Perseverance: Trying Despite Obstacles


Man walking tightrope“We are all born with extraordinary powers of imagination, intelligence, feeling, intuition, spirituality, and of physical and sensory awareness. For the most part, we use only a fraction of these powers, and some not at all. Many people have not found their Element because they don’t understand their own powers…Many people have not found their Element because they don’t understand their constant potential for renewal.” (Ken Robinson)

Believing in Yourself

A few months ago I wrote about believing in yourself. I gave some examples of people who through perseverance changed their lives. I’m not suggesting that that’s an easy thing to do. But like Robinson said, we have the “constant potential for renewal.” We can re-create ourselves, strive for our goals, and achieve them through persevering. One of the first steps is to try.

Memoir examples

There are two other author’s memoirs I’ve read that stand out because of their ability to see the humour in some pretty dire and depressing circumstances. They were able to persevere despite the enormous obstacles they had to live with growing up. Both had a parent with mental health issues that made life turmultuous at the best of times.

Augusten Burroughs

Augusten Burroughs wrote 3 memoirs: Running with Scissors, Dry, and A Wolf at the Table. In Running with Scissors, he described his life as a tween and adolescent. At 12 he stopped going to school and was informally adopted by his mother’s psychiatrist and his family who were just as, or more dysfunctional than his mother. He wrote with humour about all the craziness that was going on around him and that he participated in–and somehow managed to survive. His book was later made into a movie that Brad Pitt produced.

Mary Karr

Mary Karr also wrote 3 memoirs: The Liar’s Club, Cherry, and Lit. In the first, she detailed her horrendous childhood. She wrote of her sexual abuse, her memories of her dad’s drunken rampages, her mother’s decision to burn all the family’s furniture on the front lawn, and other horrifying memories.

Like Burroughs, somehow she persevered and now lives as a professor of English literature at Syracruse University.

I have to wonder what helped these 2 people persevere. Was it their ability to see humour in their painful circumstances? Was it their ability to lose themselves in their writing? Was it their ability to play a poor hand well–i.e. their resilience?

I’d recommend both these books for inspiration on perseverance and resilience.


Only you know for sure what’s going to help you persevere–to keep on trying even when it seems hopeless. Goals are often only met through hard, hard work, through commitment to keep going, and of course with a plan.

What helps you to stick with things? How do you use the power of will, perseverance, focus, and drive to help you get what you want? What helps you to play a poor hand well? I’d love to hear your comments!