February 29


Today's Quotation:

The line between failure and success is so fine that we . . . are often on the line and do not know it.  How many a person has thrown up his or her hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience, would have achieved success.  A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.

Elbert Hubbard

Today's Meditation:

There's a fascinating story that Napoleon Hill tells about a man who bought a gold mine out west.  He sank a lot of money into mining equipment and everything else that he would need, only to have the mine run dry after a short time.  Despondent and disappointed, he sold the mine and all of his equipment to another man, who proceeded to hire a mining engineer to examine the mine.  The engineer found that a shift in the earth had caused the mountain to shift, effectively breaking the vein of ore in two--all the man had to do was dig three feet deeper, and there he found the rest of the ore--and millions of dollars from one of the richest mines around.

That story illustrates very well what Elbert's talking about here--we all have gold mines that can bring us incredible wealth in the form of friendships, job satisfaction, creative expression, or many other areas of our lives, if only we persevere when it seems like there's no hope, if we keep on keeping on when it seems like there may be little reason for us to do so.

Of course, there's much to be said for dropping something when it's obvious that it's not going to happen, or that the cost is going to exceed the value of the finished product or project by far.  If I start to run a marathon and sprain my ankle in the first mile, it wouldn't be too smart of me to run the remaining 25 miles on a sprained ankle.  Even if I've practiced the guitar for years and I'm about to give my first performance, it would be awful to go on and perform if I develop pneumonia the day of the performance.

But usually things aren't that drastic, and they don't always affect our health.  If ten publishers have turned down your manuscript, try five more--Jonathan Livingston Seagull and the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book were both turned down by over fifty publishers before they were put into print, and look at the results!  If the authors/editors had given up when most people would have, those books never would have been published, and they never would have had such a positive effect on so many people.  A little more effort, and a little more patience.  It's always worth it to try to give both, because we're worth it.

Questions to ponder:

1.  Can you think of an instance when you've wanted to give up, but you kept on trying and the results were worth it?  Is there anything in your life like that now?

2.  How do you distinguish between "not worth further effort" and "still worth a shot"?

3.  How often is "failure" truly failure?

For further thought:

When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at a rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it.  Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it--but all that had gone before.

Jacob Riis

more thoughts and ideas on perseverance



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