What Does It Take To ‘Keep On Keeping On?’ By Dr Linda Berman.

23733219212_44578b7a6b_oGarin Baker – A Winter’s Afternoon [2013]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

What are some of the personal qualities that will enhance our ability to ‘keep on keeping on’?

  • Perseverance and Staying Power.

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Why do we need to persevere?

Perseverance and staying power are important aspects of coping with difficult tasks and hard times.

They are particularly relevant now, as winter descends on us and opportunities to meet others and enjoy life to the full can be limited by the pandemic.

Many of us are finding this situation has affected our mental health, and we have had to use every ounce of strength and available support in order to ‘keep on keeping on.’

“Doggedness depends on emotional traits – enthusiasm and persistence in the face of setbacks – above all else.”

Daniel Goleman

It may also be hard for those who are working from home; sometimes concentration and motivation are hard to maintain on one’s own, or with the distractions of a family.

Those who are at work, perhaps frontline staff in hospitals and schools, can find the new strictures add to an already stressful workload. Facing each day may feel like climbing an enormous mountain.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

Thomas A. Edison

“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.”

Samuel Johnson.

“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.”

Charles F. Kettering

  • Dedication and Passion.

“Life without passion would be a dull wasteland of neutrality, cut off and isolated from the richness of life itself.”

Daniel Goleman.

Do you enjoy your daily work? Is it at all fulfilling?  Without some of the small rewards that come from work satisfaction, it is difficult to persevere when things get difficult.

“When you start to do the things that you truly love, it wouldn’t matter whether it is Monday or Friday; you would be so excited to wake up each morning to work on your passions.“

Edmond Mbiaka

30366913922_d7c45a4091_oQuang Ho – Mizuna Line II [2014]. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

Passion for one’s work is a real bonus, helping us to maintain commitment and purpose, even when things are very tough.

Finding real meaning in one’s work and developing firm objectives will inspire us to keep on being creative and achieving more through our work.

Whatever kind of job we do, and all work sometimes feels mundane or boring, perhaps we can learn from the Buddhist approach, summarised in the quotations below, to help us when things feel very burdensome.

For then, even mundane tasks can become meditative and meaningful, if one is able to feel accepting inside.

Every task we have, if approached with an open attitude, can become more worthwhile and we can become more appreciative of our lot.

If we are able to really focus and concentrate on whatever we are doing, to slow down, value each moment and maintain mindful ways of thinking, even the most ordinary of work can become less boring.

“Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.” Buddha

“We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

“The feeling that any task is a nuisance will soon disappear if it is done in mindfulness.”

Thích Nhất Hạnh


Edgar Degas. Women Ironing. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Hard Work, Continued Learning and Self Discipline.

29792705266_76e8a7e827_oMichael DeVore – The Burden of Knowledge [2012] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

Marie Curie

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
Thomas A. Edison

It is true that we only achieve through hard work; there are no real shortcuts. Sometimes, when things are difficult, or we feel discouraged, it is hard to continue to keep our ‘nose to the grindstone.’

Then we may have to struggle to resist the urge to avoid or procrastinate.

However, if we are sufficiently motivated, and have the self-discipline, then the energy to focus will come from somewhere.

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The Lacemaker. Vermeer. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.”

Louis Pasteur

Those who have succeeded in their efforts, even those possessing true genius, often say that it is still hard work that got them there.

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

Albert Einstein

“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”

William Feather

  • Courage, Grace, And Faith In Oneself.

If we are true and faithful to ourselves, to our ideals, beliefs and aims in life, then we will most likely feel inspired to persevere with whatever we have chosen to dedicate ourselves to.

“Long before morning I knew that what I was seeking to discover was a thing I’d always known. That all courage was a form of constancy. That it is always himself that the coward abandoned first. After this all other betrayals come easily.”

Cormac McCarthy

With continued hard work and some past results and successes, we will also likely develop the self-esteem and confidence to know that we can succeed eventually and that what we are doing is valuable and appreciated by others.

We can then learn to be able to offer ourselves the requisite care and comfort to carry on during difficult times.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”

Mary Anne Radmacher

The following lines beautifully express the struggle to ‘keep on’ experienced by many people during the Coronavirus pandemic:

“To take one step is courageous;

to stay on the path day after day,

choosing the unknown, and facing

yet another fear, that is nothing

short of grace.”

Danna Faulds, Sangha


  •  Trust In The Process

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you … never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Trusting the process takes hope and some realistic optimism and understanding that nothing lasts forever, difficult times will pass and things will become easier.

Of course, this does not always happen, but generally, if we can wait, persevere and have patience, most clouds do have silver linings!

The Covid -19 vaccine is now just round the corner, a ‘silver lining’ at the end of a dark and tragic year.

50197451933_6ab5f488fb_oGerhard Richter – Clouds (Window) [1979]Gandalf’s Gallery.Flickr.

“Don’t push the river. It flows by itself.”

Barry Stevens.

“Press on. Obstacles are seldom the same size tomorrow as they are today.”

Robert H. Schuller

“There are no tough times, hard knocks, or challenges that aren’t laden with emeralds, rubies, and diamonds for those who see them through.”

Mike Dooley

“The best way out is always through.”

Robert Frost

5066806091_29871435e4_oElizabeth Peyton – Jarvis. Gandalf’s Gallery. Twitter.

“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”

  • Taking Time Out.

25395494803_47511c028c_oEdgar Degas – Dancers in Pink [c.1867] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.”

In order to ‘keep on keeping on,’ we need to take time out for rest and relaxation. This can sometimes be like switching off and rebooting a computer that has simply stopped.

Sometimes we need to take time to ‘reboot,’ to refresh and renew ourselves.

30030220238_b56923670b_oEdward Coley Burne-Jones – Love Among the Ruins. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“The art of love is largely the art of persistence. “
Albert Ellis

©Linda Berman

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