“Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance; yonder palace was raised by single stones, yet you see its height and spaciousness. He that shall walk with vigor three hours a day will pass in seven years a space equal to the circumference of the globe.”
English writer Samuel Johnson’s quote serves as a great reminder to us that perseverance above even physical strength is how we create the great works of our time. I do realize that he refers to strength overall but I believe the perseverance is a state of mind and to me the mental strength needed to ensure that perseverance never wavers as we always have to be mentally tough. This requires a hefty dose of self management as it pertains to controlling our impulses, being self disciplined and self motivated.
We’ve all heard the phrase that “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither was anything else we have ever sought out to do, whether it was personally or professionally. Everything we have been able to do in our life, the challenges we have all had to overcome can be attributed to our own perseverance. Samuel Johnson makes reference to a palace in all of its beauty in grace, where we see its height and spaciousness, it is a finished product. However it all started with the act of single stones coming together and being built upon to great such a structure. The amount of minutes, hours and days, perhaps even years that went into achieving this is actually really amazing. How often do we when we visit historical buildings or museums do we take the time to think about all the work that must have gone into building that structure? Not often enough I don’t think. A palace that comes to mind for me is the Taj Mahal. I have never actually seen it in person but just looking at pictures of it, I am in awe of what it must have took for those that built such a beautiful landmark. This took 20 years to build by the way. 20 years. That is truly perseverance.
Like the Taj Mahal, we see perseverance in building companies, procedures and policies that will better promote the products trying to be promoted. It is however, the perseverance in building ourselves into who we want to become in life is what I believe will be our greatest work. There are certain things from childhood to adulthood that we have persevered through in order to be who we are right now. If we didn’t continue to study to pass that certain test, work hard in the gym to make that team or start at the very bottom of the corporate ladder and work our way up, we’d never reach our full potential. We are building our own Taj Mahal in a way. We are building our own structure laying brick by brick through the experiences we encounter. The finished product will not be completed until we are no longer here on earth and I believe that those that are still here after we are gone will have that finished product of who we were engrained within their minds forever. No matter what life throws at us we need to believe in ourselves, in our ability to overcome anything that comes our way. It is the process over the product that is key in maintaining that high level of perseverance.
What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards managing yourself better?