This weekend I was taught an important lesson in perseverance – by a six year old.
My life seems to be full of new activities at the moment. I have course designs to work on, not a new skill in itself, but I am looking at ways to build in technology. I want to create remote content, video resources and digital hangouts for delegates. This is a challenging area of development for me and is taking me a long way out of my comfort zone. It would be really easy to give up and do things the way I always have in the past, especially as these changes may be challenging for my delegates too.
Beyond work I am learning Tai Chi. I really want to master the form and I know that this will take years of perseverance and hard work. But it is hard to make the time to practice. It is challenging to keep on failing at the same point, to discover that, even when you think you have a movement approximately right, one hand is still the wrong way up.
Over the weekend I got to hang out with my six year old granddaughter. We went to the play park with friends and after racing around the swings and slides with the other children she tried the monkey bars. Having recently managed to swing across the monkey bars at her local park she approached with confidence, but these were different. These weren’t solid bars, they were handles on the end of ropes so that they swung as she did. (They probably have a name but, if they do, I have no idea what it is!)
These handles were just out of her reach so she applied some problem solving skills but, despite balancing on a nearby slack wire and a convenient tree stump, she still couldn’t reach. Eventually she asked for help and I gave her the leg up she needed to reach. She fell off. I gave her a leg up again and she fell off – again. On one occasion she caught her foot on the slack wire as she fell and she face planted (thank goodness for rubberised play surfaces). She went off to play on the climbing frame for a while but I could see her eyeing up the monkey bars. She came back and tried again. She must have tried 20 times or more. She still hadn’t mastered this skill by time we left but I know that she will next time, or the time after that…
On the way home I told her that I was impressed and she told me that perseverance is one of her school values. I told her that perseverance is one of my values too.
I have been asked many times why I always need to challenge myself, why I am not kinder to myself, as if giving up (or not starting in the first place) is a kindness. For me, it is not. I cannot explain the joy I feel when I achieve something that I found difficult, the sheer pleasure of learning a new skill and seeing the results is worth the hours of pain and the occasional face plant.
This is why I will make time to practice Tai Chi. This is why I will build technology into my workshops. However, I will also remember the importance of that initial leg up. So I will keep going to Tai Chi class to learn more and get feedback on my progress and I will seek a mentor to help with the technology.
If perseverance is one of your values and you would like a leg up or some feedback on your progress, please get in touch by clicking the button below.
Thanks for reading.