What is perseverance? How do I attain it?
When you are watching a movie you are enjoying, do you ask how should I persevere in watching it to the end? On the contrary, there is an immense urge and energy in you to finish the movie till the end. If you are doing some work which you love doing, don’t you get lost in it? Don’t you feel that there should be no disturbance, no interference between you and the work? Do you need to put any effort to persevere in such a work? If you have just returned after some tiring work to your home, and you see a fire burning in your house, do you think of persevering to put out the fire or you just, simply act immediately?
So from where does the notion of perseverance come? Doesn’t it come from the fact that we are doing things in life which we don’t like doing, or which do not constitute a crisis to our existence? In both these two cases – love and crisis – there is no need to persevere. A life of perseverance is a life of effort, struggle and conflict which ultimately exhausts our brains and makes us into mechanical robots.
The problem is that the current society trains us to be robots. It does not teach or encourage work for the sake of love. Apart from this, the society has invented this huge industrial machine, which makes humans do work, simply not essential to life and living. A certain amount of physical comfort is necessary but our modern life has gone much beyond fulfillment of basic needs. We are doing mindless automation, our lives are kept uselessly busy doing dehumanizing tasks. A person in an office is just sitting and filling data throughout his life or operating a machine doing the same repetitive work for years together. Because the work is not essential and because our work is not intrinsically meaningful, we try to seek pleasure outside work in mind dulling entertainment. And then comes the question of perseverance. I have to force myself to do work because I have to somehow fit into this society and earn my livelihood.
The problem therefore is not of perseverance. The problem is that of finding what one loves doing, finding a work which gives meaning to one’s life. But you see this is very difficult. We don’t do work according to what we love doing. We do work because of the status, power, position or recognition it gives me. I might be very interested in doing woodworking but my parents want me to do engineering because that is a respectable work in society. I may be interested in cooking or gardening but I am pursuing software work because it gives me more money.
It’s true that the way our society is organized today, it would be easier for one to earn a decent living by doing a software job rather than woodworking or gardening. But if I want to live a life of freedom, I am not going to give up just because there are challenges. Moreover, I might earn more money and security by doing a software job, but then by doing such work, by going against my love, by persevering and pushing in my job, my mind gets weary and distorted. I lose the joy and meaning of life. Realizing this, I decide to take the road less traveled. I decide to follow what I love doing rather than what is considered respectable or which gives more money. When I do that, I take a risk. A mind which has compromised on love and doing work for security has very little energy; it has to push and persevere. But a mind which is doing what it loves, and has taken a risk, is on fire. Certainly life is not going to be easy but it shall be a life of passion, discovery and learning. It’s security is not in money – though that will come too – but in it’s intelligence.
This mind does not need to persevere, all it’s cylinders would be firing 24/7.
Image from vintag.es