We’ve been taught that persistence is a virtue, and it is. You ought to stick with whatever you choose to do. However, persistence alone does not create mental and emotional growth. Real growth comes from accepting and overcoming your resistance to new challenges and persisting toward your goal anyway.
I’m grateful to have had a powerful teacher when I was just 17 years old. He was my first training instructor after I enlisted in the Air Force. About two weeks into basic training, I was exhausted, homesick, and fed up with being yelled at. I requested permission to see the training instructor, whose assignment, incidentally, was the yelling I mentioned above. I went into his office, stood at attention, told him I was not suited for the military life, and I that I wanted out. He took me by surprise when he asked me to sit down and in the kindest voice possible he said, “Rausch, this is the easy part. Going through these next eight weeks will be nothing compared to what you will experience for the rest of your life. You can’t run away because it feels hard. If you run from this you’ll never learn to face the tough things in the future.”
His words hit me hard. I knew he was right. If I couldn’t face and overcome some of life’s challenges that create resistance, I would never learn their value. By the way, that was the first and last time he spoke to me in a kind voice.
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