“When the times get tough, the tough get going.” was a common phrase to roll from the lips of my grandfather. He is one who believed that perseverance is a virtue. It should be stated that he was one of the most stubborn people on the face of the earth so it might have simply been a tricky way of justifying a vice. It is, nonetheless a worthy ideal to strive to hold steady on a course regardless of the difficulty that may arise.
Nothing that is exceptional is short of exceptionally difficult. We are faced with obstacles on the way to every mountaintop and point of success in our lives. So this trait we call endurance is one that describes the characteristic of being able to sustain these obstacles. The strength we find in the perseverance through pain and hardship is where your privilege is earned.
Resilience is a virtue we call upon often to help us cope or maintain, but what human faculty is it that fuels this characteristic. When we look to the solider who continues to fight in the face of fear, fatigue, and struggles to make it out alive, is it a similar motivation that is harkened in the heart of the athlete who finds the extra ounce of energy and pushes though agony for a victory.
If we are to understand this we must first look to what propels us to act in ordinary situations and ask if that is sufficient motivation to move us beyond the downhill days of easy transitions. Then we must seek to understand the impetus for our surrender to the obstacles that cause to fail. Failure must also be redefined. As we look towards the demand to triumph over minor set backs there is a moment where we are effectively broken by our conditions and loose the optimistic perspective that give us the confidence to carry on. This is the root of failure it seems. It is the moment we see success or progress as unachievable. The moment we give in to the idea that we are incapable of shifting the paradigm, or subverting the dominant model, or pushing through physical or emotional hardship we find failure. Could it be that as long as we are in a state of endurance we can coincidentally find that we are in a state of hopefulness?
This and many other answers must reveal themselves but this month we shall explore them.