Part 3: Persevering through situations

August 1, 2022

Have you heard the saying “If at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again?”

Perhaps you have heard others say “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop”.

These sayings capture the essence of perseverance; however, what does perseverance mean and why is it so important to cultivate a preserving trait?

Perseverance refers to our ability to pursue a goal or passion over time, and stick with it if we encounter obstacles or setbacks, therefore even if life gets hard, perseverance pushes us to keep trying.

Perseverance drives us to reach our goals, improve our skills, and performance through persistent effort. It is a form of purposefulness and goal-orientation, which requires long-term commitment and discipline. It is often fuelled by a passion to achieve a goal, overcome a situation or win at a challenging task such as passing a driving test or a tricky presentation.

Here is why it’s important to cultivate a trait of perseverance as we move through life and life’s experiences.

Perseverance linked to good mental health

Perseverance encompasses a mix of motivation, determination, grit, passion, resilience, and drive.
Motivation, grit, and resilience are all linked to having a positive state of mental health. Our ability to persevere through a situation when feelings of depression, anxiety symptoms, or anxiousness come up.

Depression, anxiety, and panic disorders are common mental health symptoms that can be chronic and debilitating. Often the experience leaves you stuck in a cycle of negative thought patterns and behaviours that can make you feel worse.

However, there are some positives because a 2019 research study in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology examined over 3,000 adults and showed that people who displayed more perseverance were at lower risk of depression, anxiousness, and anxiety symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, American Psychological Association Relation between cognitive and behavioural strategies and future change in common mental health problems across 18 years.

What does this tell us? When a person chooses to concentrate on resilience and perseverance, this could improve their mental health, by allowing themselves to remain determined to overcome challenges and difficult situations. The benefit of this would then be having a more positive outlook on life, with lowered feelings of anxiousness, lower episodes of depression, and possibly fewer symptoms of anxiety.

Therefore, perseverance can positively support our mental health, because people who nurture a strong perseverance trait often see a problem and have an attitude of “I can find something positive, even in the worst situations” or “when I encounter problems, I don’t give up until I solve them”.  When we do push through some of these challenges we face, this results in a positive frame of mind, feeling of success, happiness, fulfilment, and contentment.

Perseverance encourages resilience and adaptability

The saying, "try and try again" is about resilience as well as perseverance.

The difference between perseverance and resilience is perseverance is continuing toward a goal no matter what, while resilience is the ability to bounce back from challenges, however, we need resilience to persevere.

Those who are more determined can be innovative in achieving their goals or overcoming their challenges. They may be able to think outside the box to pursue their goals. Also, they are able to be resilient admitting when an idea isn't working and they'll be able to try something new. This adaptability benefits nearly every area of a person's life making them more resilient.

To summarise perseverance is good, it is a positive trait to cultivate and it is linked to improved positive mental health as well as encouraging resilience and the ability to adapt in life.

We’ve explored the good things about perseverance, but on the other hand, it is important to understand and know when to let go of something which no longer serves you and move forward. We have explored this in an earlier article, which can be found here.

The key is to have a mix of perseverance, and resilience but equally understand when to quit situations in life and learn how to move forward from quitting a situation.  

We hope that from reading our 3 part series on quitting, you’ve benefited from tools and tips to help with episodes of anxiousness, feelings of anxiousness, and depression.

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: Suad Kamardeen, Unsplash