ADF Dedicant Path: Nine Virtues (Perseverance)
Our Own Druidry defines perseverance as,
drive; the motivation to pursue goals even when that pursuit becomes difficult.
Merriam-Webster defines perseverance as,
continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.
When I think of perseverance, this quote from Norman Vincent immediately comes to mind:
Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.
It is almost ironic to think that the benefits of perseverance do not lie exclusively in acquisition of the goal, especially since the work done reaching it is assumed to be unpleasant. If we persevere to complete a college degree or win a marathon, for example, what benefit is there to those who fail? And what even constitutes failure in terms of perseverance? Is the student who willfully drops out of school more guilty of lacking perseverance than the runner who loses despite his or her best efforts? Do either of them “land among the stars?”
To persevere is to reach for a goal for as long as that goal is important to the one reaching. Much like the oath-keeping component of integrity, perseverance loses its quality as a virtue when a goal is sought out of stubborness rather than for the right reasons. The student who sets out to earn a college degree may discover a better opportunity that does not require a college education.
To “land among the stars” is to recognize the benefits of work completed on the way to a goal never met. The marathon runner may have lost the race, but they are stronger both mentally and physically for having undergone the experience. The student’s education may not be necessary for their new opportunity, but it may prove useful nonetheless. Time spent reaching a goal is time wasted only if we chose to see it as such.