Monday, March 8, 2010

Does Persistence Make You Brilliant?


“My strength lies solely in my tenacity.”

Louis Pasteur


Louis Pasteur had a lot more going for him than his persistence. He was a brilliant chemist who was one of the founders of microbiology, and he made major breakthroughs in the field of germ-caused disease. His name is a household word because he invented pasteurization, a way to prevent milk from causing sickness.

But he said the secret to reaching his goals was his determination, not his intellect or his creativity. So be it.

I’ve stuck with things long after they ceased to be beneficial. I have persisted in unhealthy relationships, destructive drug and alcohol use, and stinking thinking, as it’s called in some circles. I was either determined to make them work or unable to stop engaging in them.

But I’ve learned how to curb that stubbornness, and it isn’t because I became strong. Instead, I teamed up with God, and I was willing to be transformed. God laid his grace on me. It takes a daily decision on my part to accept his grace.

Thanks to that spiritual relationship, I can use my tenacity to do good things. I get work accomplished. I participate in a healthy marriage. I research and make discoveries about life. I can resolve to not engage in unhealthy behavior, and succeed for the most part.

This past weekend, tenacity helped me learn about earthquakes. I studied plate tectonics, the magnitude, energy, and intensity scales, data from the U.S. Geological Survey and international agencies. Then I wrote a 1500-word article explaining earthquakes for my local magazine. We had a 6.5 quake here six years ago, and it made the town sensitive to the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.

Tenacity helped me put aside distractions and focus on the work. It’s a challenge to explain complicated information in simple terms. It’s also a lot of fun. But other pleasures had to be postponed. I didn’t get to blog much this past weekend, so I have catching up to do.

How does tenacity fit into your life? Is your persistence a force for good, or for ill?


*****

19 comments:

Kim A. said...

I'm like you. I am stubborn and it was running amuck for a long time. I can now dedicate my strong will to positive things. It is easier for me to let go now since I don't like being in pain! I like the word tenacious..it sounds positive.

namaste

Magpie said...

This is funny. Just yesterday I was thinking about tenacity...maybe I didn't use that exact word in my mind, but it's what I was thinking about. I was pondering on how I have often worked myself to the point of being sick because I won't give up until something is done. But it has served me well also.

Tracy said...

LOL. My husband calls my tenacity "stubbornness". But I am a Capricorn so if you believe those things then "tenacity" is second nature to me. Personally, I think the greatest rewards come from the things that require the most effort.

Brian Miller said...

and then we have a 6.0 quake in turkey...crazy stuff.

tenacity tempered with wisdom...sometimes we can get so caught up in the chase we can lose other things, but marry the two.

nsiyer said...

Good learning for me.Being more tenacious, probably. Thanks.

TechnoBabe said...

For me, the key in this post is the word "willing". That is what I struggled with for such a long time. In order for me to be healthy and use the tools I found in recovery, I am willing to give it to God. And in doing that, I have found new directions for my life and new ways to use my energy. I actually accomplish things now, and find closure in things that are complete.

Kristin H. said...

This is a good one, Chris.

It brings to mind Pam's blog, Sobriety is Exhausting. I found that tenacity is key in recovery and many days can feel quite laborious.

However, this tenacity will pay off ten fold "if we are painstaking about this phase of our development." :)

Monkey Man said...

I have to temper my tenacity so it doesn't become obsession. We both know obsession can be harmful.

Hope said...

I was born premature and my grandma always told me that when she saw me in the incubator that I had a determined look on my face. I like to think I still have it. I like what Brian said about tenacy tempered with wisdom.

Titanium said...

As with most things, tenacity is both my downfall and my uprising.

No mediocrity, here, though. :)

RNSANE said...

I have a lot of tenacity, Chris, and it has served me in this three weeks of stress and pain in dealing with my mother's illness and hospitalization. At least, she is now in a good skilled nursing facility and I will fly home on Wed night. It was good to have my two youngest sons and their girls here this weekend and I am so glad my brother and his wife moved back to the Atlanta area in Dec. Having him near my mother's nursing home takes a lot off my mind!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Both-I can get fixated on the unimportant but I can also see something through. Balance is everything.

Steve E said...

Maybe I'd consider adding discernment to persistence. Of course, discernment is a gift. So there is already a problem.

I AM persistent, thought regardless, or IRregardless--grin!

Judy Sheldon-Walker said...

I love that word and you definitely highlighted it well in your post.

Garnet said...

Now I've developed a bit of tenacity, I am reaping the career rewards. On the other hand, I've watched more tenacious family members pursue dreams for 30 years despite no sign of success, and I think tenacity might be a curse for them. So I vote for it in moderation.

Syd said...

I would say that I have been very tenacious and determined in life. It has gotten me where I am. And I have come through some rough patches in my marriage and life because I persisted and was determined.

Steve E said...

Chris, I sure like Kristin' comment, she wrote: However, this tenacity will pay off ten fold "if we are painstaking about this phase of our development." :)

Quoted from our Big Book, bottom p83

RIGHT ON!

Karen said...

Tenacity has served me well; so has knowing when to give.

Secretia said...

Self tenacity is essential to learning and expansion of our world. You have it, you use it wisely, you are a cool person!

secretia

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