Perseverance

Fall seven times, stand up eight. — Japanese proverb

It took perseverance to start training in taekwon-do. It takes perseverance to continue. Before I started training in taekwon-do, I took photos. The first batch was horrible. Each time I shot, the photographs came out better, but they were not my “normal.” I still wasn’t happy, even though others were. I remember all the friendly folk encouraging me, “Your timing would be better if you trained. You’d know what to expect next.”

I remember the persistence of my best friend — “Why don’t you join KOJO? You’d love it!” Stubborn, filled with pride, ashamed of my size, not wanting to train with him, I threw back every reason I could think of not to train. I let my fear and stubbornness keep me away.

Perseverance is a steady persistence in a belief, purpose or action. It implies praiseworthy patience as opposed to a stubbornness. It’s the tortoise and the hare — slow and steady wins the race — by remembering not to be distracted by other things — to remember the goal.

Perseverance is what got me here. The steady invitations to join KOJO became finally like an insidious jingle that I could no longer ignore.

Now, perseverance is mine, and it’s what keeps me coming back. There have been classes that I swore would break me. If my friend Geoff had a dollar for each time during the first few months that I said, “It gets better, doesn’t it? Tell me it gets better!?!” he would be a rich man!

Trying to get this ungainly body into shape — to spin, fly, jump and dodge — has not always been easy. Sometimes the pain is overwhelming. Sometimes I just want to walk out the door and never come back. But, then that tenacious little part of me kicks in — I come back. I’m getting things far greater than the pride I lose by not being able to do something “right.”

Perseverance Pete is trying your best at something you may not be able to do. It’s the attitude of “You only get better at something by not doing it…” I didn’t walk in the door able to do combination kicks. They still don’t look like a senior belt’s combination kicks. But I can do more than one kick and not fall over on the floor. One of my favorite photographs took over 16 hours to get just the right print. Other photos I stopped trying after an hour. That one photograph was worth every tear-filled minute to achieve.

Perseverance is succeeding against the odds. It’s a union of mind and body to overcome.

Random thoughts on perseverance.

The wind-footed steed is broken down in his speed,
while the camel driver jogs on with his beast to the end of his journey. — Sa’di

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you ‘til it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then for that is just the time and the place that the tide will turn. — Harriet Beecher Stowe

Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and yet many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little. — Plurarch (Parallel Lives)

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. — Calvin Coolidge

If you concentrate on one thing and do not go away from it, you will possess strong, moving power. — Cheng-Yi

I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing. — Rabbi Hillel

Remember to persevere and be consistent. You’ll get where you want to if you keep at it. You won’t if you don’t. — Forrest Morgan (Living the Martial Way)

There are but two roads that lead to an important goal and to the doing of great things: strength and perseverance. Strength is the lot of but a few, privileged men; but austere perseverance, harsh and continuous, may be employed by the smallest of us and rarely fails its purpose — for its silent power grows irresistibly with time. — Goethe

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? — Robert Schuller

I am not afraid of failure. There is more to learn from failure than success.
— Peter Gabriel

Be patient and tough — someday this pain will be useful to you. — Ovid

‘Tis known by the name of perseverance in a good cause and obstinacy in a bad one.
— Laurence Sterne

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. — Unknown

In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins. Not through strength, but through persistence. — Unknown

One Response to Perseverance

  1. Anonymous says:

    As a former martial arts student, I really enjoyed reading this and found it very well written. I know not who you are or where you come from but I am confident that you are a strong person and have had a similar experience with martial arts as myself. Thank you for brightening my day with this writing.

    “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” – Sun Tzu

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