Broadly speaking, most people understand what it means to persevere. To push on when the going gets tough, to stand firm in the face of opposition, or something to that effect.
Personally, I have given up many times in the past, and it doesn’t bother me at all. Does this mean I lack perseverance? In my opinion, no. Either the goal I set wasn’t right, or I wasn’t completely committed to the process. Either way, I’m glad I didn’t pursue those goals, because I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t.
I believe that perseverance is directly linked to our ‘Why’ and the process that comes with it. For example, if I set a goal to become the number 1 golfer in the world, I would have to devote an enormous amount of time to achieving that goal. I would have to practice day in and day out, even if I don’t feel like it. When I’m not practicing, I would need to spend time trying to optimise my performance or recovery, such as preparing meals or training in the gym.
If I set a goal but it’s not what I really want, I will soon find out, because I’d probably give up relatively quickly. Certainly, when the going gets tough I’ll come up with any and every excuse to not do what I’m supposed to be doing. Conversely, if it’s what I really want, nothing will stand between me and my plan to achieve my goal.
This is the process, and it’s the only thing that we ever have control over. I can only control the inputs – the time I commit to training, preparing meals, getting quality sleep, optimising recovery etc. What I can’t control is the result or the outcome.
The reality is that I’m going to spend the majority of my time in the process phase, so I must be really committed to the journey, fall in love with the process, and most of all enjoy it. Even if I don’t achieve my goal but get really close, I want to be able to say that I gave it my all, and if my all wasn’t good enough, then at least I can say I had fun trying to achieve it.
My ‘Why’ is the purpose of the goal. Why do I want to achieve this particular goal? Without a purpose, I believe we will simply be suffering, as opposed to persevering. Your motives will most certainly be exposed when the going gets tough. We will quickly come up with all the excuses in the book to get out of it, however with a clear sense of why, we will surely persevere, regardless of what is happening around us.
I love the challenge, I love showing up day after day, I love doing things that I know my future-self will thank me for.