“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:1-4
As we embark upon another holiday season and this year comes to a close, there may have been goals you set out to attain or in pursuit of your purpose, but things just don’t seem to be working out. I hope this blog post will serve as a source of encouragement to keep you motivated to stay the course–persevere. So, what does it mean to persevere? Merriam-Webster defines perseverance as a continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure or opposition. It is the ability to persist in an undertaking for a long period of time in spite of counter influences, periodic setbacks, or bouts of discouragement. If you have been thrown off course or distracted–in spite of the situation, do not quit.
This topic came to mind as I recently watched the 2006 movie, Pursuit of Happyness, starring Will Smith which was inspired by the autobiography of Christopher Paul Gardner. In a December 2016 BBC News article titled, Chris Gardner: The homeless man who became a multi-millionaire investor, Business Reporter, David Gordon shares Gardner’s story in an interview. In addition to an extremely troubled childhood, at age 27, Gardner found himself homeless with a toddler in tow on the streets of San Francisco. They ate in soup kitchens and were forced to sleep nights in public restrooms, parks, at church shelters, or under his desk at work after everyone else had gone home for the day. At one point, he was even incarcerated. Never defining himself by his current situation, Gardner enrolled in a low paying trainee program at Dean Witter Reynolds. With the little money he had, he paid childcare so he could go to work. Despite the adversity, Gardner excelled in his job–he was a natural at selling stocks and shares. At the end of the training period, Dean Witter Reynolds offered him full-time employment. He was then able to rent a home for him and his son. In 1987, he founded Gardner Rich–his own investment firm.
Gardner experienced many setbacks and endured unfathomable living conditions not to mention all while raising a small child. At any point, the average person would have probably thrown in the towel; however, because of his tenacity, persistence and perseverance, his estimated new worth is now $62 million (in 2016). He is an entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist who travels the world as a motivational speaker sponsoring several homeless charities and organizations that combat violence against women. Gardner told BBC news that he “wouldn’t change a thing.” He stated, “The rest of my destiny came forward because I made the right choices.”
A couple of years ago, as part of my retirement plan, I set out to pursue my securities license to sell investments. In pursuance of my newest goal, I experienced losing two of my closest loved ones and many distractions and delays–too numerous to name. I previously shared in a post of failing on an attempt to pass the exam. I am a living witness that nothing worth having comes easy. I am proud to say I have passed all the qualifying exams for a licensed securities agent. Helen Keller quoted, “Only through experience of trial and suffering can a soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
In an article titled, “Developing Perseverance–The Mental Capacity to Overcome and Succeed,” Huffington Post Contributor, Anurag Harsh offers the following factors of personal perseverance:
- Positive attitude. It is the desire to move forward–to persevere when others are retreating in the face of change and hardship.
- Conclusive choice. Despite any apparent unlikelihood, you must choose a course and stick to it.
- Ethical compass. Whatever values you consider vital, use them as guiding stars–they will fill you with the conviction of moral certainty and belief.
- Uncompromising resolve. Persist until you recognize the best option is to quit. Recognize when stopping is rational or reasonable rather than convenient or easy.
- Social backing. Who can you count on to have your back?
Remember, adversity is all part of the process–keep persisting, keep persevering, and don’t quit. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and as always, I would love to hear your comments and please share with a friend. I leave you with this poem:
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
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