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Practicing Perseverance

Keep on keeping on. That was the lingo we used to encourage each other to persevere when I was a teenager. That phrase has resurfaced from my memory archives on several occasions during the past few months. The process of building my new five star training hall has been riddled with unforeseen challenges, setbacks, frustration, compromise, and injury – very literally, blood, sweat and tears.
More than once I have seriously considered throwing in the towel.

Whatever it is that we aspire to accomplish in our lives we can rest assured that the universe will test our vision, intention and resolution. I believe that one of the keys to a fulfilling life is for us to discover the specifics of how we personally practice perseverance.

Perseverance is defined as “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” So, as life places before you barriers and obstacles, you must come to understand how it is that you go about getting over, under, around or through them. We all develop our own methods of personal practice. Perhaps you meditate, or listen to inspiring pieces of music, or watch a favorite movie. By exploring different options we connect with what resonates for us.

Remember, it is called practice for a reason. Different things may work at different times. In my case, a combination of specific music while sitting in meditative equipoise and adding details to the future experience of my new dojo has kept me on my path through this very challenging period.

Here are three tips.

  1. Continue to revisit your big picture vision for your life and be clear about how facing the challenges you are dealing with will serve to further your progress toward that vision. (If you don’t have one, do the important work of developing a vision for this precious life you have been given.)
  2. Talk with people you trust and admire about what particular tools are in their personal toolbox. Ask them to share with you what methods they rely on to see them through in times of difficulty.
  3. Understand the golden secret to motivation – motivation does not precede action, it follows action. When you are dealing with low motivation, exercise self-discipline and make a move; do something. The dragon of low motivation feeds on inertia and procrastination.

The practice of perseverance is one of the most important things you will ever develop in your life. Without it you run the risk of looking back on a life of endless false starts. Be open-minded. Try things. Over time this exploration will lead you to know your own mind.

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