She persisted in requesting to go outside. I granted her wish even though it was raining. It was a tradeoff she was willing to make.
As I reflect upon my work history since the age of 16 I see the education I’ve received about persistence.
As an American consumer I don’t remember a time when there wasn’t something I wanted. That’s not a bad thing, although it can be, so I hold that in check. I do that my reminding myself that persistence empowers me to wait. Sometimes when I do that I realize later I didn’t even want the thing I was seeking – much less need it. If time passes, and I still want a certain thing I’m seeking the attainment of it makes the gift even more special.
I think this is an important skill to develop as a business person. When I think about our Roth IRA accounts I know that the more time we don’t use those accounts the more they will earn.
Developing the skill of persistence has been hard for me because as an American consumer I’ve fallen into the trap of wanting instant gratification. I’ve wasted a lot of money, but I’ve learned the hard way that persistence is vitally important if you want to get ahead in the long run.
When I was in high school I was training to become a lifeguard, so that I could work at a summer camp lake. I took the course at the downtown Flint YMCA, and it was difficult because I had never been taught how to swim the right way. I could swim, but I didn’t know how to correctly execute the freestyle, breast, butterfly, back and side stroke. Apart from class I’d go in every day after school to learn these strokes. It was not easy learning those strokes, but I persisted, and I got to lifeguard at that Michigan camp. I even came back in the fall to work part-time as a lifeguard at that YMCA. It was a great feeling.
When I started college in the fall of 1991 there were many times in that four-and-a-half year span that I didn’t think I would finish, but I persisted, and I even have a masters degree now.
As a business owner over the past four years I’ve thought many times about throwing it all in and working for the man, but I continue to exercise this persistence that is in me.
There are reasons to throw in the towel, and that cliche might not be the best one to use, but for lack of a better term I use it. Life is hard any way you look at it, and one common denominator that makes a life worth living is persistence.
I was just talking to my brother Joel in Florida, and we were both talking about the choices we’ve made to make our respective cities our homes. It’s taken intentional persistence to overcome our family of origin because we moved all the time. That was neither good nor bad. It just was. It’s what we knew.
But now as business men in Florida and Tennessee we’ve chosen to take a different route, and I think our family life and career success benefits from this kind of persistence.
There are a thousand things all of us could choose to do, but when we find that one thing we finally choose to sink our teeth into we have to stick with it, and in so doing I think we create stability for our families and communities.