This article is based on my best-selling book: The Art of Significance

Law 2: Exercise Perseverance Beyond Patience

How many times have you been told that patience is a virtue?

I agree that practicing patience is civil…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 pays dividends in civility and calm.

But when it comes to achieving your personal and professional goals, I’d suggest that you practice perseverance instead of patience.

The two qualities are intertwined…but one has you sitting back waiting for something to happen. The other has you bearing down and making that something happen for yourself.

The difference between patience and perseverance

Let’s consider the subtle differences between the two character traits.

Patience denotes passive, mindless endurance of a hardship. Life is happening to you and you’re accepting the consequences…but, you’re not making it happen.

This is a good start, but perseverance goes farther, suggesting our active, mindful embrace of hardship in service of a higher goal or purpose.

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

It entails an understanding not merely the how, but the why.

Perseverance embodies the “why”

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

People often say that they’re “task oriented”…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 that you can cross off so you get a pat on the back. They should be meaningful endeavors that fill you with inner pride.

Here are four practices you can put in place to learn perseverance.

1. Practice gratitude

Make a comprehensive list of everything your thankful for…and based on your talents and abilities, visualize what you are charged with mastering.

Write down the long-range 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 successful, significant people have an inner drive…they’re not looking to others for recognition or accolades.

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

You can plant the seeds of significance in yourself and watch them grow.

3. Work around the obstacles

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

Don’t allow those setbacks to define you. Learn from them, instead, 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 into smaller parts and tackle them one by one.

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

Build on your successes…and learn from your failures.

Find three role models

Truly humble and significant people will often be heard saying they’re standing on the shoulders of giants.

They appreciate the mentors and teachers who led them to their own personal 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 the much-lauded notion of patience serve as but a prelude to the advanced, highest Universal Law of Perseverance.

Patience may be a virtue, as we have all been taught, but any virtue, when taken to an extreme, can become a vice.

Limited to the idea of mindless endurance, patience gives us an excuse never to begin, saying, in effect, “Wait your turn!”

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

Perseverance represents mind over matter in the deepest sense, 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 and always tell the body what to do.

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 is rooted 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? I have the tools and resources you need. Contact me and we’ll get you started on the journey.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you lead a life of significance:

5 Steps to Learn Perseverance
How Reverend Billy Graham Taught Me The Secret to Sales and Marketing
Living with Integrity


1 Comment

Empower Yourself To Stretch And Discover Real Growth - Dan Clark · March 16, 2021 at 7:05 am

[…] But I don’t believe it’s true. The only constant in life that I’ve observed is the resistance or reluctance to change. We’re conditioned to wait for change to happen to us and seek superficial evidence of positive change… […]

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