Word of the Month: Persistence

One of the more colorful synonyms for persistence is “stick-to-itiveness.” That synonym conjures up images of sticking with a challenge, not giving up too quickly, not being discouraged. The challenge might involve school or work or a relationship. We may overcome one obstacle and then find another one in our path. Persistence helps us to keep on going.

When we’re persistent, we are in a sense stringing together bursts of courage. Each time we tackle a challenge anew, we’re bringing a bit of courage to the situation. And when we’re persistent, we try different ways to make progress. We don’t just do the same thing over and over. If an author is trying to get a book published, being persistent may mean sending it to many different publishers, one after another, until the right publisher says “yes.”

Persistence can be tricky, because there are times when it’s appropriate to let go of an old dream to make room for a new one. Sometimes we have to do some serious soul-searching in order to determine if we should continue to pursue a particular path. At other times, we just know that we have to stick with something, no matter how impossible the goal may seem. As Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

See more features from the September 2014 issue