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Do you know the difference between patience and perseverance?

How many times have you heard that old saying that says “patience is a virtue?”

It’s essential that we practice patience in our lives – at certain times.

Losing your temper at a waiter when your meal is slow to come out of the kitchen is pointless.

Yelling at the car ahead of you because they’re going too slowly achieves absolutely nothing.

Patience has all sorts of benefits, but when it comes to achieving your personal and professional goals, I suggest that you practice perseverance instead of patience.

The two qualities are intertwined, but they are very different. One has you sitting back waiting for something to happen, while the other has you pushing hard to make that something happen for yourself.

What’s the Difference Between Patience and Perseverance?

Patience is the tolerance of different situations, while perseverance is determination towards a specific goal.

To be patient means enduring life’s consequences as they happen but not doing anything about them.

Patience is morally and spiritually neutral, while perseverance is meaningful and connected to broader awareness, intent, and devotion to a particular cause.

Perseverance goes further than patience. A persevering person embraces hardship and is active in accomplishing a higher goal or purpose. It entails an understanding of not merely the how but the why.

Perseverance Embodies the “Why”

Perseverance represents mind over matter – it represents our determination to work towards and achieve a specific goal.

Some task-oriented people consider themselves to be persevering people – but if those tasks aren’t leading down a path of significance, what’s the point?

Your personal and professional goals shouldn’t be a laundry list of achievements you can cross off, so you get a pat on the back. They should be meaningful endeavors that fill you with inner pride.

Four Practices You Can Put in Place to Learn Perseverance

1. Practice Gratitude

Make a comprehensive list of everything you’re thankful for today. Based on your talents and abilities, visualize what you can master.

Write down the long-term impact of your proposed endeavors and find a way to express why you should do them.

2. Give Yourself Direction

People often underestimate the power of self-suggestion, but highly significant people have an inner drive. They don’t look to others for recognition or accolades.

They are exercising their will to achieve specific targets that make them better today than they were yesterday.

You can plant the seeds of significance in yourself and watch them grow. You can light the fire within you.

3. Work Around the Obstacles

You are going to suffer setbacks and run up against obstacles. It’s inevitable. As Adamantus said in Plato’s The Republic, “Nothing great is easy.”

Don’t allow setbacks to define you. Instead, learn from them and build on the knowledge you gained doing the wrong thing, so you do the right thing the second – or third – time around.

Does a task look insurmountable? Break it into smaller parts and tackle them one by one.

If you’re learning to swim, for example, take pride in mastering the front crawl. Don’t beat yourself up for not knowing the butterfly on your second day in the pool.

Build on your successes and learn from your failures.

4. Find Three Role Models

Genuinely humble and significant people often say they’re standing on the shoulders of giants.

They appreciate the mentors and teachers who led them to their victories.

So, identify three role models who embody your notion of success and significance. If you’re following in their footsteps, retrace them. Research their methods, their plans, and learn from their experience.

They’ll be a source of knowledge but also inspiration. They’ll remind you that your success is achievable.

The Law of Perseverance: A Higher Calling

Just as free will serves as a lesser, preparatory law to obedience, so, too, does patience serve as a prelude to the advanced, highest Universal Law of Perseverance.

Patience may be a virtue, but any virtue—when taken to an extreme—can become a vice.

Patience gives us an excuse to say, “Wait your turn!”

With perseverance, we’ve already made our decision and are taking our turn. We commit ourselves to a higher purpose and are moving little by little out of our own volition toward significance.

Perseverance represents mind over matter, reflecting our thoughtful resolution that we will “happen” to life, not merely allow life to “happen” to us.

To transform ourselves from successful to significant, we must make the mind run the body.

Things always work out in the end.

We have a saying in our family: Things always work out in the end, so if it’s not working out, it must not be the end.

Perseverance roots itself in the belief that your effort will lead you to significance. If you’ve followed the four practices above, you’ll have a clear roadmap. Trust in your route, and the value in your destination and your inner drive to succeed will guide you.

Do you want to lead a life of significance? Do you want to inspire your team? If you’d like to learn more about living a life of significance, you’ll find a more in-depth conversation in my best-selling book: The Art of Significance – Achieving The Level Beyond Success.

Dan Clark is a motivational speaker and keynote speaker who offers executive coaching, to work with Dan, connect with him here.

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