Torres column: Persistence can help you get what you want
When I was young I wasted my time playing video games for hours. I could play all day and night. I loved challenging games. I liked games that have different levels and quests to accomplish. One of the reasons I played all day is because I would not stop until I defeated the game. No matter how many times I got defeated in the game I would try it again and again until I won. Video games did not add value to my life in any way, but I discovered that I have a useful trait.
In Mexico I was a public transportation driver. I started at 17 years old. I learned how to drive when I was 16. I come from a very poor family. We barely could bring food to the table. We had no money for a bicycle let alone a car.
I started to hang out with people who work driving public transportation vans. When they were not on the road, I would beg them to teach me how to drive every time. They would always say no, and they called me annoying or stubborn, often in a mean way. When they did this, I felt rejected and mistreated. However, something inside me told me not to stop. Finally one day, some of them gave up and let me try. That was the beginning of my driving experience, and this is how I learned to drive.
The reason I could play video games for so many hours and enjoy it was because there was a challenge involved, and I have a virtue that I used when playing video games: persistence. I would not stop no matter how many times the game defeated me. This is also why I learned how to drive at an early age when the possibility to learn was minimal.
Life continued, and I noticed that many people don’t like my persistence because it is annoying. I let my persistence go for a while, and during that time I did not achieve anything meaningful in my life. At 28 years old I got into learning again, and I started to study. I found out that my persistence is what got me what I wanted. Therefore, I continue being persistent even if other people don’t like it. However, this time I needed to be smart by applying my persistence toward meaningful acts. This is how many people became successful in their lives. I read about Silvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Thomas Edison and others who are part of our history, especially Mother Teresa. I read her story, saw her documentary and found out how persistent she was about getting people to support her cause.
For me, being “annoying” or “stubborn” is a virtue. Persistence shows that you really want what you are being persistent about. Persistence means that you won’t stop until you achieve your goal. Persistence is the mother of all disciplines. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge one has if there is persistence to succeed. Persistence is only for serious people who are willing to be rejected, get many “nos” and fail many times.
I have been persistent in my career, and I am proud of it. It has helped me achieve many of my goals. Also, I think about the mistakes I made by not being persistent. “If only I had tried one more time,” “if only I would have had one more chance,” “If only I would have stayed longer,” “If only I could try it again.”
The other day, I was hiking and saw an ant pulling an insect bigger than itself. I stopped and contemplated him. The ant had many obstacles to overcome to take the insect to his refuge. The ant philosophy is very simple. They don’t stop no matter the obstacles. They get to their destination with their reward. If there is something blocking their path, they go up, left, right under and wherever it takes to get past it. What a great philosophy to learn from.
Persistence is one virtue I can tell has helped me get so far in my life. I have applied it everywhere in my life where I want to achieve anything, and it works.
Don’t be afraid of being rejected. If you really want to achieve your goal or dream, don’t stop until you get it. You will regret not trying, but you will not regret being persistent.
Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs and author of the books “Lose Weight Permanently” and “Finding Genuine Happiness.” His column appears on the second Monday of the month.
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