Character Building in Being Persistent

By Rickey Dale Crain

         I need to take a moment to encourage lifters and athletes to never give up. Steadfastness and desire can only be shown by that adage. Nothing can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. I have had a gym full of talented and naturally strong men and women who got bored and gave up.   

         Relentlessness in pursuit of a goal is its own reward. The world is full of educated derelicts; it is full of genius’ who are lazy and full of naturally talented bums. Only persistence and determination are omnipotent. Persistence is the iron quality of character. Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel. It is the absolutely indispensable quality that goes hand in hand with all great success in life. Very few athletes in today’s world, though perhaps bigger, faster and stronger than those of yesteryear, have this quality.
          One of the great secrets of persistence and success is to program your subconscious mind for persistence well in advance of the setbacks and disappointments that you are going to have on your upward quest toward success. Resolve in advance that you will never give up, no matter what happens. Quitting never enters the picture or thought process. When you are overwhelmed with a problem or difficulty, you do not have enough time to develop the necessary persistence to deal with the setback or disappointment. But if you plan in advance for the inevitable ups and downs of life, when they come, you will be psychologically ready. You will be prepared.
          The courage to persist in the face of adversity and disappointment is the one quality that, more than anything, will guarantee your success. Your greatest personal asset can be your willingness to persevere longer than anyone else. In fact, your persistence is a true measure of your belief in yourself and your ability to succeed.
          Remember, all of life is a test. For you to have great success, you must pass the "persistence test." And this test is often a pop quiz. It can come at any time, usually totally unexpectedly and out of left field. As was mentioned in previous chapters, you should be prepared in all aspects of training and in a contest to control what you can, as some circumstances are beyond control. Be prepared to roll with the punches. You take the persistence test whenever you are confronted with an unexpected difficulty, disappointment, setback, failure, or crisis in life. This is where you show yourself, and everyone around you, what you are truly made of.
          In the summer of 2006, I had a Total Hip Replacement. The previous years before that had seen me as a world class athlete deteriorate to something that was beyond my control. Mentally and physically I was in a downward spiral. After the operation I was determined to once again get myself into shape, both in strength and muscle endurance that, for my age and weight was among the best in the world. Even though I had encouragement from all sides, I really felt that no one really thought a 55 year old, 165 lb, total hip replacement patient could come back and squat close to 600 again. After all as my doctor pointed out, no one had ever done it. If I am nothing else, I am persistent, and in just a few short weeks, on February 18, 2008, my 55
th birthday, I will do 555 lbs (having already done 530 a few months ago). I foresee 600 to come around sometime next year. Now at that point, I will know what I can accomplish, but be smart enough to know not to push it any further, for safety sakes.

          The one inevitability in your life is recurring crisis. If you are living a busy life, you will have a crisis ever so often. In between these unavoidable crises will be a continuous succession of problems and difficulties. The more goals that you attempt to reach, the bigger your dreams, and the more determined you are to become successful, the more problems and crises you will experience. The only factor you can control is how you respond to difficulties and setbacks. The good news is that every time you respond in a positive and constructive manner, you become stronger and better and even more capable of dealing with the next problem or crisis that comes along. Eventually, you will reach a point in life where you become absolutely unstoppable. Isn’t life grand?

          As James 1:2 says, “Count it all Joy……when trials come”. You will become like a force of nature. You will become the kind of person who never quits, no matter what the difficulty. No matter what obstacle is put in your path, you will find a way to go over it, under it, around it, or through it. You will be like the Energizer Bunny in the television commercials. You will keep going and going and going.
          So what is the most difficult situation you are facing in your life today? Whatever it is, imagine that it has been sent to you at this time to teach you a valuable lesson you need to learn to be even more successful in the future. What could that lesson be? From this moment onward, always seek the valuable lesson in every setback or difficulty. You will always find it, and it will help you in your quest to live the life you truly desire. One of the very best ways to improve your level of persistence is to know where you're going and why.