Water flows to the point of least resistance. This theme is common through all of nature. Why then, do we as humans tend to push through the obstacles we are presented with, instead of going around them?
There are many theories regarding this matter, ranging from theological answers to scientific responses.
From a theology gives an interesting perspective on this issue. Religion is typically a very personal matter, but regardless of the religion, perseverance plays a big part. It is one of our spiritual traits we all share, this desire to ‘persevere to the end’, to overcome and achieve whatever goals we view as important. Nobody worships a God who is a quitter. We have to continue through the difficulties of life to achieve our own divine potential.
There is a lot of evidence that gives credibility to this idea of divinely appointed persistence, or perseverance.
Look, for example, at the Great Pyramids of Giza. They are enormous rock structures, approximately 137 meters tall. It was built as a tomb. Most of us will be buried in a box 6 feet underground, but these Egyptians show us what true perseverance is. They took 20 years to create this engineering marvel just to bury a man and his earthly possessions.
Dictionary.com defines perseverance as “steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.”
But what are some of the obstacles that we face that would deter us from doing something, or completing a task? Many times we face physical limitations or difficulty. How does one overcome a birth defect or a disability caused later in life?
A young man from Colorado, let’s call him Dave, has been facing such problems his whole life.
“I was born with a ‘club foot’ which means one of my feet was deformed pretty severely. The problem was more or less corrected as an infant with surgery, but issues persist. I am left with one leg that is a little smaller than the other, and a foot that is much smaller than the other. The deformed foot doesn’t have much mobility. As a boy I played soccer every year. In about the 6th grade, though, problems began to arise. After the games, my foot would be very sore, and would cause me pain for extended periods of time.”
“By the time I got to the 8th grade, I was forced to crawl around the rest of the weekend after a Saturday morning game because of the excruciating pain. Upon a visit to an orthopedic surgeon, I was told that if I continued to play at the level and intensity I was playing, but the end of high school I would not be able to walk very well anymore.”
“This revelation was devastating for me. I had been playing for almost 10 years, and frankly, I was good. Now that I had reached high school, the dreams of playing in a more serious venue were dashed. I struggled to cope with this for years. Then, one day I came to a realization. This obstacle I was faced with, this burden I was forced to endure, was making me a stronger person. It helped me appreciate more in life, and though I was forced to quit the sport I had loved so much I was growing in ways I honestly wouldn’t have without the problem.
Today, this special young man is a successful young man, having served a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and continuing to enjoy life irregardless of his weaknesses.
This characteristic is also visible in those who enter and compete in the Special Olympics; Hundreds of competitors proving that a disability is not the end of a life, just the beginning of a different chapter in it.
Steve Jobs, creator of the Apple Corporation, is quoted as saying “I am convinced that half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
Of all the businesses that start up in the United States these days, the success rates are pretty bleak. Fundersandfounders.com gives some statistics. Of the “First time” business starters, only about 18% are successful. The “repeat player” has only a 20% chance of striking success. The “veteran”, as they put it, has an astounding 30% chance of success. Those odds are pretty terrible, considering the chances of winning something from the lottery are about 2% per ticket, the chances of getting hit by lightning is 1 in 2,000,000, that’s 3500 people a year.
One man, despite all these odds and percentages stacked against him, perseveres through it all. A loving man and devoted grandfather who, we’ll call Gregory, has repeatedly tried his hand in the entrepreneurial lottery said:
“My first business was a metal coating business to replace galvanization. That went well at the start, and would have worked, but I was betrayed by my partners and the company subsequently failed. All the money I made there went into legal battles.”
“The second business was a T-shirt making business. That flopped very quickly. After that I made a new kind of lock for firearms called Visualock. That was going well, but I needed some financial assistance. I, to put it simply, leased out my company to a wealthy man for 5 years, then after 5 years I would get the business back in full. The five years came and went, and I never got it back. I’m still working on that one.”
“A few years ago I tried to restart my metal business. We didn’t get many investors and weren’t able to get the equipment we needed. We found investors and were able to remake the solution again, but the cost was too great for me to continue. Hopefully someone in my family will be able to carry on the legacy and get this company off the ground.”
“After the metal business flopped again, I went back to the T-shirts. I had the equipment to make shirts still so I would try making things for local schools and sports teams. Not much came from them.”
“All this time I was working at my job as a telephone worker fixing and setting up telephone lines and such.”
This man is the poster child for perseverance. He has tried, tried, and tried again. When his plans didn’t work, he would keep on moving and keep improving, regardless of the obstacles that were in his way.
We as humans are made of thousands of materials, Over 70% of which is water. We have many characteristics, traits, and abilities. Luckily though, the human race doesn’t follow waters characteristics. When faced with opposition, we don’t turn and run in another, easier, more traveled path. We brace ourselves and prepare for the challenge ahead. We go father, higher, deeper, and stronger than any other thing we know of. Perseverance is the flame in our lantern. It doesn’t move our trials out of our way, but shows us the way to overcome them. It’s the drive that show’s us what it truly means to be human. Life is a rocket, and perseverance is the fuel for it all.
© 2014 Devin K.