We’ve been talking about how importance it is to be persistent in striving for what we want in life. Today, I want to talk about what we don’t want to do as we strive for the lives we want. We already know that being persistent is continuing toward a goal in the face of obstacles or difficulties. That kind of sounds like being stubborn or even being pushy and barreling our way toward what we want. Being persistent is actually much farther from being pushy or stubborn than we might at first realize. I want to explore these three traits today and it’s easier for me to look at them as if they were people. So let’s look at Stubborn, Pushy, and Persistence.
First, there is Stubborn. She’s closed and rigid and by definition unreasonably fixed or set. Stubborn wears blinders, ignores everything except her own goal. She charges, maybe even trudges toward her goal without regard for anything or anybody. She decides on a path and charges ahead saying I’m going this way no matter what. This is my way and I’m not changing anything about it. She might come to a thick solid wall and forever bang against it. She won’t change course even if just to the right or left, there’s a door or even 20 doors.
Then there is Pushy. Pushy is self-serving. She only considers what she wants. The Oxford English dictionary defines Pushy as: “Excessively or unpleasantly self-assertive or ambitious.” Like Stubborn, Pushy charges ahead without regard for others. If pushy is a salesperson, she doesn’t care whether her prospect needs her product or not. She just wants to sell it and she’s going to call and call until she does. She’ll pursue her prospect like a target rather than a person or institution whose needs she can fill. If Pushy is a parent, she’ll find ways to force her will on her children without regard for their talents, strengths, desires, or readiness. If Pushy is a significant other, she’ll make all the plans and leave no room for or consideration of her other.
Then there’s Persistence. Persistence is strong and flexible and considers circumstances and other people when taking action. She’s able to change her approach when and if she needs to. Persistence is open to learning. She uses the knowledge and experience she gains on her journey to her goal to propel her toward it. Persistence is also open to seeing things she might not really want to see. She may not immediately understand an obstacle or be willing to adjust her course. When the best approach becomes obvious, she will make adjustments. Persistence is always there marching or sometimes almost dancing toward her goal. When she comes to an obstacle, she considers it and then finds a way around it, over it, under it, or works her way through it. Persistence falls down then gets back up, attends to her injury and continues to her destination.
Being persistent in our own lives is certainly not easy. One comfort though is persistence leave lots of room for my human imperfection. Some of the very first words uttered on this podcast, not by me, by Brandy McCachren are encouraging. “Today is a new day. We get to start over. I love that we get to start over everyday.”
Today IS a new day. I hope you’ll find joy and peace and growth in this one. Valentine’s day is next week so our focus is going to be on love and relationships. Wednesday, I interview Shannon Cunningham owner of Paradise travel. She made it through some relationship failures. Now that she’s in a great one, she shares some of the things she believes are important in strengthening them. Plus, she’s a lot of fun!