What is the meaning of persevere?
Everyone has experienced or will experience difficult times in their lives. Whether the difficulty comes in the form of health problems, emotional issues, financial difficulties or any other form of stress, everyone is faced, at one time or another, with the choice to persevere or not in the face of challenges.
However, perseverance can also be found in more positive situations such as striving for goals. Athletes, artists, actors and business people must all, at one time or another, find a way to persevere in order to reach a level in their career that they determine is successful. This ability to persevere is often what separates the winners from the losers.
Perseverance can be difficult for some people to muster. Persevering is never easy. But, depending on the magnitude of the challenge faced and the mental, physical, and emotional health of the individual, it can be extremely hard for some people to persevere through their challenges.
But there are ways to cultivate perseverance in your own life. There are small steps you can take starting right now to begin to build on your ability to continue towards your goals, or through your challenges, and to emerge as a person who has persevered and successfully met the challenges.
We can simply define persevere using the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of persevere: ‘continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success.’
The key word in this definition is ‘action’. To persevere means to continue to pursue whatever the objective is, despite the difficulties, whether they are real or perceived. To persevere means to continue to take actions towards a goal, a dream, or even an object, despite the lack of certainty in success. To truly believe in this success can sometimes be the underlying difference in its attainment.
To get a better understanding of what it means to persevere, we can also look at some perseverance synonyms. These include, to endure, to persist and to pursue. All of these words convey a sense of strength and determination to reach a goal or to make things happen that appear to be unattainable. So how do we cultivate these powerful traits in our lives?
To Persevere is a Habit
Let’s say that you want to lose weight. For some this can be a challenging goal that they may have failed at many times before. In previous attempts, they may have become demoralized and given up on their goal because of a setback such as gaining a couple of pounds instead of losing them. Or perhaps the goal is so far away that they just cannot believe, even within themselves, that it will ever happen.
This is where it is important to find a way to persevere, to find it within to keep going despite the challenges. Once a person can flip the switch in their own thinking and turn on the thoughts and emotions that come along with the determination to persevere, the goal can become attainable. This is what personal trainers try to instill in their weight loss clients. When the client yells out in pain that they can’t lift that weight even one more time, and the trainer yells back that yes, they can, the trainer is trying to break that barrier. The trainer, even if they seem mean, is trying to flip the switch for the client that means the difference between success and failure. This example shows the very definition of persevering; choosing to fight on despite challenges.
Of course, it’s not easy to flip the switch, but it is possible by looking within and finding a kernel of determination to build on and by actively controlling the negative thoughts that keep many people from persevering towards their goals.
So how do you flip the switch? Experts say that the ability to persevere is a habit. The habit is formed when dopamine is released into the blood. Dopamine is the chemical that makes people feel good when they have a success. It’s the little rush that comes as a reward for something good.
Those who can almost self-regulate this dopamine rush, by controlling their attitudes, thoughts and their behaviors seem to be able to form the very healthy habit of persevering.
How to Persevere
That’s right. It can come down to the simple act of making a habit out of perseverance. If dopamine can help to reinforce positive behaviors, feelings and thoughts, then it would seem that we need to increase our dopamine levels. How do we do that?
There are several ways that people can trigger release of dopamine in order to create a habit of perseverance in themselves.
Change Your Perspective – One way to tap into your internal pharmacy and release some dopamine into your day is to find a way to change how you are looking at perseverance. Most people feel that they must fight and struggle and that every path is uphill. But, if you can change your thought patterns to look at each step as a success, at each small achievement as a win then you can begin to release the positive chemicals into your blood that lead to good feelings. Many successful people will talk about the joy the found in achieving early, small goals which allowed them to up the ante and create larger goals. Picturing your mountain as having steps carved into its side, steps that make it easier for you to climb it, can be a way to get some feel-good along the way.
Set and Meet Your Own Goals – So, if you now see that small goals can help to release dopamine, than it’s time to start setting your own, self-imposed goals and deadlines. If your goal is own a home you must figure out the steps and the timeline for achieving it. If no one is requiring you to save money or spend less, and you are not requiring it of yourself, then how will you one day own a house? And if you feel despair that you have no money and you will never own your own home anyway, you likely never will. You must set a goal for yourself, however small, and meet it. Start with saving ten dollars a week. At the end of a month, if you see you have been successful, why not up the ante? For the next month, try to save twenty dollars a week, and keep building. You will most likely not miss the ten or twenty dollars a week at all and after a six months you could have almost a thousand dollars saved.
Congratulate Yourself When You Reach Your Goal – Even if it is the smallest goal and you feel that, in the big picture it is not much at all, take the time to acknowledge and be happy for yourself. This will help to release the good chemicals your body seeks and to reinforce this new habit of perseverance. Jump up and down if you are that type of person, let out a whoop or at least allow yourself a big smile and a pat on the back. Any goal is worth celebrating. Any success is worth feeling good about because this is what will lead to more success and the attainment of more, and larger, goals. It may seem fake or phony to be so happy that you saved forty dollars, but remember, you were not able to do that in the previous months, maybe ever in your life. So, celebrate and acknowledge that you are taking control and reaching your own goals. Just don’t get too excited and spend the forty dollars on a celebratory dinner.
These ideas show ways to gain perseverance meaning they show ways to continue, or even to start, towards reaching your goals in the face of obstacles and self-doubt. No one said it would be easy, otherwise, wouldn’t everyone be successful in reaching their goals?
The ability to put these ideas into good use in your life is what separates those that can persevere and those that give up in the face of obstacles. And often in life it is those that have the ability and the mindset to persevere that make it to the top of their own mountain, that reach their own goals and feel that they have been successful in life.
When we see examples of those that have persevered in their lives, whether they are athletes or artists, community leaders or our own family members, it can help us to strive harder in our lives.
People who find it hard to persevere, yet know they must and have a desire to do so, can use these ideas to create the habit of perseverance in themselves. By changing their perspective, setting goals and deadlines for themselves and having a celebration when they meet them, the good chemicals that help to create habits are released. The body cannot help but crave more of this feeling and this is what leads to a positive outlook, perseverance and ultimately to success.