Word for Wednesday: Persistence

“Sometimes, carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement.” Albert Camus

“It’s not what you start in life, it’s what you finish.” Katharine Hepburn

“Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.” James A. Michener

“No great achievement is possible without persistent work.” Bertrand Russell

Introduction: I have been very distant from writing this blog for several months, almost the entire year it would seem. And I apologize for not writing more; however, the likes of teaching one final semester, retiring after ~40 years (well, ok, 39 years, 10-11 months), and deciding to move away from Chapel Hill, took its toll on me. It was a collectively difficult time emotionally, mentally, and physically. And in every aspect and maneuver, my Parkinson’s was present, negatively influencing as much as possible in all of these activities.

But it was persistence, the reluctant sense to never give in rose to the occasion many times over the past months. This persistence fueled my fire to do one more task instead of stopping; spending time getting it done instead of becoming frustrated and ready to quit and not finish the task.

There is a doubled-edge sword sense to persistence. On one hand, persistence can provide the drive to focus, finish, and bolster your will to accomplish something. On the contrary, persistence can cause you to miss sleep, and stay unnecessarily wired, and likely, this relentless drive will undermine some part of your life. Persistence is good to have but you must be able to turn it down when necessary.

Cover Photo Image from thewinecellarinsider.com/wine-topics/

Quote image by David Mark from Pixabay

11 Replies to “Word for Wednesday: Persistence”

  1. Persistence also pays off in the healing process from major surgery. There were times I felt like giving up but knew that was really not me as I am a fighter. It paid off for me in that we saw the Surgeon Monday and now the only restriction is that I can’t lift anything over 25 lbs. Other than that I can eat, drink and consume anything I want and am even driving now. I still eat small portions but do eat three times a day and drink protein drinks frequently. The Doctors had originally told me it would be a 6-8 week recovery and I am 1 month out, so way ahead of the game. I do still get tired and usually take a nap in the afternoon which is very refreshing. Right now my activity span is about 6 hours and then I get tired. I believe that is my body telling me “take it easy” old man. Ed


    1. Ed, you were on the brink for a while, glad to hear you are progressing back to your normal health (COVID-19 is a scary virus). I can’t help but think that there must have been something from your Marine Corps. training, related to persistence, that somehow helped during this recovery. Whatever it is, just keep doing what you are doing! Frank


  2. Frank. It is remarkable ( to me) that you were able to teach at all at this point. I retired from professoring over a year ago, having had pd for 14 years at that point. The stress of teaching would exacerbate my symptoms. I loved teaching, and I think I did it well, but preparation in the interaction was too difficult. I have found a substitute call him which is leading a discussion of my zoom support group once a month. I have consciously tried to learn to take it easy after a very ambitious career as a university professor.


    1. Stress is definitely an enhancer of PD symptoms. For me, It became the path of least resistance. For the last three years of work I was in a phased-retirement plan, where I was at 50% effort. And one makes a decision to perform research or to teach. The bigger stressor for me was maintaining an active laboratory research group (I.e., funded and able to support lab group salaries, which I had done for >35 years), whereas the stress from teaching was much less. But I do understand your point about the stress from teaching. Interestingly, I found teaching through a Zoom-based system to be less stressful than an in-person lecture. I also hear your point about trying to take it easy, because I do understand my 40 years of research and teaching are over. I have plans that are slowly coming into view. Thanks for writing, your points are well-taken.


  3. In the ultra world the phrase RFP is common. Relentless Forward Pursuit.

    Just today my massage therapist said ” You feel like a different person. Your muscles and flexibility feel so different than six months ago when you started. You felt stiff as a board then”

    RFP team RFP


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