Lately, I’ve been learning again about persistence. I’ve been persistent in the past. However, it’s not an easy trait to learn, or in this case, relearn. You try as hard as you can to achieve something. You do all you can to tackle your goal to the ground. You like to think you are strong, but a stronger wave sends you back to your place time and time again. You find yourself on the beach, again, covered in sand and spitting up salty water. You spend your energy and time rushing out into the sea against the currents. You try it again, and again. When you least expect it, life sends you another curve ball: here comes the tsunami.
It’s true what psychologists say about conflicts and difficult situations: it’s either fight or flight. I like to fight. I don’t see any purpose in running away. However… We all have those Netflix evenings of escapism. During wars in the past, people used to go to the movies to escape their problems. It took their minds off of the terror and terrible situations in the world. If only there was a way to escape your troubles, you could… Yet, we do it all the time. We purposely don’t read certain books, because they remind us of painful circumstances that hang over our lives like ghosts that haunt us.
One day, I finally realized what makes persistence easy and what makes it difficult. Persistence is difficult when it is primarily selfish. I find that when we make goals that will only benefit ourselves, it’s harder to achieve them. It’s probably because they’re so vain and pointless. Self-serving is fine, for a while, maybe even a few days, but it is fleeting. Selfishness just leads down a path of emptiness. It doesn’t drive. Survival drives us. It always has. When it comes to selfishness, our determination falls behind. I think it’s because deep down we know our motives are wrong. They do nothing to benefit others or do anything good for this world. In a way, we feel useless. What’s the point battling the waves of life?
Sometimes humans have these strange needs for affirmation, praise, and acknowledgement. But for what? For our pride as human beings? I think if we reach deep, beyond the surface, we’ll find our need for satisfaction and self worth. Maybe going outside of ourselves to do things for others could fill that void in our lives. It not only makes us stronger, but makes us want to be stronger. It feels like there is a purpose now, one that matters. With that in mind, persistence comes easier. Or at least, I think it does.