More On Perseverance

I’m thinking some more about this subject of perseverance.

I don’t want to paint our whole culture and society with one brush and say that we all suck at persevering.

I would say that some of us suck at it. I would say that most of us struggle with it to some extent or another.

We’ve all been told countless times that we live in an age of instant gratification. We just don’t want to work for what we’re getting.

That’s not all true. It’s less about the work than it is about wanting to be satisfied quickly. We want what we want instantly. Whether it’s information or entertainment or food, we want it and we want it now.

There are segments of our population that understand that hard work and perseverance go into attaining certain things that we want.

Most people who start out in doctoral programs know that it’s going to take years before they have their Ph.D.

The people who start out on the road to becoming a surgeon know that it’s going to take years before they are able to practice.

Most people who start a business know that success is not going to come overnight.

Most parents know that raising a child is a long-term process and the kid isn’t going to be mature instantly.

So there are a lot of arenas where perseverance is anticipated and expected and practiced. You can’t go through a drive-through to pick up a Ph.D.

But still often in the small things, the everyday things, even the surgeon-in-training gets frustrated and lacks perseverance. Even the parent who knows that the kid is gonna take 18 years to mature gets frustrated when the Internet goes down.

We tend to lack perseverance in life stuff. Or maybe the better word there is patience. We often lack patience.

I think in the area of personal growth sometimes we lack perseverance.

We want to see healing and change much more quickly than it wants to happen. We have to persevere day by day in doing the right thing and making the right choices and adopting the right beliefs so that good changes come about. We have to persevere in that.

Too many of us—me included—look at a relationship that has gone bad and think, If we have a couple of sessions of counseling, we’ll be back on track.

Trouble is, if we’ve been in that relationship for ten, twenty, thirty years, problems that have developed over the course of that time sure aren’t going to go away in a couple of one-hour sessions with a therapist.

Nope. Honestly, it could take a year or two of regular sessions to undo stuff we’ve done and re-do things right. Ninety-five percent of the population isn’t going to go for that. Factor in the cost, the time, the hassle of coordinating schedules, the impact of sessions on regular life, and the actual gut-wrenching (sometimes) work that has to happen privately between sessions, and it’s no wonder that long-term therapy gets shot down.

Persevering in that context takes super-commitment and intention!

Even in working on individual stuff, you have to have perseverance. Keeping up the motivation and focus can just be tough.

The rewards of perseverance are worth it, though.

More on that another time. I gotta run to my therapy session