virgin islands scene

You must do the things you think you cannot do.
-- Eleanor Roosevelt


Thursday, February 19, 1998

Persistent or stubborn?

Sometimes in an attempt to be persistent, we become stubborn. That’s a mistake, because there’s a big difference between the two. Persistence is the ability to keep your eye on the goal, to continue plowing ahead despite the challenges, to doggedly work your way past any obstacle. Yet persistence also demands flexibility. Stubbornness, on the other hand, is a refusal to accept reality and an unwillingness to adapt to changing conditions.

To reach any goal requires that we be unyielding about where we intend to go, while at the same time flexible about how to get there. Unfortunately, many times we get it backwards -- we persistently do the same thing every day, out of a sense of habit or comfort or lack of knowing what else to do, even if it is not taking us in the direction we want to go.

Few things ever come to pass in exactly the way that we plan them. The ability to adapt is very much a part of relentless persistence. When you’re persistent about what you intend to accomplish, and flexible as to how it will happen, anything is possible.

— Ralph Marston

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