When #perseverance is fun: 12 things I do to #persevere
I am convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. ”
— Steve Jobs
Florence Chadwick was 34 years old when she attempted to swim the 21 miles across the Catalina Channel to Palos Verde on the California Coast. The weather that day was foggy and the ocean waters ice-cold but at day-break despite the heavy fog, she went forward with her mother and her trainer following her on one of the support boats, encouraging her to keep on keeping on. She swam for 15 hours after which she began to doubt her ability to go any further and at 15 hours and 55 minutes, she gave up. The fog was still heavy which prevented her to see the coastline so she had no idea that she was only less than a mile away from the coast!
I love this story because it is a real lesson in perseverance and each time I think of giving up, I remember this story and get up and move on. But I have to confess that when results don't come immediately or when success seems elusive or when I have to simply keep on keeping on for days on end, I do meet with obstacles mostly from within, sometimes making me fall flat on the ground and bringing me face to face with my own weaknesses that I didn't know existed! It is a humbling experience, one that teaches me the true meaning of success, that it does not come from outside sources but is something that lies within each one of us in the day to day victories over our own character-deficiencies and bad-habits that prevent us from achieving our higher goals.
It is true that when we make perseverance a habit, our lives become peaceful and content and our character is built in such a way that we are no longer afraid of all the obstacles that may lie in our path and are able to deal constructively with sorrows and disappointments, failures and setbacks, that may momentarily challenge our ability to accomplish our worthwhile ambitions in life.
These days I am figuring out how important it is to enjoy the journey than to just be able to reach the destination and for this reason I want to share my list of twelve things I try to keep in mind to make perseverance fun and to put life in perspective.
1. Remembering there is no place to get to
My yoga teacher said in class today that there was no place to get to when she saw us trying desperately to do asanas or postures that were way too difficult for us! Usually that is what we do in our lives--we have some idea about success in our heads like earning a million dollars or becoming the CEO of a company but it does not mean that the attainment of these things will make us happy. Usually achievement of goals without having built a strong inner-life, leaves us feeling more empty than happy! And to be able to start building a strong inner-life we need to persevere and start training our minds to live in the NOW.
2. Meditation and yoga help to live in the now
Yoga-meditation has been the single most-effective tool that has helped me to cultivate the consciousness of NOW. It is my springboard of success that helps me to move forward in life even when results don't seem forthcoming. It not only puts everyday life in perspective but makes the journey to success enjoyable and also helps me to deal with impromptu setbacks which otherwise I may not have had the strength to cope with.
3. Physical exercise releases happiness hormones
After meditation, what keeps me really going is the one hour I spend in the pool everyday--the exhilaration felt after swimming is indescribable and I have to confess that it is very addictive too! Besides swimming, yoga and brisk walking are great forms of exercise--besides keeping you fit, they also help you nurture your inner life especially if you are used to going for long walks by yourself. Exercise also helps you to maintain a straight spine and when the spine is straight, the intuition flows more easily and when intuition flows, you are in touch with the NOW. And there is nothing better than a fit body with a straight spine ready to conquer the world!
4. Endeavoring to do something difficult every day you thought you could not do
I read this somewhere and tried to apply it in my life. I see that the days I do something difficult no matter how small it is, I feel so confident and happy--a kind of happiness that comes from within and gives me goose bumps all over without! It is like vibrating at a different energy level, a higher and extremely creative energy that makes one conscious of the NOW, that provides solutions to problems and that makes perseverance so much fun!
5. Maintaining a positive attitude towards life
Almost everybody has heard the illustration of seeing the glass as half-full and not as half-empty but why is it so difficult to put this into practice! I always reason with myself that I have nothing to loose by thinking positively and I have everything to loose by thinking negatively. Why not always hope for the highest and best, for what we think we attract! Negative thinking is like a chronic disease that chews up the seeds of success from our minds. However, with patient, diligent practice any mind condition can be altered and trained to think positively--the use of positive affirmations is a great aid in helping us do this. I strongly recommend reading Scientific Healing Affirmations by Paramahansa Yoganada--this book has the power to transform your life!
6. Making cheerfulness a habit
As we persevere in our day to day journey towards achieving our goals, let us always try to be happy and cheerful. When we consciously try to be enthusiastic in all that we do, not only do our lives become more positive and happy but we also start progressing towards our goals much quicker. Cheerfulness and enthusiasm open unknown doors of possibilities and opportunities that we could have never dreamt of otherwise or that we never thought could have ever come to us!
P.S.: Does anyone like to read Calvin and Hobbes--they always bring a smile on my face!
7. Not getting sucked up in your own routine
As we plan and work everyday to achieve our goals, it is important that we don't get sucked up in our own routine so that the slightest deviation from it, makes us uncomfortable and unhappy; for eg. dieters can go out and get an ice-cream, workaholics may want to watch a movie, fitness addicts may want to just sit back and enjoy some popcorn--anything that helps us not to live life like an automaton!! Moderate indulgence in wholesome desires, doing something fun every now and then to keep you motivated to achieve your goals is the key to a happy and balanced life!
9. Doing something everyday to help others
This one is important. We should always remember that we are all a part of a bigger world family and that each one of us is interconnected to the other and that in helping others we are actually helping ourselves! As soon as we reach out to help others, the Universe reaches out to help us! Helping others expands our consciousness and fills the heart with a surreal love and joy for life.
10. Keeping in mind the bigger picture
Honestly, everything in life is so transitory that it is just not worth it to get caught up in the everyday drama of life. If you do get stuck, always view things from a bigger perspective and then your own problems will seem so puny and small. We don't know when death can come to us so let us live for today, and let that 'today' be our conscious choice to make it joyous, and happy.
11. Keeping the mind open
It is important that we do not become one-sided in the achievement of our goals but keep our minds open to fresh opportunities and new doors opening for us. Let us not reject something just because it does not conform to our own standards of belief or thinking; it just might be THE opportunity for us to get forward in life.
12. Getting out of the comfort zone-overcoming habits
Sometimes why we do not succeed is because we get so comfortable in our daily habits, that we prefer not to get out of them. To get something different in life or to reach a new level in life (and within ourselves), we need to, every now and then, get out of our comfort zone and do something different or new that we didn't do before. This makes perseverance fun!
“Nothing in the world takes the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
— Calvin Coolidge