“That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do. Not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased.” – Marcus Porcius Cato
Life is about choices, and I have made the choice many times to give something up in favor of something else, something that requires less effort. I will never know what kinds of things I might have become good at if I had simply persisted in trying them. But that is life; and in life, those things that I have kept at invariably become much easier for me simply due to persistence–almost anyone can run five miles if they persist in running half a mile when they start, and then continue adding to that distance at regular intervals.
As we run more, our bodies get used to the act of running. Our hearts pump blood more strongly and more efficiently, and our lungs are able to distribute oxygen better. Our power to run increases, and after a month or so, a five-mile run is easier for us than that first half-mile run was.
Unfortunately, though, most people feel the discomfort of that first run or two, and they quit before they ever give themselves the power to accomplish more; they quit before their power increases.
Writers grow by writing, runners grow through running, and speakers grow by speaking. The more we do something, the better we get at it and the easier it becomes for us. That temptation to give up is simply an aversion to the discomfort of the beginner–we wish to avoid the doubts and worries that something may not work out for us, and we think that life is much easier if we avoid the risk of failing. But that easier can be seen also as much less rich, so we have to be careful whenever we decide not to persist in our efforts, lest we rob ourselves of the opportunity of increasing our power to do things that we truly want to do.
Questions to consider:
In what things are you most persistent? Are those the things that are most important to you as a person?
In what kinds of things have you noticed your persistence paying off in making them easier for you?
How does our “power to do” increase through persistence?
For further thought:
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is filled with educated derelicts. Perseverance and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge