Tenacity: The Greatest Gift?

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure; the process is its own reward.” ~Amelia Earhart

There’s barely anything to add to this very sound advice. I have seen this to be true over and over and over in my life. Most of the people I know who fail (and as a professor, I have to deal with far too many who fail), do so because they lacked tenacity.

The ones who fail are the ones who quit. They quit coming to class, quit thinking about their work, quit trying. These are the ones that break my heart, because I know they were capable of success, they truly were. But they lacked tenacity.

I often wonder if parents have stopped teaching their children the value of tenacity. When mom and dad make everything better at the first sign of failure, they are teaching a terrible lesson from the kindest of motives.

This world of instant gratification doesn’t help. I know too many people who quit at the slightest bump in the road, the slightest difficulty.  Even trying to get people to understand the idea of long term goals attained through years of hard work can be difficult. I know because I try.

My mother used to call this quality “stick-to-it-ivity,” and it was one of the virtues she extolled. She had other names for it: hard work, persistence, paying your dues. But every goal I ever reached in life came down to sheer tenacity, and every successful person I know says the same thing.

How can we foster tenacity in our children? Students? Selves? I know it’s one of the greatest gifts my family gave me, and I see a terrible need to pass it on.


About maggiec

Educator, writer, world traveler, bibliophile, theater devotee, cat lover, mother of an actor, adopted auntie to hundreds. Spreading love (and literacy), one day at a time.
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