For those of you that are not regular readers of my personal blog, you may not know that I have been on a personal journey, nay crusade over the last couple of years. Back in May 2009, I hadn’t run at all in over 10 years. I was unfit, carrying too much weight and felt that I had to make some significant changes in my lifestyle. I started by doing a couple of short run/walks (2 miles max) a week, then I decided I needed a bigger challenge to give me something bigger to aim at to motivate and maintain my drive. Thus, I committed to and trained to run in the EDF Birmingham Half Marathon on 24th October 2010. I wrote about the goal and application of the 10 Steps of Success in my Birmingham Half Marathon post. Then subsequently, I committed to and trained for the Virgin London Marathon on 17th April 2011. All of this has required focus, determination, support from others and perseverance.

Perseverance: Sticking at it

Perseverance is the characteristic of sticking at something that you have begun, to keep on striving to achieve what you set out to do. There were a few times during the last couple of years when I have been faced with challenges; mainly times when I have sustained an injury of some sort, particularly when I suffered from bouts of tendonitis, which seemed to be a regular occurrence. Those times when I have been making great progress and then I am faced with another week of rest, hobbling around, when the disappointment and annoyance could have dampened my enthusiasm and it might have been easy to give up. However, I was determined to meet the commitment that I had made to myself and shared with other; to achieve the goals I had set myself. I have learnt a lesson in the process; the end goal has always remained the same, however, when set backs have occurred I started review what has happened and then look at ways I could change my approach. I have had to seek advice and guidance and have at times have pursued a different route.


Albert Einstein is attributed with the following quote:
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”
So was I insane? Perhaps not, but I think I was being stubborn.

Perseverance: Sticking at it

Perseverance is an important personal trait, we face obstacles and inconveniences in some form as we strive to progress and achieve our goals and ambitions. If we gave up at the first sign of trouble, the first obstacle, we would never achieve anything. However, there is a difference between perseverance and stubbornness. On occasion, we need to reassess the approach we are taking and perhaps change our game plan; the end game is still the same, the goal to be achieved. If we’re prepared to ‘give up’ after the first obstacle, it’s likely the goal was not that important to us in the first place.

To finish off, I’d like to offer this extract from a classic poem that tells the story of Robert the Bruce, who after six successive defeats by the English was a fugitive in a lonely hut. While there he saw a spider try six times to cast his thread from one beam to another without success, then unperturbed tried and succeeded on the seventh try. Bruce took great courage from the spider’s perseverance, fought a seventh battle and won.

Bernard Barton (1784-1849)
“… When, looking up with wistful eye,
The Bruce beheld a spider try
His filmy thread to fling
From beam to beam of that rude cot–
And well the insect’s toilsome lot
Taught Scotland’s future king.

Six times the gossamery thread
The wary spider threw;–
In vain the filmy line was sped,
For powerless or untrue
Each aim appeared, and back recoiled
The patient insect, six times foiled,
And yet unconquered still;
And soon the Bruce, with eager eye,
Saw him prepare once more to try
His courage, strength, and skill.

One effort more, his seventh and last!–
The hero hailed the sign!–
And on the wished-for beam hung fast
That slender silken line!
Slight as it was, his spirit caught
The more than omen; for his thought
The lesson well could trace,
Which even ‘he who runs may read,’
That Perseverance gains its meed,
And Patience wins the race.”

Did the spider or “The Bruce” change their game plan? I don’t know. However, both knew what they wanted to achieve and stuck with it until they were ultimately successful, a great demonstration of the power of perserverance.