What Works For Me: Persistence

What Works For Me: Persistence
Photo credit: Sheila Sund, Flickr

There are numerous things that make our life "work" for us. Some of these are things we learned along the way. And of course, there are things that make our life "not work so well". One thing that has worked for me is persistence.

I have often said that I "don't take no for an answer". While this, of course, is not always the case, as a general rule I am very persistent. Other ways of saying this (or seeing this) is that I don't give up easily. But, obviously, persisting in bad habits is not recommended.

However persistence needs to be balanced with choosing when to give in or give up. There are things that are worth fighting for, and there are some that are mere whims and are not important... therefore those we can let go of.

The trick, of course, is to know which is which. As so well said in The Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Knowing the difference requires connecting with our inner wisdom and listening to the small inner voice of guidance, aka our intuition. When something "feels right" intuitively, which we differentiate through honestly reflecting on what is for our highest good as opposed to what we just "really really want", then that's when we know to stay on our path.

However, sometimes, persistence requires letting go temporarily until "the time is right". There are so many instances in life where you just simply know what needs to take place but it just isn't flowing in that moment... sometimes because other people don't see it the same way, or perhaps because it isn't the right time or place. So, while still feeling it's the right choice, step back and just let it be. Stop fighting for it or trying to force it to happen.

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Don't give up, but don't try to force your perspective or opinion on the situation. Just let it go, and it will come to fruition when it is the right time. Just as you can't force a fruit tree to bear fruit before it's ready, you can't force a situation to take place until it is right. And sometimes, with our limited vision, we don't know when the time is right. Days later, or sometimes months or years later, the dream may come true.

The trick is to persist without trying to force the situation. Learning to let go, without giving up -- simply trusting that if it is the right outcome, it will take place when its time is ripe. And of course taking the actions that you feel inspired to do, not out of desperation or stubbornness, but because they feel right. And when we are honest with ourselves, we know when we are telling ourselves the truth and when we are trying to manipulate a situation, others, or ourselves.

A friend of mine says I am patient. While I can be, I think that in a lot of cases, my attitude is not so much one of patience, as one of acceptance. Accepting that things will happen as they need to, or that they are not happening because that also is how it needs to be, at least at that moment.

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. -- Dale Carnegie

Wikipedia "translates" or explains "when the going gets though the tough get going:  in this way: "When the situation becomes difficult, the strong will become engaged." And this is an important thing to remember when we are faced with a challenge, whether in our personal life, or in the world we live in.

For a long time, many of us, when faced with the state of the world, simply disengaged. We accepted or believed that we were powerless, that there was nothing we could do. Thus we sat back and read books, watched TV, and otherwise let life go by. Oh, we were busy enough in the minutia of our lives... going to work, taking the kids to school, making lunch and supper, and whatever else our daily and weekly routines consisted of. Yet we let the rest of the world go by... Some of us just didn't care (or said we didn't), others felt powerless (believing the power was in the hands of the politicians, the rich, the pundits... anybody but ourselves), and others were just oblivious to what was going on around them.

In President Abraham Lincoln's 272 word Gettysburg Address, we read:

"...we here highly resolve... that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Of the people, by the people... That's us. The time has come for us to get off our couches or exercise bikes, and participate in the world around us. The time has come to stop watching others live, whether in sitcoms, in reality shows, by discussing our neighbor's or famous people's lives, or in whatever form of entertainment and distraction we have chosen. The movie of our life is taking place right now, and we have abdicated our power to write the script and direct the action to a few strong-willed people (mostly men).

It's time for us to shout "I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’" and then do something about it. The something we do is up to us individually.

To continue quoting from the movie Network:

Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!…You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first, get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’  (Watch the clip from the movie Network.)

Persistence... Then What?

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. -- Christopher Robin to Pooh – A.A.Milne

So persistence requires being true to yourself and true to your vision of a better world... and doing what needs to be done to create the world you'd like to live in and that you'd like your children and loved ones to live in.

Persistence requires honesty, caring, and having a vision for a better world... one day and one thought and one action at a time.

Persistence requires not giving up when things seem impossible.

Persistence requires having faith in things working out when they seem doomed.

Persistence requires hoping and taking action to make things better, one day at a time.

About The Author

Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.

Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com. Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on InnerSelf.com

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