A friend and I had an interesting discussion about perseverance today.
Perseverance: persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
He pointed out that having perseverance in small matters is what allows us to have perseverance in larger ones.
How we act in small matters is how we act in large matters.
If we begin giving up in small things, how long is it before we begin giving up in larger things? And conversely, if we start persisting through smaller difficulties, how long will that take to change the trajectory of our entire lives?
After all, there is a gap following every decision: the point between the initial excitement that drove that decision and the point where the action(s) the decision entails produce results.
This gap is why many people that begin a new journey give up before they reach their destination. The initial excitement has been spent and the success hasn't come down the pipeline.
But the bridge across the gap is named Perseverance.
Perseverance is why I'm posting again today, despite being exhausted and not having really taken the time to think through what I want to say or really taking that all-important time to reflect on the day today. Despite having not posted yesterday (yes, it was bound to happen eventually...). Despite view count on this blog having dropped down to nearly zero per day.
The key thing is to keep persisting, even when it doesn't seem worth it. Because our brains are really good at getting us to stop putting in the effort, especially at times when it's most needed (c.f. the end of The Truman Show).
Of course, sometimes it really isn't worth it. There is a fine balancing act between pursuing the things that are worth it and avoiding the things that aren't.
Looking at the bigger picture helps us to perform this balancing act: if I'm the kind of person that typically gives up on things before they have come to fruition, I may need to spend more time building perseverance. Conversely, if I rarely quit things, even after I have reached a point of diminishing returns, perhaps I need to learn to quit more often.
We all exist on a spectrum of perseverance, and we should strive to reach a happy medium between too much perseverance, which is called being stubborn, and too little, which is called being lazy.