Keep on keeping on.

Dear Pogue,

Once again you’ve got one over on me!

First you devised a way to get me to blog and here we are, Letters To Pogue, and everyone knows your name but me, I’m still waiting in the wings for my 5 minutes of fame.

Now you’ve got me running!

How come? Well last November I was moderately exercising and you rang. “There’s a 10km race next February. Do you want to join me?” In a moment that bordered on lunacy I answered “Yes” and you entered me!

So in November I started running. I thought I was running 5 miles. Dream on. I had foolishly acquired a device that tracks, measures and analysis my performance. What a fool! 5 miles was 3 kms it reassured me with a smile. But I persisted 4 days a week. In December I increased to 7 kms which my device assured me still wasn’t 5 miles. “Man, really?” it asked in that superior tone that technology adopts.

There is no magic to achievement. It’s really about hard work, choices and persistence.

Michelle Obama

Well here we are in April and yesterday I ran 10 miles, that’s 16kms. The device feigned boredom and commented, “Took you long enough”. I’m really entering a relationship crisis with the thing!

So we didn’t run the race because Covid had other ideas but it’s now taking place in September and I’m thinking, maybe, just maybe, I’ll up my game and change my entry from 10kms to a half marathon. I mean, if I run 3 times a week with one long run in the mix I can gradually increase. Add a mile a month? Build into it. Make my device proud of me.

And here’s the thing. I don’t think anything I’ve done in my life has come easy. Not that I’m complaining. There have been times when my temper has got the better of me and I’ve ranted in frustration…usually at failing again. But I get back up and go on. No more so than when I learnt to snowboard. I came late to snowboarding judging by the teenagers and twenty somethings I learnt with. Off they went and down I went, on my butt. Over and over. It hurt, physically and my pride. So on the afternoons I took myself, alone, back to the mountain and came down, over and over.

Or learning to ride my motorcycle. Again I came late to motorcycling (seems to be the story of my life!) and it took 15 months from start to finally passing the test. It’s a hard test in 3 parts but I would get up early on the weekends and go out and practice and practice. Hour on hour on my own. And I got there through practice and persistence (and a little “screw you” attitude).

Some people think I’m clever. I’m not. No more than anyone else. Someone writes a paper in a day, I take 3 and burn the midnight oil. But having set out on the path I’m able to persist. Step by step. Isn’t that how mountains are climbed? Persistence. Maybe I’ve discovered my superpower?

Persistence is probably the single most common quality of high achievers. They simply refuse to give up.

Jack Canfield

I know that you are familiar with persistence and, setting your sights on the summit you begin to walk. You would tell me you were an average runner but I would retort, “Average amongst the elite performers” and that makes you a scary dude to a lot of people.

So here’s the thing. I believe we are far more able to achieve things that some are in awe of, and achieve these through persistence more than ability. We both know gifted individuals who basically throw away their talent because they never practice, refuse to set a goal, saw persistence as a quality “not for the cool kids” that should be shunned. But persistence is a super quality. Couple that with patience and a sprinkling of single mindedness, and there are a lot of mountains that will have to surrender their summits.

Life is a long game. I continually come up against people who want things “Now”. Instant gratification seems to be the zeitgeist, the life spirit of the age. And if they can’t have it “Now”(!), well they move to something else, often with a little display of temper on the way. Then find themselves thinking, if I can’t have something “Now” what value does it really have? Instant gratification has an ugly side in that it reduces the value of everything to what I perceive in the moment. If I look up the mountain and then fly to the summit in 30 minutes how much appreciation, how much sense of achievement do I have compared with the person who looks up the mountain and then climbs for 6 days to gain the same view? Which of us has experienced the mountain, has the sense of achievement and satisfaction. Which one has added to their portfolio of life experiences?

So don’t ever shun the task, the experience that requires persistence because that’s where the real reward is found. In knowing you have visited your limits and limitations over and over and pushed them back. Step by step. Day by day.

Persistence and endurance will make you omnipotent.

Casey Neistat

Felt the pain and frustration? Sat alone and gathered your thoughts, shed a tear or two, kicked out and picked yourself up and moved forward once more? In time we arrive, we achieve, we overcome and experience the sense of achievement, reward. Our confidence has grown, our characters enlarged and we know very little is beyond us if we will persist.

Hmmm, think I’ll run that half marathon and then…who knows.

Yours, off for a run,

Wic.

4 thoughts on “Keep on keeping on.

  1. Now you have stepped on my toes with this keeping on toward the goal and all those sort of things we use to, well, reach a goal. I applaud you for keeping on. Somewhere in this past year I seem to have lost the drive to persist in most things. Often I use the excuse that I am just getting old and that is the reason for the not being persistent. Well, tomorrow is another day , another chance to walk, write, send a card, etc. Actually, I just need to get off my but and do anything. Keep walking.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wise Hearted, you’re up early, or is it late? I’m not sure but I don’t normally wake to comments from you😎
      Can I suggest you find a “mountain “ be it a metaphorical mountain and take a step towards it. Make sure it’s something that, when you achieve it, will make you smile . We all need some fun in our lives. And “old”? You’re right, that’s an excuse. Persist and surprise yourself. I’m sure you still have a summit or two in you😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You are indeed a persister, Wic, and a multi-faceted one at that! It seems that Pogue has inherited some of that good character DNA.

    These days, I’m actually trying to “keep off,” not ” keep on.” I have been running the uphill marathon of life for, oh, the last four decades at a sprinter’s pace. Not recommended. And when I got to my most recent summit, life showed me another mountain and I sort of crumpled into a heap and said very softly, “I can’t.”

    So, these are the days of my undoing, my unlearning, my uncovery. It’s a very weird space for me. Nevertheless, I want to glean all I can so that I may walk down the mountain with some of the patient sagacity of your Wise Hearted blog friend. As you say, step by step, day by day, moment by ever present moment.

    Your sense of being “tardy to the party” seems to impel you to take fun risks with awesome results! I’ve got two fun goals for these days and summer: 1) learn to juggle; 2) learn to Stand Up Paddle Board. Certainly much less challenging than your “late in life” new endeavors, and with some appreciate for the metaphorical implications of both–a worthy pursuit, as you indicated to Wise Hearted.

    Like

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