Perseverance. Determined man with a steely gaze.

Stay the Course: Making Perseverance Part of Life

The ability to keep at something—to not give up—is often underestimated. When working toward a goal, the willingness to work consistently at a sustained level is a critical factor for success. In many cases, perseverance is just as important, if not more important than, talent or intelligence. I might have all the skills in the world, but if I can’t be disciplined about working on my goal every day, talent doesn’t do me much good.

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Aspire. Brave woman posing as super hero.

Aspire

That little voice inside your head? What guff has that guy been feeding you now?

When you’re thinking about your dreams and aspirations, you might discuss them with your friends, your family, or your parents. These people might tell you that you can do anything you set your mind to, or they might tell you not to try so you won’t be disappointed. They may have your best interest at heart, or they may have ulterior motives.

But the bottom line is that they don’t know you the way you know you.

Throughout your life, you will get a lot of advice. Some of it will be awful. Some of it will be right on the money. Some will be unsolicited, from passing acquaintances, and some welcome, from people who know you well.

But none of it will be from the most knowledgeable perspective. That perspective is yours and yours alone.

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Special. Young couple taking joy from eating a meal together.

Special

What is the best thing you will do today?

Will it just happen, or will it take some doing?

When you wake up in the morning and think about the day ahead, does your mind immediately go to a to-do list or the demands on your time and energy; or do you wake up excited about something?

All of us have things we must do – every single day. And, often, those things can be overwhelming. It’s very easy for our daily direction to give way to our responsibilities and for the more sublime parts of our lives to get take a back seat (or not even make it into the car).

My days usually start with thoughts of beating the traffic, some early-in-the-day deadline, or some crisis that I have to address – that works for me. My subconscious mind has a way of organizing and prioritizing that my conscious mind doesn’t, so I start the day by organizing my day.

But, for me, it’s also important to think about what will make my day special: something that I look forward to, something exciting, something noteworthy, something extraordinary.

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Expressions. Young man playing guitar while sitting at windowsill.

Expressions

True art cannot be judged; it exists as a form of expression.

We each have things we do to express ourselves—a creative outlet. Maybe we want people to like what we do; maybe we will never share it with anyone else.

Some eventually seek opinions about their expressions. When that line is crossed, our expressions become something else: something more formal, something owned by others as well as ourselves.

When I use the word expressions here, I’m referring broadly to those activities we engage in that help us express something in ourselves. Art falls into this category, but it also might be music, writing, or any form of artistic endeavor. It also might be a physical expression. Dance is a more obvious example, but sports and other physical activities might be expressions too. Surfing lends itself well to expression. It might also be the way we present ourselves, our personality, or our fashion. There are many ways we can express ourselves.

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Control. Woman freeing birds

Control

Are you driven by a need for control?

How much control over the details of your life do you actually have?

Sometimes parts of our lives can seem very much out of our control. For some, this can be a very uncomfortable feeling. We might feel an intense urge to regain control and get things back on track. But the truth is that our lives are never really in our control. If we can learn to accept that, we will be much more likely to work with that reality and not constantly struggle for control.

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