This fourth and concluding article of the series on the effectual power of the perennial virtue and value of persistence focuses on the how of persistence. How does one develop one’s capacity for perseverance? How does one increase one’s capacity to endure in pursuing one’s goals and aspirations? Let us explore below. The last article (the third) on some of the benefits of persistence observed the following:
One of the main benefits of persistence is character formation. Endurance makes one strong in character. As Paul writes in Romans 5:3-5 “… but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope that does not disappoint us.” Patience and persistence are the fruits of self-discipline and discipline is a good thing. A disciplined person stands a better chance of succeeding in life in general more than an undisciplined person.
The other advantage of the virtue of persistence is looking ahead. A persistent person does not just look at the immediate result but takes a long term perspective of things and situations. He/she does not allow short term interests and pleasures to override lasting achievements and values. In the long term he/she gets more of out of life than one who is always seeking immediate and short term results. The persistent person knows how to get the best out of the opportunities and challenges that life brings his/her way. He/she knows how to work and wait till something good comes out for him/her and others.
Still another benefit of being a persistent person is to help those whom one has influence over. The persevering person sets good examples for others to follow. He/she teaches others the virtue of persistence by example. One’s own children and dependants learn from observing what one does in dealing with delays, denials and other stumbling blocks in the way of achieving one’s goals and objectives in life. Educational specialists observe that teaching and learning take place best by showing and letting students themselves discover answers and solutions. So those who are persistent in the pursuit and attainment of their aspirations against all kinds of odds inspire others, especially the young to follow their good examples.
Those who persevere in their struggles to succeed stand to win in the long run, inspire others, and bring honor and glory to their Creator by doing what is right and proper at God’s appointed time. They also get the admiration and commendation of others. How may one get more persistence and inspire others by one’s demonstration of endurance?
One of the basic steps or ways to get more of anything is desire. Desire is simply to want to have something very strongly. Desire leads to a drive and a drive becomes a passion to want to achieve something. A drive is required for commitment and the attainment of many goals and objectives in life. To have something one must first want to have it. But desire by itself, no matter how strong it may be, is often not sufficient for achieving goals in life. It must be followed by concrete plans and hard work in implementing them. Many of us are good at having dreams and big plans but very bad at implementation.
An essential ingredient of capacity building in any area of life is learning by doing. We can do all the talk but a talk is only good when turned into action. It is one thing to learn fine theories and principles and quite another thing to put into practice. As the British say, “The test of the pudding is in the eating”. So, one way to have persistence and to increase in persistence is by persisting, persevering. It is a general fact and principle that the more we do something the better we are likely to become at it. The surest way to know we have persistence and have more of it is to keep holding in, remain in, remaining at it till the desired result is achieved.
And, for believers in God, prayer is the basis, the means and end of having and growing in persistence. Prayer is not an excuse for laziness or slothful thinking. It gives energy and motivation for persevering. One can persist in the assurance that God Almighty is with him/her and will allow the best outcome for him/her and others. Persistence is a virtue that gets things done and therefore must be coveted and maintained by all who desire success.