A month ago, I spent seven hours in cold seawater faceplanting every minute or so. It’s called kitesurfing. Well, more like flying a kite while swallowing half a gallon of seawater every two minutes. The next day I went in for some more. Eventually I got the hang of it. Now, I surf. And it feels like magic.

perseverance-by-rauno-merisalu

And that brings me to the ugly truth I’ve had to learn: just like in kitesurfing there are no shortcuts in life either. All that matters is that you put in the hard work. Want to be good at something? Put in the hours. You get good at something faster by recognizing what’s most important (Pareto’s principle aka the 80-20 rule) but that’s not a shortcut. It’s just being smart.

But wait a minute. I want shortcuts. I want instant gratification. I know that it doesn’t work that way but maybe this time? Maybe this time I’ll flip the switch and then I’ll be great at playing guitar. Or if I just eat that pill I’ll lose all my body fat.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

But I do have one shortcut. Sort of. It’s more like circumventing the problem.

Most of us are guilty of trying the shortcuts sold to us. Reading about them and trying them takes up an enormous amount of energy. And eventually it leaves us with nothing but the knowledge that it didn’t work.

Here’s the circumvention: perseverance.

Only perseverance gets us where we want to be. We’re so used to getting instant gratification through shopping and living in a safe world that it feels as if everything should come easily to us. And if it doesn’t we get bummed out and stop trying. I know because I have done that on many occasions.

Be strong, work harder and enjoy the ride. You’ll get there eventually.

I’ll leave you with this though by John D. Rockefeller:

“I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”

July 24th, 2014

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