted talent. Only swift results with immediate impact – anything other than that is not a worthy investment. Persistence through lengthy challenges can be seen as inadequate planning. Instead of weathering an impossible storm, one’s persistence should be in finding what’s best for him, not what’s the most challenging way to do something. Staying in one place for too long may be a sign of weak-mindedness; a person who has yet to find his way in life because of immaturity or inattentiveness to his own desires. Because that’s what we should be persistent about – personal happiness and personal gain; not personal challenge.

One may look at either ideology and be quick to attach it to a certain age group or even a generation. Persistence belongs to the older generation, but the younger generation will argue that persistence belongs to them. And depending upon what angle you’re looking from, you can make these same assumptions too – that persistence really does belong to any one generation – depending on the source.

But, as I type this short entry, I can’t help but feel like persistence doesn’t belong to any one generation. Nor does it belong in any one part of life necessarily. That any generation’s persistence is always motivated by one thing: hope.

Hope is what drives anyone to be persistent; be it through challenges, through personal development, through jobs, or life in general. There must be hope at the end if there is to be persistence in anything. Otherwise we would find no need to attach ourselves to the future we are all heading towards. And it’s this faith in hope that keeps me persistent in life, as it should anyone else. No matter what the trials may be or what generation you find yourself within.