The value of persisting

When I was a teenager, I was part of a dance class— there were six or seven of us who were a core group. We had started as beginners and developed together.

The teacher gave us a pep talk one day, saying that everyone had a distinct strength to offer— Allison had perfect feet and posture, Val was very precisce, and me. . . well, I was always there. I never missed class. I showed up. I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed that my “strength” was that I could manage to show up.

But all these years later, it’s still a strength of mine— and it’s both more unusual and more effective than I’d known as a teenager. There are many, many times in my life that I’ve talked myself into showing up for something I didn’t initially think was worth it only to find that my presence was integral to the sucess of whatever it was. I’ve made friends by being the one who answered the open invitation. I’ve won awards by being the one who applied.  And I’ve transformed myself by being consistent in lots of little ways. I go to yoga class without fail, even when I don’t really feel like it. I can’t do insane arm balances because I’m really talented, I can do them because I’ve practiced nearly every day for years and years. I didn’t finish my doctorate swiftly because I’m brilliant, but because I was persistent in working on it and going after the support I needed.

So, hell yeah, persistence is a strength, and it’s a great one— because it translates to anything I decide to do. These days, persistence can be a political act (Elizabeth Warren FTW!)— and it’s powerful because it’s personal, it demonstrates commitment, and you can’t argue with it. So persist humans!

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