Perseverance is being able to conquer all hardships and stand face up no matter how tough a situation you have to go through is. Indicatively, the online Oxford Dictionaries define perseverance as “ persistence in doing something despite difficulty” (Oxford University Press), which also gives a satisfying definition to my life’s path as of now.
Living a normal and happy family life and then being forced to live on the streets from one day to the other, due to various family issues, can become a devastating milestone in one’s life. In fact, it could as well be the very last phase in their life, if they decide to surrender to it. Fortunately, after experiencing the life of a homeless person for some time, I found the courage and strength to gather my thoughts, gain back my dreams and decide to step out of that situation no matter what. Being able to keep on dreaming for a better and brighter future was a real blessing given to as part of my family’s legacy. To me, the easy road was to simply give in and be a fatalist; yet, that wouldn’t take me anywhere high and that perception of things kept me going.
For that reason, I thought I would join the army and have proudly been serving my country for the last fifteen years now. It is widely known that life in the army is no walk in the park and that one needs to go through hardships and concrete their character with inner strength, among others skills. Dealing with superiors, some of whom are clearly enjoying putting you down to satisfy their superiority or even inferiority complexes, on a daily basis could easily break a person if they don’t have a steel will and defense mechanisms. Personally, each day is a new beginning and every morning sets a new start that shows me the way to better things. Remembering the painful past or sticking to past conditions or situations only draws you back from achieving your goals in life and this is the motto that accompanied me my entire life. If perseverance is persistence in doing something despite difficulty, as mentioned earlier, then my life is a sheer example of such.
According to Michael D. Matthews and Dennis R. Kelly from the United States Military Academy, West Point, and other researchers, perseverance, alongside with passion for long-term goals, is also defined as a non-cognitive trait and is analyzed in Psychology circles for its correlation with an individual’s success (Matthews et. al, 2005). Based on their findings, perseverance and achieving difficult goals entails not only talent, but also “ the sustained and focused application of talent over time” (Matthews et. al, 2005), which can portray the way I have been living my life up to this minute.
I was particularly drawn by something I read from William James, who wrote that “ Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. Our fires are damped, our drafts are checked. We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental resources [. . ]. men the world over possess amounts of resource, which only exceptional individuals push to their extremes of use. (William James, 1907, pp. 322–323). Ever after reading this quote, my life in the army has progressed with great determination and strong will to use my mental resources the best possible way and become one of those “ exceptional individuals” that push to their extremes of use.
As a matter of fact, I have indeed tried to push to my extremes of my mental resources, if one takes into consideration my deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan that counts five times already. Maliciousness and hardship were part of my everyday life and most of my army colleagues never returned a second time. There were many things that could make me feel overwhelmed by negative feelings, but my positive attitude helped me cope with any difficulty and steel my character.
I am currently selected by my superiors for another deployment that also includes a great amount of adversity, yet, my gained experience and maturity will become my great companions for one more time. Having learnt not to give up or give in, my life is definitely an example of perseverance and given the obstacles and great misfortunes that have come my way and have been out casted by me, one can clearly say that my success as of now and my positive stance in life is a result of perseverance and passion for long-term goals, just like Matthews and Kelly found during their research.
I take pride in managing to escape any negative emotions and achieving in pursuing my goals in life, while staying on the positive side, when others could as well have taken a downfall with most likely unfortunate endings.
If perseverance is the “ continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition”(Merriam-Webster), then I am certainly an example of an individual that has been nurtured with it.
James, W. (1907, March 1). The energies of men. Science, 25, 321–332.
Matthews, M. et. al. (2005). “ PERSONALITY PROCESSES AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES: Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals”.
Merriam-Webster. Dictionary: Perseverance. N. d. < http://www. merriam-webster. com/dictionary/perseverance>
Oxford University Press (2013). Oxford Dictionaries: Perseverance.