Three syllables. Four vowels. Plenty of consonants. Synonyms: constancy, doggedness, endurance, grit, indefatigability, perseverance, pluck, resolution, stamina, tenacity . Antonyms: idleness, indifference, indolence.
Grit. Endurance. These are hardscrabble words; they make me think of westerns and coal mining, the kind of noun that gets dirty and works hard, drinks plain beer out of a can and only wears Levis and T-shirts. Stamina, pluck, resolution and tenacity put me in the mind of Pippi Longstocking and Steve Jobs - quirky words for quirky people.
No matter what the words sound like or seem like, the message is the same: not stopping when things get difficult; bending, maybe, nursing wounds definitely, but never breaking and always charging back into the fray. Resilience. The ability to somehow talk yourself into getting back up, dusting back off and continuing along, maybe with a course correction, but continuing nonetheless.
This is a hard characteristic to cultivate, and I say "cultivate" because to learn persistence in the first place is hard work and requires the very thing that one is trying to acquire. It is a diabolical catch-22; one must be persistent to develop persistence. Hmmm. Circular logic, the Gordian knot. Pick your mixed metaphor.
And yet we none of us get out of here alive, so we might as well press on, yes? Hopefully with some diginity and ethical being intact; an it harm none, do what thou wilt, to quote the pagans. No sense in trampling someone to get to the end when we all backpedal once there.
In the words of Thomas Carlyle, “Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”
Let's strengthen our souls, shall we? We are now living the perennial Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times." These are certainly interesting, so let's us away, into the fray, and make something brilliant. We owe it to ourselves.