Perseverance: The severance factor

I rejoice with my state Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, as well as Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and their families for beating COVID 19. May the grace of God continue to preserve you both for the purpose for which He brought you to the helm of affairs in the two states.

Congratulations Your Excellencies!

By its dictionary definition, ‘perseverance’ can be described as the capacity to continue “a course of action even in the face of difficulties or with little or no chance of success”. It is about swimming against the tide when the currents look stronger against you than for you. Other words synonymous with it are, ‘persistence’, ‘to continue’, ‘endurance’. Without it, there can be no sustainable success. The road to success is not often straight. It is filled with turns and twists. Nonetheless, perseverance is about understanding that the bends in the road are not the end of the road.

In perseverance, the outcome to be achieved is of greater value and significance to the fulfillment of the one involved than the pains of the process. The motivation for perseverance is always the preferred outcome, not the discomfort. Optimism is the drive of perseverance. It simply looks beyond the darkness of the tunnel and sees the light at its end. It comes from the conviction that if we do not give up, soon enough we will achieve what our heart desires.

Perseverance is determined by seven principal things. The first is a desire fueled by a compelling vision of a future that is a clearly preferred alternative to the less fulfilling status quo. Then comes a time of clearly defining what it is you want to achieve. This is done by reducing the overall vision to clearly enunciated goals that can inspire your resolve. When the desire to achieve the vision or goal becomes strong enough, it engenders a decision to pursue it.  A decision is a push beyond the mere expression of a desire or intentions. Desires may generate intentions but only decisions create events. Thereafter comes the determination to follow through with whatever course of action needs to be followed to actualize the vision. This is characterized by a steely resolve to succeed, no matter the challenges, or die trying. This determination is what produces the required drive which manifests in an infectious passion and attendant enthusiasm that is patently undeniable and which attracts attention by friends and foes alike. The evident passion produces the stick-to-it doggedness that takes obstacles for granted and in its stride as part of the path. I have recently been watching some videos of lions taking on animals several times their size, jumping on the prey and with dogged perseverance and lots of potentially dissuading episodes, bringing them down, reducing animals as huge as a buffalo to mere lunch!

However, this piece is not about perseverance. It probes into something deeper which is very easy to ignore. As important as the six factors enumerated above are, none of them is strong enough to make a man succeed significantly unless the seventh factor is in place. I am sure by now you are wondering what it is.

Check the spelling of perseverance. There is another word tucked in that spelling. The word ‘severance’. It is a critical ingredient in the mix of success. Without severance, there can be no perseverance and without perseverance, it is foolhardy to expect success!

Severance is defined as “ending a connection or relationship by cutting or slicing”. This definition implies a separation that is drastic and with the connotation of surgery! The pursuit of anything worthwhile in life will also entail a drastic separation from anything or anyone that may be capable of distraction or discouraging one’s pursuit. To persevere successfully, you must learn to sever yourself from every potential source of distraction, no matter how attractive they may be. You cannot sustain a forward motion while keeping your eyes on the rear-view mirror!

If you plan to succeed significantly in life, there are three things you must sever yourself from completely. The first area where you need drastic surgery is your relationship circle. Sometime ago on this page, I did an article on the need to have a relationship detox. You will need to identify the disempowering relationships that currently exist in your life and which have absolutely no bearing to your defined desired destination. There are two types of relationship in our lives. They are empowering relationships which speed up our trajectory and disempowering relationships which are distracting and can actually debar us from achieving our loftiest aspirations. When you are surrounded by the latter group of people, you are in dangerous company and you need to have a conversation with your feet.

You must also sever yourself from referenced failure experiences that only remind you of your shortcomings. Every achiever must develop selective amnesia. Our memory is like a bank or a computer hardware. The good thing about that is that we can always choose what files we save in it.

The third thing every achiever must sever himself from would be toxic environments that fuel limitations rather than potentials.  Such environments are characterized by prevalent negativity evidenced in conversations that dampen enthusiasm. Mind-bending music and movies that reinforce the victim, grasshopper mindset which are damaging to a good self-esteem are constituents of the cocktail served in such environments. Unchecked, these environments begin to poison your thoughts and words.

These debilitating factors call our capacity to question, cripple our potentials, despise our achievements and discount our successes. When these things happen, we fail to recognize and celebrate the little successes on the way to the big goal, oblivious of the fact that the process is as important as the outcome it was designed to achieve.

Life abhors a vacuum. So, what do you do after you have severed yourself from these things that are potentially crippling? You need to practice replacement therapy. Develop new, empowering relationships. Find and court the company of people who have already traveled the road you plan to travel on. Request that they mentor you to become who you desire to be. Your current dream is already someone’s reality. When anyone is speaking the language of your frustration, move away from them and seek the company of those who can connect with and speak the language of your future. Deploy your memory to remembering the memorable, positive things that have happened to you hitherto. Invest significantly on your mind through reading inspiring books like biographies of people who succeeded against all odds. Buy inspirational DVDs and CDs of messages and personal development programmes that expand your horizon and make your mind go on an odyssey of possibilities each time you watch or listen to them. The more you empower your mind, the more you enhance your possibilities and develop the mental muscles you need to confront and overcome any and every adversity that confronts you as you persevere on your way to your goal!

So, every time you hear the word ‘perseverance’, remember its Siamese twin ‘severance’!

Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!



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