Call – Opelika-Auburn News
may require hanging by your fingernails
is impossible without perseverance. In any worthwhile endeavor it is usually
the lack of resolve that results in failure.
The word “persevere” is not a commonly
used word. But our alternatives for it help us remember to persevere if we hope
to reach our goal. The most common
substitute for it may be the frequent admonition, “Hang in there.” That is how
we conclude many conversations when a friend needs encouragement to “keep up
the good work.”
To persevere is to refuse to quit or
give up. Thomas Edison finally produced a workable electric light bulb because
he refused to give up. Walt Disney stuck with his Mickey Mouse dreams and you
know the rest of that story.
Winston Churchill inspired the people of
England with his famous call to fight in the fields, the streets, the hills,
and “never surrender.” Educated as a child at Harrow School in England,
Churchill returned there to deliver a speech that endeared the prime minister
to people everywhere:
“Never give in, never give in, never,
never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give
in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”
What good advice the young men heard
from an old man who was by then known for his unwillingness to give up in
England’s desperate fight for freedom. He was convincing because he had walked
Ben Franklin called perseverance the
mother of good luck. Thomas Carlyle said it was patience concentrated. An
Arabian proverb called it the greatest of all teachers.
I learned a lot about perseverance from
my parents. Dad had a certain doggedness that everybody admired. Every day he
got up at 4:30 in the morning and worked till dark. When he tackled a job, he
stayed with it until it was done. I never heard him say anything like, “Son, when you take on a tough task, stay the
course.” He was a man of few words. But I learned from his example how
important it is to stay the course in every challenge.
vegetables like there was no tomorrow. One day she spilled boiling paraffin on
her right arm and hand. The injury was so severe that she could not use her
hand for months. But that slowed her down for only a few days. Slowly she
learned to write with her left hand and steadfastly kept in touch with her many
relatives and pen pals. Mama’s “stick-to-itiveness” taught all her children how
to persevere in tough times.
A good friend once gave me the honor of
persuading him not to give up when he felt like quitting. He overcame his
failure, got back on course, and became a credit to his profession. To
celebrate our friendship he gave me a framed poem that hangs on my wall to
remind me of the value of perseverance. Some say the author is unknown. Others
attribute it to Edgar A. Guest. Whoever its author, the poem sums up what I am
trying to say:
When things go
wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worse,
That you must not quit.
you are tempted to give up today, in doing a hard job that is worth doing, hang
in there. Hang by your fingernails, if you must, until help comes. Believe in
yourself. It may be hard but you can do it. Refuse to quit. One day you will be
glad that you kept hanging on. In the end, success may lie more in the struggle
than in the achievement. +++