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There is one hardy quality that is substantially underemphasised; it’s called persistence – a powerful trait sold short. Truthfully, you know you can do away with some extra tenacity, right? If you don’t grasp precisely what I purport by persistence, it is your capacity to press on with a course of action in spite of strain and opposition. If truth be told, is there a more betraying mark of singular character than your ability to show determination with things that clamour for courage and tenacity when the longing to relent is exceptionally irresistible? That sensible proverb is ever pertinent, “Constancy is the mark of virtue.” By a lack of endurance, you sell yourself short, by desisting forbearance, you take the leisurely course and come to naught. Sure, the easy course is approachable and well off, but what merit does it requite? Nothing neighboring valour and noble-mindedness.
The Mark of Virtue
In contrast, if in the face of austerity, you conjure up bravery and face the impending burden with unmoved poise and dig out something intuitive. Specifically, the knowledge that what you call ‘hardship’ and ‘pain’ is unavoidably crucial to your unfolding might, and there is no necessity for a means to elude it. It begs the question: is suffering really contemptible as it is auspicious? If by your disposition to bear it, it has proved advantageous, isn’t your appetite to escape it sterile and vain? It seems to me so. This is an insupportable veracity to timid cowards. They recoil from privation, they banish the reward of moral strength and spirit and have a latent aversion to all things unpleasant. Cowards are dead still, paralysed by idiocy. Great men forge ahead, but remain unshaken by virtue of unity. There is, nevertheless, a corollary to the principle; the good accorded is not invariably the good you thirst for, but the good you conceivably stand in need of.
Desire and Demand
Repeatedly, what you require and what you desire are contrastive. In fact, if you are stripped of truth, the odds are stacked against you. For a melodious stability between desire and demand, an integral temperament is of the essence. If such a nature has not been fostered, acclimatize yourself to things you resist and require. If something fruitful kindles your resistance, dig beneath the surface and you will unravel the truth. Naturally, you will infer a sense of hostility towards this undertaking. Your opening judgement already persuaded you; maybe the time is inappropriate or the mood disagreeable. All this bigotry is an exposition of your shrinking reluctance to assault reality. Look after your reason when empty yet cogent impressions attempt to pollute your judgement; unjustified, jaundiced and erroneously reassuring – irrational biases are uncooperative, they win over the idiotic but come to grief with the wise. When clarity is lost, you cling to faulty logic, as you mistakenly lead yourself down a road of self-deception.
Resist and Persist
The Stoics were champions of persistence, they considered it a determining quality in man. In Epictetus’ Discourses, there are two words of honour; resist and persist. Resistance is the ability to withhold capitulation, persistence the ability to continue the course. The spirit of man is coalesced by this exemplary fusion of self-control. If you reach freedom by a firm hand, you will discern that abstaining from indulgence and pressing on with a sturdy incentive will extricate you from enslavement. If you’ve met the effects of intemperance, you know the revulsion of surplus – it leaves you desensitized and befuddled by mayhem. When lack of self-control proves vain, discipline is the only sensible antidote to affliction.
The Pursuit of Meaning
Mastery over restraint is mastery over tenacity – to govern your desires and command, you not only desist superfluity but also follow through with it. It is not your needs that unnerve you, but your impetuous desires. Extreme abundance is needless for sufficient maintenance – in reality, you desire ample in pursuit of pleasure and decadence, not meaningful repletion. The more pampered and disfigured, the less satisfied by sufficiency, as you continually demand more than what’s needed to pacify your urges. You are clasped by intemperance, disconcerted by an alluring snare, and coerced into devouring an inexhaustible amount of unpalatable delights. In the hands of the bastard, fulfilling pleasures rapidly grow into deplorable vices. The depraved sabotage beauty by weakness, their abandon renders them incapable of wallowing in true bliss – their lack of bearing chips away the soul of things. When decadence is perpetuated to its edge, it dismantles your psyche – you are swimming in a pool of affliction, sorrow, sin and depletion.
Hold the sensible way: saturate your life with meaning by forming a vision; a noble aim that cuts across your present self. Your holy grail should pose a threat, but your ambition should provoke audacity. If your aims don’t bully you, enlarge them. Let their ominousness be the power source by which you set alight your breath of life, upholding it in your actions. The way of truth is skywards; a triumph over aversion and opposition. Trust that you, with all your infirmities and vulnerabilities, could be greater than who you are today. If you forget who you could be, you will go on breathing a counterfeit existence – a dire squandering of possibility. A surfeit of uncertainty yields to passivity, not resilience; to timidity, not bravery. The weak are afflicted; both by the preservation of unhappiness and by their reluctance to undergo the inevitable burdens to rectify their poor circumstance. Who you are and who you could be are far apart; but if you go through the necessary trials in pursuit of your higher ideal, you will indisputably flourish – time is your rival, and aspiration your ally. Even when you are reduced to ashes, your bravery in the face of hardship is worth your while.