“Energy and Persistence conquer all things.” -Benjamin Franklin
Websters defines persistence as the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people; the state of occurring or existing beyond the usual, expected, or normal time.
Consider persistence and our prime example the tortoise. Imagine for a moment being born as a tortoise. The moments passing by as you rip and tear your way through your leathery egg shell. Using neck muscles, head movement, the egg tooth on top of your snout, and perhaps the most important quality, persistence, you steadily break free to the beckoning light of day. Is it over then? Are you rewarded for your Herculean effort? Naw! As you blink your round baby tortoise eyes, clearing the slime from them, pupils adjusting to the powerful light, you attempt an awkward step forward.
You are shocked to discover there is something large and quite cumbersome encompassing the majority of your body! What strange curse is this? What is weighing you down? Whatever it is, it seems an unfortunate and truly besetting plight. You take a few more steps, half walking-half dragging your rounded shell across the sand. Maybe the heavy apparatus will fall off if you move around enough? You keep moving- step by step; quite slowly at first. What trick of nature is this? Born with an outrageous and bulbous weight to bear you down to the earth. You walk on pausing momentairly to sniff the ground.
To the outside observer though there begins to appear a certain cadence, a slow and hampered rhythm to your plodding. Step by scaled step, claw by claw, one sturdy leg after another, you start putting distance between yourself and the crumpled remains of your egg. Hunger pangs begin to awaken primal feeding instincts deep inside you and, naturally, you actively start the search for a bite to eat letting your nose guide you.
The astute observer might notice that, as you lumber forward with each and every step, you now appear fairly steady for one so young. Remarkable. Inch after inch your persistent plodding continues. Like a soldier marching with his platoon, your strong legs keep a forward beat. As you continue on your journey you are happy indeed to find that your shell is now easily held aloft, plastron no more touching the ground. You sniff and read the wide world around.
Entering a deeper part of the forest you are confronted with bumps from jutting rocks and fallen logs. Does this slow your forward progress? Hardly. Because slow and steady are your credo. Patience, endurance, and persistence are your bywords. You simply advance. Advancing over, under, or around matters not. But you must advance. You must eat. Like a tank you press on. After smelling and walking, sniffing and tramping around steadily your sharp nostrils finally detect an item good to eat. After sniffing it several times you tear into the plant heartily, sharp beak snipping chunks off. As hungry as you are you quickly find that you cannot devour the food as fast as you’d hoped. Your small beak doesn’t allow for that. As you attempt to choke down as much as possible it takes quite a while before you have finished with just one leaf. More time is dedicated to what other creatures do easily. You endure.
As the days pass into years your experiences, like your shell, grow much larger. Your carapace and plastron are hard now and you are thankful for the clever protection and the steady lifestyle your secure, yet mobile home affords you. You enjoy your daily excursions around the forest floor even though it is inevitably tough going. Your fears are few because your shell protects you from the larger dangers and your fortitude and patience guide you consistently forward. You have learned that even when something in your path is difficult there is always, always, always a way through, over, under, or around it. You are tough. You are wise. And you will live much longer than the creatures around you. You are the embodiment of persistence.