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Perseverance: Are you rock or water?

“What is harder than rock, or softer than water? Yet soft water hollows out hard rock. Persevere.”
– Ovid

Ovid was born in 43 B.C. That means people have been talking about perseverance for a very long time. Which means the challenges of reaching our goals has been a problem for humanity just as long. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel a lot better – knowing I’m not alone in the struggle. Especially when I feel like I’m bumping up against an immovable wall.

Try a search on the web for perseverance quotes. From ancient wisdom to modern humor, there are inspiring words to help us keep at it, stick to our goals, persist, pursue and endure. Whew! I’m getting tired just thinking about it.

You can also find stories of people who overcame huge obstacles to do great things. Those are wonderful to read unless you’re like me -one of those people who then feels inadequate  – as in “Why am I not living up to my potential like that superhero person did?”

So I want to share a story about a regular person – one you may never hear about in the news – one who may never do things that are so amazing to the outside world that they end up in motivational books, posts, and speeches.

The story takes place at the local college my son attends here in Vegas. He’s in the animation program, and most of the students want to work in the video game industry when they graduate. But the story is not about my son. It’s about one of the other students, and the things my son has told me about him – let’s call him Gary (protecting his privacy and all).

Gary was told by a professor early on that he didn’t have what it takes and that he should just drop out of the program. In front of the whole class. BAM! OUCH! What would be your reaction to that at age 19 or 20? You don’t have what it takes to make your most passionate dreams come true!

I would have been destroyed when I was that age –I would have barely made it through the semester, confidence destroyed, and then slunk off to waste my life looking for something I cared enough about to make it worth doing.

Gary finished all the assignments, passed that semester and then signed up for the next class. I asked my son about his attitude toward the professor – “He obviously doesn’t like him, but he’s always respectful and always does the work. He just really wants to do this.” (meaning work in video games).

This semester, the professor apologized and said, “I was wrong about you.” In front of the whole class. Whoa! The sun breaks through the clouds!

How does that very short story make you feel? Gary is the water Ovid was talking about. He hasn’t made millions of dollars, he hasn’t made the news with his accomplishments – and he might not ever. But he has done what we all want to do – he hasn’t let anyone or anything stop him from working toward his dreams. He has persevered.

I don’t feel inadequate when I think about Gary. He’s a normal person, doing normal things – not a superhero making millions. I can be more like Gary. I can persevere – respectfully – through the misjudgment and criticism of others. I can continue working towards my dreams – and trust me – I won’t forget, thanks to Gary, that the world doesn’t have to know or approve for that to be great.

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13 Responses to Perseverance: Are you rock or water?

  1. Wow, that does make you feel better to know perseverance has been a challenge since the beginning. I think your story tells us a lot about life. Someone tells us that we can’t and we automatically think that were not good enough and give us. If you have perseverance you can surprise people every day including yourself. Remember your not growing if your comfortable.


  2. Teresa, that is so true. We don’t have to live up to what others think is our path to success. We just have to follow our own passion. It is easy to persist when we are passionate about something. It is what makes us jump out of bed in the morning…that one thing that we can’t wait to get started…

    It’s great to hear stories like that.
    Nick Logan´s last undefined ..Response cached until Thu 18 @ 1:47 GMT (Refreshes in 23.24 Hours)


  3. Thank you for this post Teresa!

    I love how you continue to give us great lessons through amazing stories. I love the story because I too sometimes look at the ‘super hero’ stories and feel somewhat inadequate. But this is just a simple person doing nothing exraordinary, just following his dream no matter the odds or the people who put him down. We all can be Gary!

    Thank you for the inspiration.:)

    Danielle Zack´s last blog ..3 Simple Steps to Build Your Business Using Social Media


  4. Thanks Teresa, yes it doesn’t do to compare and knock ourselves out of the game before we even get started and have a go! We are all unique individuals with our own beauty, learned skills and natural talents. And they can evolve and change to suit our lifes journey. Passion is the fuel that drives us to fully express and enjoy our life. And there is so much of life to enjoy.


  5. Thanks Teresa, for the post. I imagine Gary being a top video game programmer some day. I couldn’t go back as far as Ovid — LOL, but I do have a perseverence poem that I like, entitled — See It Through!

    Always an enjoyable read, looking forward to more posts.

    Corey Ellis´s last blog ..Breakdown of the 34 WordPress Plugins That Have Contributed to the Success of MLM Street Journal


  6. Great post Teresa, as long as you believe in yourself it does not matter what another person thinks. Just keep pushing forward!
    Lori Robertson´s last blog ..Who Do You Attract Whiners Or Winners?


  7. Awesome post Teresa, Thank you for sharing this important lesson that you were blessed to have been a witness to. It just goes to show that if you believe and yourself and push through any situation. Wonderful Post

    Evin Anderson´s last blog ..How to Build Your Personal Brand Using Facebook


  8. Perseverance is one of those attributes that I had always struggled with and it is always encouraging to hear the inspiring stories of others who deal with negativity in a positive way. It is such an example of what my mom says, “when someone hands you a lemon you have to make lemonade” and that teacher got a couple of glasses full. Well done teresa thank you for sharing :)
    Shekinah Russell´s last blog ..You Deserve This!


  9. Hey Teresa,

    This is written so beautifully. It is a very important story that needs to be shared. I will make the point of letting my little ones know that if they have a dream and they really want it they should never give up because I will always believe in them ~ even if others wont.

    I totally recognise myself as Gary in this story, I even had a flash back to when I was at school. My English teacher said that my essay was horse manure and that I was never going to pass my exam…..my mum was really cross and marched up to school lol…oh the embarassment.

    But it actually made me stronger, it knocked my confidence for sure, but I was intent on proving this silly teacher wrong. I got an A in English and I worked my socks off for it. I have always been passionate about writing and I would love to see Mr Binns face today knowing that I have my own blog.

    Thank you for sharing and reminding me how far I have come.
    Beth :-)
    Beth Hewitt´s last blog ..What does your mind say about you?


  10. I love this post! Wow, talk about strength of character from Gary! Indeed we can all be a little more like Gary, a little more determined a little more flowing a little more focused. This one really touched me, thanks for sharing!
    Kimberly Castleberry´s last blog ..Caps Off To Internet Social Memes


  11. Thanks everyone! I’m so glad you all saw Gary they way I see him. The things the professor didn’t see him were the ones that will take him the farthest!


  12. [...] you’ve been following this blog for any length of time you’ve probably read about “Gary” and his success. That kind of success stirs up our souls and makes us believe we can achieve [...]

  13. Thanks, Teresa for reminding me that ANYONE can do almost anything they want if they stick to it. Being part of the MLM industry, I see people all the time who give up because it seems too hard.

    But I think it’s when you push through that initial hurdle, the little voice that tells you to give up, you’ll never make it… this is when it becomes easier to persevere and keep fighting. At least, that’s the way it works for me.

    Thanks for sharing this inspiring story about “a regular guy”!
    Dr. Bob Clarke´s last blog ..Struggling in MLM and Ready to Quit


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