I did not understand the value of persistence until I was like, 20.
And I only understand the power of persistence when I learned that achieving anything and everything takes time.
I feel like the first 20 years of my life I got good at things simply because I enjoyed them. I was not a great student. Not at all. But when i enjoyed something, I did it all the time. It was effortless. Just lost in the “flow” and spent tons of time with the thing. And as I result I was good at it. I never saw this correlation as a kid. It was always attributed to innate talent.
“Studying” was a foreign concept. I didn’t study, ever. I just became fascinated with subjects and spent time with the books exploring them. I literally was a retarded “student”, as in no study habits or academic goals, even though i aced most subjects, simply because I found them interesting.
I recall long stretches of my early childhood laying on the floor, drawing the minute i got home from school until bed time. Usually this happened when I was grounded, but I didn’t mind being grounded. It happened so routinely. I’d just draw for hours or days or weeks. And somehow I was an “artist”, and parents and teachers would revel at my artistic ability.
Or I’d spend days or weeks laying on my bedroom floor or taking a shit or car rides reading books. Mostly encyclopedias. I literally read them all multiple times. And teachers would comment on how bright I was, but I never understood this, because I was a horrible student, never did homework. Just read stuff I enjoyed.
When i began playing guitar, I didn’t think of practicing. It wasn’t practice. Yes it was practice with my trumpet. Miserable practice. But guitar was effortless. I’d sleep with my guitar. I’d finger the fret board as I dozed off to sleep. Brought it everywhere with me. To school. To church. Vacation. I’d play all the time. People would attribute this musical ability to some innate music talent. But in reality I’d just enjoyed playing music, and did it all the time.
Sports were the same. I never thought of practice. I never thought of “persistence”. Just did things I enjoyed.
On the flip side, I did not do things I did not enjoy.
I did not enjoy activities when there was an outside pressure to perform, and I disappointed others.
When I lost. When my results were less than expected by people. This put immense pressure on me, and I attributed my performance to my value as a person, and I soon ceased enjoying these activities. Not consciously.
This pressure wasn’t really present in childhood. But it grew immensely as I got older. People expected these “talents” to do big things.
But I just never knew what practice felt like when I enjoyed it.
And when i didn’t enjoy it, I couldn’t do it. And if I couldn’t perform the task, I didn’t.
And so as I got older, it felt like I just had this talent for certain things, except when I let people down or “failed” or “lost”, and so when I didn’t have a talent for them, I just didn’t do the thing.
The thing is. I have a sister. She never really had a lot of interests, per say. She was always easy going and never really had a “drive” to know or perfect something.
HOWEVER, she was persistent as fuck.
I remember observing her. She would ask and ask and ask and ask. She would never ever ever ever give up if she wanted something.
Granted, she never had huge aspirations or ambitions. She’s simple, and she loves simplicity.
But when she wants something, she doesn’t make a big deal about it. She just persists until she gets it. I mean. Parents or people or friends would say no a million times. I’d be like, move the fuck on. Mom said no. Your friend said no. It was annoying how god damn single minded she was when she wanted something. Whether it was a puppy or toy or a dress or a vacation or to go to a certain school or whatever.
She has accomplished a lot of things. Things she values.
But mostly her approach taught me something.
It taught me that persistence doesn’t require effort per say. Action does, but persistence does not. Persistence requires patience.
It taught me that persistence can accomplish more than cleverness and intensity.
Persistence. It carves out a path in the world. Energy and persistence conquers all things.
“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence” Watkins
If you just keep that thing in your mind and show up, ask, knock, seek. Things will happen and move forward.
Habits are great in this regard. Habits are like the nozzle of persistence that directs your energy to cut through anything.