“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” – John Quincy Adams
Patience, by definition, is the ability to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering. It is one of those words most of us learn early in life because we experience adults telling us to be more patient all the time. Patience is something children struggle with as they are brimming over with enthusiasm and excitement for life. It just seems to run contradictory to everything we feel in our bones as kids, but as we age we learn to recognize how it does have an important role in our lives.
Perseverance, on the other hand, is just one of those words that, to me, has an awesome impact all its own. The dictionary tells us that perseverance is the steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. It’s one of those words that feels like it has teeth to it…like there’s power hidden inside of it. Merely uttering it aloud gives me the strength to keep trying just a little bit longer.
Put patience and perseverance together, as John Quincy Adams points out, and the results are somewhat mystical in that our troubles just seem to disappear. In other words if we can wait something out…manage to hang in there until something better comes along…if we can find a way to weather the storm…things will get better. This is certainly something I am sure we have all experienced at some point in our lives (most likely many times in our lives). Whether it was the loss of a job or a loved one, an unexpected illness or accident, or any other unforeseen event in our lives, we have all felt the power of the presence of patience and perseverance.
Life will throw its worst at you…it is not a matter of if, but rather of when. And your worst may not be the same as my worst, but it will be the worst for each of us in that moment in time to be sure. But no matter how bad that thing is that life throws at us, we have the tools to survive and triumph. Notice I did not say remain the same as we were before though. We can pull trough anything life throws at us, but it will change us. We will grow, we will learn a new lesson, and we will change…but I would dare say it is all for the better. It is these times of difficulty in which we rely on patience and perseverance to help us pull through that makes us better than we were before.
I was reminded of this universal truth today as I sat reflecting back on 2015 (a reflective practice I do every year at about this time in December). I have always been a pretty patient person, but I have not always made use of the strength found through perseverance…that is a skill I cultivated more recently in life. And what a difference it makes to have both of those “tools” in your toolkit rather than just one of them. I no longer just wait patiently for things to move through my life, but rather I also now have the will and desire to push through whatever life sends my way. It may not sound like it would make a huge difference (having just patience vs having both patience and perseverance), but I can personally attest to the fact that it makes a very big difference. I know I am better now than I have ever been because I have not only had the patience to wade through the trials and tribulations of life, but I have felt the power of perseverance behind me as well.
May you begin the new year fully equipped for whatever 2016 sends your way. May you always have patience and perseverance in whatever situation you find yourself. It is through the strength you will gain from those two things that you will triumph over any obstacle…any difficulty…and emerge a stronger, better version of yourself. Wishing you the very best ending to 2015 and the very best of beginnings for 2016.