Lessons of 2019 – May.
This is the fifth part in a new blog-series about the lessons I’ve learned this year. Read the full into in the January post, but basically I’m sharing the stand-out lessons from the last year in the hope that they will inspire and encourage others, and I also want to urge you all to be intentional about capturing and retaining the lessons that will make you a better person. Here is May’s lesson…
May’s Lesson: Ambition is the path to success; persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.
Like many of my lessons I’m better at recording them than remembering where I came across them. I can’t remember who said this, but I like it and agree with it. In a world where people are obsessed with success, one of its greatest secrets is often overlooked. Think about any discussion of success – can you remember the last time the word ‘persistence’ came up? But the reality is that it’s absolutely crucial. No matter what it is you’re trying to achieve, persistence is a vital ingredient to success.
Most of us hear about the importance of vision or ambition in articulating what success you want, but very rarely do we hear about the importance of persistence in getting from the vision to the reality. I love this quote for how it pictures success as a road you have to travel down. Vision is where you start – you can’t be successful unless you first define what you want and where it lies. Without vision or ambition you’ll have no idea where you’re trying to get to.
But it’s not enough just to know where you want to go, to have a path marked out for getting there. You have to actually get there and walk down that road. Ambition without application will just be an aspiration in your heart. There will be lots of snares and setbacks and distractions along the way, lots of reasons to give up or start again. Persistence is how you overcome these things. Sure, you need skill, knowledge and collaboration from others. You also need luck (or blessing, depending on your worldview), but without persistence – sheer stickability – you won’t get far.
The most successful people are often not the most talented, but the most dogged, the most determined. Those who keep going, no matter what, and who don’t give up no matter how much discouragement and opposition they have to wade through.
Persistence might not be a pretty vehicle – by nature it’ll be pretty beaten up by the time you arrive – but it’s the only thing that’s going to get you to your destination. The Biblical word is perseverance – the essential characteristic of faithful men and women who follow God come what may. This is what it says in Hebrews 12:1-2:
“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
We all have a race marked out for us, we all need perseverance to run it, and we all need Jesus’ help to stay the course – keeping our eyes on Him is what will power our persistence.
It’s good to have ambition, but don’t forget the persistence. When you’re making plans for 2020, allow time for vision-casting – where you want to get to – but make sure you also factor in the persistence – the resolve and personal investment it’s going to take to get you there. Wherever you’re going, whatever good you’re trying to do, I hope you have the persistence to get there.
January’s Lesson: Don’t Worry About Tomorrow, God is Already There.
February’s Lesson: Inconsistent Parents Raise Insecure Children.
March’s Lesson: Thank God for what He is going to do, even though you don’t know how He is going to do it.
April’s Lesson: Dream Big but Start Small.
Come back tomorrow for June’s Lesson. Even better, subscribe to my blog by email and never miss another post.