April 4, 2016 • Newsletter
To persevere. To continue, even in the face of difficulty. To persist with determination. To carry on. To follow through.
Perseverance is powerful. It is important. It is why we continue to do the important work we do, even—and especially—when it is hard. We should celebrate our perseverance, our tenacity, our endurance.
We should celebrate this beautiful messy process that often—but not always—leads to something better at the end.
And we know that. Our children and students are praised for their perseverance when a task is challenging. Our teaching anecdotes highlight failures on the path to major successes (Steve Jobs, for example). Our quotable sayings emphasize perseverance (“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” or “Practice makes perfect” or “If you are going through hell, keep going.”).
Our best-seller lists (How Children Succeed by Paul Tough and Grit by Angela Duckworth) emphasize building perseverance and grit. Our TED talks (also by Angela Duckworth) and pop culture writings do the same (see, for example, Kevin Ivester’s musings and the Tim Elmore’s take on the subject in the related Huffington Post article).
And nature has taught us this. After all, April showers (and occasional snow flakes) bring May flowers.
We know it’s a thing. We knew it was a thing before it was a trendy thing.
This month, persevere. Persevere with your art, with your writing, with your performance, with your creativity. The “newness” of the new year is over. The transitional agrarian change to summer hasn’t yet happened. The fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t quite ripe. The sunshine isn’t quite predictable.
But you can still persevere. And you can do it patiently.
Because building a creative practice takes time. It can happen intentionally (and it should), but it also must happen organically. You can’t force creativity any more than you can force a market for your creativity.
But you can persevere with patience. Not by being passive. Being passive is something complete different. It is waiting. It is hoping, often without direction. Perseverance is taking action. It is seizing control and reclaiming empowerment. It is not passive. It is exhausting. It is so exhausting we feel it should end long before it does.
So we remain patient. We persevere. Patiently.