Monday, November 15, 2010

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do...

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. - Newt Gingrich

Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there. - Josh Billings

Fall seven times, stand up eight.
- Japanese Proverb

Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.
- William James

How long should you try? Until.
- Jim Rohn

Why do we pursue the thing we do? I was asking myself that this weekend as I hobbled around with a painful blister (from my riding boots), a twisted knee (from being thrown), and a bit of a sunburn (from the unexpectedly warm weather during my ride). Aren't hobbies suppose to be enjoyable?

I have reached several points in my riding where I felt like quitting. Maybe it was no longer fun, or it consumed so much time, or it was just plain hard work. Maybe I plateaued and wasn't making any progress. But I've tried to stick with it and come out the other side.

I think one strong motivator for me is that I always regret giving up gymnastics when I was 12. I had taken lessons for years, but I had reached the point of needing to commit more to it (to move into competition level). For whatever childish reasons, I preferred to quit and spend time playing with the neighborhood kids instead. Of course, I quickly lost my flexibility and upper body strength, and by the time I realized I wanted to get back to gymnastics, it was too late to regain lost ground.

Perhaps I learned a lesson of childhood in spite of myself. Teaching dedication, perseverance, and tenacity in the face of difficulty is one of the chief aims of parents, teachers, and coaches. Maybe someone could have encouraged or pushed me to continue my training. But no one did, so when the regret of quitting hit, I realized I would have to be self-motivated in the future. So when I fall off the horse, I get back on. Not because someone is making me, but because I don't want to ever regret not giving it my all. Not because I want to be a great equestrian one day, but because I want to be the best Sarah I can be.

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