The Importance of Persistence
I have been of the belief for some time that persistence and consistency are far more important in achieving a desired outcome than anything else. Talent plays a role but not a role as big as we think. In fact, when it comes to our wellbeing talent plays no role at all.
Persistence, in my experience, has had the biggest impact. Getting published for example, requires a degree of talent, but mostly it comes down to your ability to fail over and over, and keep showing up. Keep tweaking, keep working, keep trying, and eventually you get published. There is no secret to that.
But let’s talk about mental health. Mental (and physical) health require consistent effort. And what is consistent effort if not persistence? If you want to be physically fit, you can’t just do one big workout and expect to be in shape tomorrow. No, it requires, daily, consistent work. It requires commitment and effort and patience. I feel exactly the same about mental health.
When you go to therapy, you don’t just go once. you go for weeks, months, years. You put in constant work in the hope that you will eventually feel better. The important part is that you keep showing up.
When you want to change your lifestyle to improve your mental health, the benefits aren’t immediate. You stop drinking. You start getting better sleep, drink water, exercise. And you don’t do this for just one day – you do it for weeks, months, years. Then you look back over your persistent effort and realize how far you’ve come. You understand that anything worth having takes responsibility and a lot of work.
We don’t all have it equal. We can’t all access healthcare that we need. But we can all do something right now to improve upon our situation. and if we do this with persistence, that improvement will manifest itself.
This may sound disheartening. We want for things to be easy, to be given. But this is not the reality of how things work. We have to keep working. We have to keep showing up, even when we don’t want to. Especially when we don’t want to. That’s where the differences are made.
My relationship with myself and with mental health changed once I realised this. No one cares enough to do the work for you. And even if they did, they can’t do it for you. Only your committed, persistent effort will turns things around. And there’s an enormous freedom in knowing that.