~ Helen Keller
Let’s say you have a job to get done and you have two people from which to choose. One you know can do the job, but they don’t have much interest. The other you’re not sure if they can do the job, but they say it’s their intention to learn. Which would you choose? In whom would you have the most confidence?
Remember Robert and Dan, the entrepreneurs from my last post? When Dan was in high school, he got a college scholarship to play football. Dan was quick as lightning and a good receiver. But he never made the starting squad because he didn’t work hard enough in practice. The next year he quit the team because he didn’t want to play football, not really. He had the skills but not the drive to use them.
On the other hand, Robert wanted to be a Navy seal. He was small, shy, quiet and was raised under difficult circumstances. He joined the Navy after high school and became an electrician’s mate. He knew he wasn’t ‘Seal Team’ material yet, but kept his dream. He worked out, became an excellent swimmer, and ran every day. Finally, he volunteered to be a Seal. His Commander gave him a glowing recommendation because he saw the heart and desire of Robert. Seal training was very tough, doubts set in, but he earned his Seal Trident!
When it comes to football, Dan had the skills. It was something he could do, but he didn’t have the passion. Maybe he’ll find his passion somewhere else. Regarding Robert, no one ever saw him as a future Seal, but it was his intention to be a Seal. We don’t always do what we can, but we try to do what we intend. What made Robert’s dream possible was his passion and his persistence.
Intending to do something is stronger than merely being able to. Intention is an engine that puts you in motion even if you have doubts or weaknesses others don’t have. If you have a passion about your intention, then you will be persistent. Persistence is a protective bubble. It resists failures and setbacks. It wards off negative talk and fear. Persistence finds energy when you need it the most! It finds your courage when self-doubt sets in.
But you must have the right kind of persistence!
The right kind of persistence requires three things:
- Realistic, honorable goals
- The ability to fight through doubt.
Passion: We have already mentioned passion. Have passion or you’re wasting time! If you’re not passionate about a goal, your persistence will soon run out of gas like a Hummer with a leaky tank. Passion is an intense desire to be a part of something or reach a goal. Persistence is like rocket fuel that burns hot – persistence can overcome a lack of skill, or a lack of power. Robert had passion!
Realistic Goals: If you want to climb a mountain, then do so. But if you want to move a mountain, even persistence will fail you if you aim for Mt. Everest. Your goal can be tough, but if it’s realistic to you, it likely can be accomplished. Honorable Goals: Looking to get even with someone, and even having passion to do so, is not only nonproductive, it’s insanity! Chasing goals born from anger are not healthy and they take you away from worthwhile goals. Getting even or doing harm is are not honorable goals.
Fighting Doubt: Never allow doubt to take over. There will always be doubt, obstacles, nay-sayers and more. Obstacles can be never ending--but so can be persistence. Robert had many doubts, and obstacles, but he did not let them take over.
How I used persistence:
Persistence does not necessarily work fast nor efficiently. When I was 50 my youngest child was graduating from high school. I wanted to write down some things about being a father for personal reasons. I had witnessed firsthand the power of having two involved parents in a family as opposed to just one--usually the one is a mother. I decided I was going to write a book about fatherhood to leave to my children, nieces, nephews, and their children.
The Three Requirements
- To write about being a dad was more of a promise to myself than just a decision. Getting this message out was my passion! I has the passion for many years. I had obstacles but they just slowed me down, they didn’t stop me
- I knew the goal was honorable. After all, I wanted to help my family and others to be happy and healthy. But was it realistic? I decided it was realistic. I can think. I can write. The goal was not to win the Pulitzer Prize, but to pass on useful and encouraging information.
- Defeating Self–doubt is always the toughest thing to battle. Could I do it? Would I stick with it? Would it really help? Would it be good? And biggest doubt of all—would anyone ever read it?
It’s that last requirement that was my personal key to having the right kind of persistence. What’s yours?
Do your children have passions? Are they honorable and realistic? Do they have excessive doubts? Can you help them in any of these areas? Have you even thought about this?
It's good to remember that it is not water flowing over jagged rocks that makes them smooth, but it is the persistence of the flowing water that makes it so. A wave of the hand may shoo a fly, but it won't accomplish much else.
Thanks for reading!