Updated: May 10, 2019
"What do they got that I ain't got?"
We've all asked that before- about the woman in our office, the dude at the gym, the stranger at that party, our distant friend on that Instagram feed. That person who appears to effortlessly keep it all together and manage to look good doing it....REALLY REALLY GOOD...time and time and time again.
Is it genetics? Some magic pill? Or some short cut that none of us "struggle-bus people" know? What COULD it be??
The answer to this riddle is simple. It can be summed up in three syllables and it exists within each of us. It's not a matter of whether you have "it" or you don't.
It's a conscious choice inside everyone, regardless of talent, experience or capability....in one word, the not-so-secret ingredient is....
Persistence: firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. (thank you, Google Dictionary)
Persistence is a choice.
Whether you're pursuing a specific fitness goal, or seeking something less measurable, such as work-life balance or starting a meditation practice, persistence is waiting to be tapped into. The thing is, many lose patience or quit as soon as things get uncomfortable, pressure is put on, or a schedule flips. Perhaps even the classic “I've-done-enough-this-week-I'm-tired-and-deserve-a-break” Syndrome kicks in. Maybe a surprise wrench throws your nutrition plan off two days in a row, and then the excuses begin to snowball. Before you know it, any progress you had made is lost and it's back to square one.
No wonder growth is SO HARD! It can feel like a game of Chutes & Ladders. This is the case, however, with the majority of human-kind. No one is immune to these thoughts and behaviors. In moments of discomfort, we are programmed to run back to familiarity to lick our wounds. It’s called human biology.
Want to hear from more of our coaches? Check out "The Moment You Show The World Who You Really Are" from Coach Chelsea.
Discomfort is a false sign that we are in danger, when in fact, we are really just in round three of an OrangeTheory interval class.
If our goal is to EVOLVE, we must be reminded that reaching ANY new pursuit in life is likely going hurt....mentally and physically HURT. Think of it like learning to do the splits. Every time you try it, you want to push just past the point of comfortable in order to progress. Results aren't instant, but eventually you'll be flat on the floor and so far ahead of where you started.
That's what makes positive changes feel SO DAMN GOOD...because we can look back and say, "Holy smokes, I did that...that thing I wasn't sure I could do but tried anyways... I ACTUALLY DID IT!".
Isn't that so much more gratifying than another night having a drink at the dive bar with your coworkers complaining about the usual office drama? Or sitting back down on your couch for the fifth night in a row post-breakup, having a threesome with Ben & Jerry, making yourself feel worse than you already do? HELL YES, it is!
When you accept the feeling of discomfort as a moment of growth and not dangerous pain, you will change your life forever.
People make the mistake of thinking some are born with a stronger persistence muscle than others, but that's untrue. Anyone who consistently chooses to persist had to start by consciously CHOOSING to do so. And then that choice is made over and over again with each new obstacle.
Eventually persistence starts to become automatic, but it takes purposeful action to get there. Every time you choose to push through the pain points, you are retraining your neural pathways. What feels uncomfortable today can feel comfortable tomorrow. New behaviors eventually begin to take over our natural rhythm and state of being, but you have to start with making that choice.
Allow yourself to be uncomfortable. Know that pain is a signal you're on the precipice of reaching a higher level. Take small breaks, not long ones. Accept there will be new obstacles and persist despite them. Choose a new route if you must. But, don't ever quit.
Every time you quit, you're only quitting on yourself. Focus on what you're gaining in each uncomfortable moment and what will make you proud on the other side! You owe it to yourself to see who you can really be.
Persistence is the one muscle that won't ever shrink, and it can change you, mind, body and soul, if you let it.