Perseverance is defined as ‘persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.’ It’s always been an unfashionable quality, for we are impatient people who prefer things to be accomplished quickly and with little to no effort. When my son started piano lessons, I was eager to learn the tricks of the trade from an expert. Not surprisingly, I discovered there were no tricks: just steady, regular practice, teaching the fingers of one hand to do something they were not used to doing, teaching the fingers of the other hand the same thing, and then putting the two things together. The first music book he had had 30 pieces of music to learn and I was shocked that he did not get to put both hands together until the very last piece! That was 30 weeks of lessons (over six months!) before he could play even one short piece which to me qualified as ‘playing the piano’!
Perseverance is necessary if we are to become masters of anything. Instead of giving up after one or two weeks, we need to learn to press on, to keep going, to persist. Children take months to learn to walk. They take years to learn to talk. Mastery of anything is difficult, but perseverance is the key element required. We simply must not give up.
I don’t know what you want to master this year. It may be a new hobby or skill. It may be losing weight or taking more exercise. It may be overcoming a particular temptation. It may be not giving up on a work situation or a relationship which seems hopeless. Most of us are wondering how long we will have to persevere with social isolation and the economic uncertainty facing us at this time. Whatever the challenge, the answer will be found, in part at least, through perseverance.