How To Be Persistent
Have you ever felt stuck? It feels like the more effort you exert, the harder things become. It’s almost as if all your grit is creating this unintentional tension in your muscles that seemingly makes you incapable of moving forward.
Tonight, I was sitting there trying to figure out what I was going to write about. An idea would flow in, I’d mull it over, reach a dead end, and try again. The harder I forced the ideas, the worse they became. My blood began to boil. Aggravation enveloped my body. Each limb tensed. Creativity ceased. I was stuck.
Suddenly, I became aware of the loud crashing to my left. It must’ve been going on for a while, but the irritation blocked my consciousness from discerning the outer world. Much to my dismay, the inconsistent, loud, jagged noises began to feel like unwelcome intruders amidst the chaos of my thoughts. My irritation was reaching new heights.
Crash! Silence. Crash! Silence. Crash! Wait.
I let my mind tune in.
Failure! Contemplation. Failure! Contemplation. Failure! Wait.
The slaps on the pavement became subtle, welcomed knocks at my stubborn stream of thoughts.
There was a young man to my left who was trying to jump up on the ledge below me with his skateboard. Each time he missed (so every attempt), his board would succumb to gravity as his feet fought to separate from the flailing surface in efforts to find firm pavement. This didn’t stop him. With each foiled jump, he would stop and take a breath with his board at his feet. Then, he would try again. Though he never got up on the ledge, he inched closer and closer to his desired result. There were people walking past him, but he never stopped to take note of what everyone else might be thinking. The stranger to my left taught me an important lesson tonight.
Persistence isn’t about how hard you push. Rather, it’s about how smart you prevail. You mustn’t let each trial remain characterized by the same errors. Be calculated in your pursuits. I sat there and tried to force an idea out of myself by creating a tsunami of thoughts as opposed to stopping, taking a breath, drawing a keen eye to the present moment, and letting things flow. Once I took a quiet step back and looked at what was around me, I was able to see that there was a solution staring me in the face, patiently waiting to be unveiled.
Sometimes, feeling stuck isn’t as simple as not having a topic to write about or trying to master a new trick on your skateboard. Maybe you feel stuck in life, your job, your studies, your friend group, or your relationship. Whatever it is, I recommend taking a second to acknowledge and accept it. Look at what’s around you. Learn from your mistakes. Take opportunities. The end goal may not always be in your direct line of vision, but as long as you keep taking progressive steps, you’ll begin to see things unravel before you. If you only aim for the finish line, you’ll burn out. Move at a consistent pace and, in due time, you’ll feel your steps gain momentum. When you’re stuck in quick sand, there’s a reason they tell you to stay calm. The more frantic you become, the deeper you sink into the same spot. Push smart, not hard.
Keep on moving.
Look at your surroundings.
Continue gaining more momentum.
Build upon what you have already done.
Be patient as your efforts continue to cultivate into something great.