"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
Persevere, v., To persist in a purpose, an idea, or a task in the face of obstacles or discouragement. [Latin > perseverus, very serious]
Failue is not an option for true champions. NFL Hall of Fame Coach, Vince Lombardi, famously said, "Winners never quit, and quitters never win." Champions possess that 'never quit', 'always striving', 'Yes, I can' attitude. And they are very serious about it. For champions, perseverance, is no joke. It is part of their DNA. It's who they are!
This latest installment in our Championship Series explores the indispensable trait which all champions have in common - perseverance.
Champions realize the road to success is seldom, if ever, an easy one. In the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, there are always two options: 1) throw in the towel, or 2) use the towel to wipe the sweat off your face and keep going. Champions always choose option #2!
Allow me to illustrate my point with the following examples:
Beethoven (composer) was deaf. Albert Einstein (scientist) had a learning disabilty. James Earl Jones (actor) was a stutterer. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (U.S. President) was paralyzed from polio. Vincent Van Gogh (artist) was mentally ill. Ray Charles (musician) was blind. Helen Keller (author) was both deaf and blind.
Yet, these true champions refused to let these very formidable obstacles stop them from achieving their goals and dreams. They possessed that indispensable quality - perseverance!
Napoleon Bonaparte stated, "Victory belongs to the most persevering." Champions generally encounter many heartbreaking failures and setbacks before they triumph. Yet, they refuse to become discouraged. They don't quit because it is hard. They never give in, and certainly, never give up. They persevere!
Thomas Edison experimented with over 2,000 different materials before discovering the correct type for the filament of the electric light bulb. NBA Championship Coach, Chuck Daly, had no NBA coaching success until he was 52. The Beatles were rejected for a record label audition. Vince Lombardi didn't become an NFL Coach until he was 47. Leo Tolstoy flunked out of college. A producer once advised Lucille Ball to get out of acting, and "try another profession. Any other profession!" Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because of a "lack of ideas." Yet, they refused to give up. They had their minds made up to succeed. They all persevered, and all achieved spectacular successes in their chosen fields of endeavor!
But where does perseverance come from? Why do some persevere, while others opt to throw in the towel? The path to perseverance lies in self-discipline and faith. Basketball "Coaching Legend", Dean Smith, said, "The disciplined guy can do anything." Champions realize that nothing is accomplished without the capacity to push through hardships, to deny the smaller yearnings for the sake of the larger goal.' Julius "Dr. J" Erving II, NBA Hall of Famer, stated, "Being a professional means doing all the things you love to do, even on the days you don't feel like doing them."
Champions are very familiar with "The Grind", that period when the work gets extremely difficult, when the aches and pains get so bad you don't even feel like getting out of bed in the morning. Yet, champions have the capacity to 'grind', even at their weakest points. And that ability to 'grind', in spite of aches, pain, and weariness is the product of self-discipline, of will, of faith, of the capacity to push oneself beyond old limits and to new limits.
NBA Legendary Hall of Famer, Michael Jordan, played at various times with a broken cheekbone, an infected foot, back spasms so severe he had to be carried off the bus, and the flu so bad he had to be given an IV at halftime. Yet MJ never gave up, never gave in, and completed every game, usually as the high scorer! Now, that's perseverance!
But why is perseverance so critical to champions? Perseverance teaches champions a wisdom impossible to learn by any other means. It teaches them crucial lessons that ease and comfort have no clue about. (See Romans 5:3-5.) Champions don't persist just for the sake of persisitng. They persist for a specific purpose, a well-defined goal, a definite hope. Perseverance produces character, and character produces hope - hope/ faith in the coming victory and ultimate triumph!
Champions possess an inner reserve of faith, a hidden strength, that they can call upon and tap into at the most critical times, which often propels them beyond anything that even they themselves dreamed was possible!
How have you persevered to achieve any of your goals? As a result of your experience, what advice can you offer to others?
Until next time,
Hi! I'm Kenneth Lillard, author, ordained minister, and motivational speaker. This blog is an expression of some of my thoughts and opinions. I'm glad you stopped by. Hope you'll share some of your comments while you're here. Be Blessed!