Thursday, 16 April 2015

In praise of determined, intelligent persistence

"Wisdom is the most general of sciences," observed Aristotle, "since it requires man to know principles and to follow them. Prudence, on the other hand, is a virtue concerned with the particulars of human action. Prudent is the man who can tell, at the same time, what is the best and what is feasible for him."

The rational approach

The rational approach to dealing with personal deficiencies and bad luck starts and ends with reality. Cards are not evenly distributed in the game of life. Expecting others to compensate you for present or past trouble is unlikely to improve your situation. If anything, pity and compassion will paralyse you. What to do then? In my view, these four are the steps that one should follow:

First, remember your uniqueness. You are unique in your genetic characteristics and personal circumstances. Do not compare yourself with others. Irrational comparisons bring nothing but misery.

Second, do not remain passive. Take action. Discard unrealistic expectations and figure out how to make the best of your situation. Look for practical solutions. Assess different alternatives. Make a plan and implement it consistently.

The chosen path

Third, make a vow to persist until you find the way. Realize that, more often than not, focused long-term activity is able to counterbalance personal deficiencies, major obstacles, and even tragedy. Keep on advancing on your chosen path and don't look back.

Fourth, keep your peace of mind, even if things don't work as you would like. If you look around, you will find plenty of examples of people who have succeeded despite overwhelming burdens. Maintain your serenity and trust the principle of cause and effect. There is no guarantee of success, but intelligent persistence has proven to work more often than not.

For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living


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