Perseverance-Positive and Negative

It has come to my attention in the recent weeks that my approach to persevering at my goals has been at times unbalanced.  You see, I have come to understand the definition of perseverance to be equated fully with doing something good for yourself and achieving what you want against the odds.

What I didn’t understand is that perseverance can be a detriment to our well being when we are persevering with the wrong intention and energy behind us.

When I was growing up I witnessed my parents and grandparents pursue their life challenges with rigor and fortitude.  They were examples to me of hard work and dedication, what you do in the face of difficulties.  They didn’t give up, they worked very hard and persevered against the odds they faced.  So my habit started early, and I too worked to make the most of my circumstances and go forward in life as I met my own challenges.

However recently I have had a chance to review my concept of perseverance and make some changes to my definition. When I look at efforts I have made recently in my life to “not give up;”  I can see the actions that led me to persevere and that these actions required some forethought.

I was aware of how I was feeling before I began the tasks that led me to persevere.  Some of the times this forethought was my mind telling me to be cautionary and assess before I moved forward.   When I didn’t listen and take time to assess, my reward for my perseverance was not felt as strongly and as meaningfully as the times when I did.

This has led me to shift my perspective on perseverance.  I see that the forethought that we bring to prepare us for action that will led us to persevere can make the efforts an uphill battle the whole way ending up as a negative perseverance experience or a patient journey lead to positive acknowledgement for perseverance well accomplished.

To help me become more aware of this I am learning to take a look and see if I am approaching my task with positive perseverance.  I explore the following to see how I am directing my efforts:

1. Am I conscious of what I am doing- Am I centered, or scattered in my thoughts and actions.

2. Does my intended outcome bring me peace- peace of mind, peace within.

3. Do I see what I am working to accomplish as worthy- does the effort that I am exerting hold value that is meaningful to me.

4. Am I working at a pace that I can manage- is the hard work consistently draining me or do I have a balance in my efforts.

5. Am I checking in with myself and altering my tempo along the way- do I push myself to go at the same rate all the time or do I vary it.

6. Before I begin to set my intentions on an action plan each day, am I feeling positive about myself- am I approaching the daily efforts made towards my goal with a loving approach towards myself.

This past week I was tired before I began my exercise routine for the day.  I would wake up feeling ache and want to sleep in, but when the alarm clock hit 8am I got myself up and hit the gym.  When I approached the room, I could feel my body wanting to retreat back upstairs, it was tight and I was tense.

The room seemed darker even to me even as it was fully lit.  When I began my routine, I didn’t modify anything.  I stuck to my weekly plan.  By the end of the week, I was so exhausted that I had to spend the whole weekend on the couch, completely fatigued and run down I felt upset with myself.  Yes I persevered, but was it worth it?  NO!

This is an example of negative perseverance.  Whereby I knew that I was not prepared to approach my exercise routine with the same energy that I usually would, and yet I continued anyway.  My efforts were to prove to myself that I could do it despite how I was feeling, and when I pursued with my daily exercise it left me depleted at the end.

Modifications could have been made to flip my perseverance in a positive direction.  I could have taken an extra half hour of sleep, looked at my weekly routine and switching around the exercises-perhaps done some yoga first and started the week out light.  I could have taken a leisure walk outside to center my mind and ask myself how I was doing at the beginning of my day, just a few minutes would have given me an opportunity to slow down.

All of these actions would have been helpful to center myself on most importantly giving myself permission to be tired.

So when you are decidedly strong in your conviction to perform a task, and you find yourself tensing up to do it and your focus is scattered, stop, and ask yourself how you are pursuing your task- and choose to persevere in a positive direction.