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What do we mean by perseverance and does it mean we have to hustle?

May 17, 2020

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“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” 

⁠You’ve likely seen this quote from Steve Jobs floating around social, especially if you’re in the online business space. I also have it saved in an Evernote folder with other inspirational quotes that I like to revisit from time to time, whenver I need a bit of a pep talk.

And whenver I see this quote, which seems to happen when I’m feeling a bit lie giving up, I always find myself thinking, “YES, just persevere!”

But I wonder how many of us equate perseverance to running ourselves into the ground: overworking, hustling for our worth, forgoing sleep and healthy habits (which happens to include rest)—all so we can feel like we’ve “made it” and can call ourselves successful.

I don’t think it’s a secret that we have a current entrepreneurial culture that gives you a badge of honor for working harder and sleeping less, something that Arianna Huffington has taken on personally.

And the truth is? I’ve tried all of that. And through that personal experience, I’ve realized that I don’t want that badge of entrepreneurial honor.

Because I agree with Arianna: I don’t think we can be our brightest, move creative, most giving selves if we’re overworked, sleep-deprived, and hustling for our worth.

⁠Instead, I want to build a healthy, sustainable life that includes running a successful business. ⁠

So, I started wondering about this idea of perseverance and whether we can persevere without overworking.

So, being the English major that I once was, I did some research and looked up the definition of perseverance, which is defined as “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition; steadfastness.”⁠

If we think about perseverance this way, can we remain steadfast while not running ourselves into the ground?⁠

Absolutely! And I think we’d likely do it better if we didn’t overwork ourselves. ⁠

So, yes, let’s persevere. Let’s not give up when things get difficult. Let’s find healthy and sustainable ways to continue working toward our goals. But let’s NOT equate perseverance to overworking.

I actually vote we forget that badge of honor altogether.⁠ It’ll likely be better for us all.

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