Lessons in Perseverance

Perseverance.

It’s an underrated quality (and a long word to spell!). But it’s everywhere. WE don’t talk about it much, do we? We prefer the stories of people who rose to success “overnight”, who suddenly “made it”, who did something making it look easy.

But the truth is, under all these success stories, all these triumphs, is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. So many people start things and then don’t continue because of the hard work that it involves because they’re not getting where they want to right away because the road ahead seems long and winding. A common statement thrown about is that it takes ?? hours to become an “expert” in anything – whether that’s writing or painting, sport or any other hobby. But so often we’re not willing to put the hours in. When others make something look easy, we want to be able to do it like that right away, and get frustrated when we can’t.

Writing is a key example of this. Writing requires an insane amount of perseverance and time. It’s not all about talent, it comes down to perseverance, dedication, and a little bit of luck. Writers have to get through knockbacks, rejections, disappointments, self-doubting, negativity,  and so much more.

But there are the good times too. When a new story idea settles, or when someone likes what you’ve written. When you’ve been writing all day and the words just keep flowing. When you’re lost in the magic of a new story or are filled with endless enthusiasm for your words and characters. When you meet other writers and can talk for hours about your plots and characters. When it feels like everything’s going right.

And so, the same can be said, I have found for sailing. This really goes for any sport.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have told again and again by instructors that they’re impressed at my perseverance. Considering that I thought about giving it up time and time again, I was always kind of pleased that I turned up each day. But you know when you’re determined to crack something? Each day, I would be like, well, today was awful BUT I’ll give it one more shot. If I haven’t cracked it by X, I’ll give it up. But then that day would come, and it would be okay, and I would think, well, I might as well carry on now. Until suddenly, here we are, a few days before the end of the course, and things are coming together, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

There are challenges in everything we do, that is true, and sometimes, the hard work we do on the way there, the challenges, the perseverance, the ups, and downs, ultimately give the biggest reward at all.

Perseverance. Don’t underestimate it.

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