Persistence Makes the Difference

“Persistence can make anything possible.”

One of the remarkable truths about human existence is that with patience, determination and persistence you can make anything a reality.

I came across a worn tree dragged down under the weight of an encroaching vine while walking in a secluded wood. Upon closer inspection, I recognized the vine as a wild grapevine and wondered at its resilience to both survive and actually fruit in the wild.

More impressive still was the recognition that I could learn from this plant’s voracity for life, expansion and growth. Despite the many obstacles it has faced—drought, foraging animals and a shaded canopy, the vine continued to thrive and soon overwhelmed this mighty tree.

That’s what we can learn from nature.

  • How can we be resilient in the face of obstacles beyond our control?

The answer was clear—never stop growing. Day by day—add new growth. Expand your influence and beliefs until you overwhelm the obstacles which stood in your way by conquering them like the vine.

  • Learn something new.
  • Work an extra shift.
  • Exercise and improve your health.
  • Meditate and strengthen your mind.

Some Days Suck—Get Over It

On even the darkest days, birds sing and flowers bloom.

The world carries on regardless of what happens to you.

  • Some days are hard.
  • Other days are terrible.
  • Many days you just can’t seem to win.

In a nutshell, that’s just life. Nature is optimized to ensure the best possible solution for everyone and everything, not just you. That means while your day may be terrible—the world’s just fine.

So the lesson here is to be careful what you complain about. This doesn’t mean that you weren’t wronged or that the system isn’t stacked against you. What it means is that you won’t waste time complaining about reality. You’ll take decisive actions to improve your life rather than taking no action and begrudge it. Nothing will change if you do nothing.

There is a difference between hardship and inconvenience. A flat tire, a speeding ticket, the flu and a pink slip are all really just events in your life. These events are insignificant to the world in the grand scheme of things, but to you they seem all-important.

Try and unlearn this self-centered approach to life. It’s disadvantageous to your wellbeing because it encourages you to bemoan hardship rather than shrug it off.

Life sucks. Then you die. Get over it. —L. Trumble

I’m not quite as harsh in my own words, but Trumble is right. Life is hard. Don’t complain about your experiences—overcome them. Before you know it, your life will be over soon enough. Make choices that encourage your personal growth, development and success now. We never know when when our time will be up.

Generosity and Lectures

A stranger came to me today in a parking lot and asked for help.

  • I did not fear him.
  • I did not judge him.
  • I chose to give to him freely.

The world is only as treacherous or as sad as we choose to make it. Just as we can make our own lives more difficult through poor decisions and more bountiful with wise decisions, we have the same power to do this for others. However, sometimes we tell ourselves stories to justify not helping those in need. It’s important to remember that those stories are the creation of our imagination. They are not based on fact. They are a fiction.

I think we forget how much power and influence we really have to help other people in our daily lives. In many ways we become hoarders of our time and money in the hope of ensuring we will have a safe and comfortable life. We forget that with very little we can drastically alter the lives of others. We can share what we have and help those in need whose experiences were less fortunate than our own. Those gifts can immeasurably change someone’s life.

Give help, not lectures.

Try and leave judgments of any kind behind. It really doesn’t matter how well you can debate or justify your beliefs. In the end, you can’t change the mind of a person who doesn’t desire change.

The perfect examples are in the forbidden topics of politics and religion at the dinner table. No matter how persuasive you are, you can’t change someone’s beliefs with a single conversation. If he doesn’t have an open mind, you can’t open it for him. It is better to be silent. Hold your tongue, and offer generosity and kinship despite your differing beliefs. This gives you a chance to find common ground and slowly open both your minds to finding a middle path.

Remember, people remain largely unchanged until they are willing to question their beliefs. Harbor them no resentment. We are all products of our upbringing. We’re taught to believe and behave in different ways. Treat everyone with kindness and better than they have treated you.

Rules to Remember when Giving

  • Don’t give to feel better about yourself. You can’t purchase a lasting feeling of accomplishment.
  • Don’t give in the hope of recognition. You can’t buy admiration, but you may inspire it.
  • Give to relieve suffering. That is enough.

It’s not our responsibility to determine who deserves help. Generosity is a gift. It’s given to those in need, and the greatest acts of kindness are given in unexpected and compassionate ways.

“Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” —Matthew 5:42