“I do not think there is any other quality so essential
to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance.
It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”
— John D Rockefeller
I was thinking about desire tonight and watched an older movie called Billy Elliot. It is a wonderful movie about a young man who eventually becomes a famous ballet dancer. He was drawn to it as a boy and he had to work very hard at doing the actual dancing, but the desire was strong in him to keep trying. Finally he got good enough to apply at the Royal Academy of Ballet, and this question was asked, and his answer was quite telling about his perseverance:
“Tutor 1: What does it feel like when you’re dancing?
Billy: Don’t know. Sorta feels good. Sorta stiff and that, but once I get going…then I like, forget everything. And… sorta disappear. Sorta disappear. Like I feel a change in my whole body. And I’ve got this fire in my body. I’m just there. Flyin’ like a bird. Like electricity. Yeah, like electricity.”
The bold italic text is mine to have that part of his answer stand out.
Many times we think persistence is all about effort–nose to the grindstone, and all that. That can work, I’m sure, but my experience with perseverance and getting through is more about desire and how that desire plays in your emotions and your thinking. In this, it has nothing at all to do with effort.
Effort is a natural result of desire because part of human nature is to move; to do; to experience participation physically, but it is not something that is required in the normal sense that we might think about effort, labor, sweat, and that four letter word, work.
What drove Billy was how it made him feel. It was desire. He wanted to do it. He was not even sure why until that question was asked, but it made him feel good to do it and he enjoyed himself so much that he got lost in it.
This kind of motivation will keep us going far longer and much more joyously than working at it ever could. So desire and the feeling about it is critical to its success.
And, it’s not about the goal or the trip toward it. Sometimes people say it is the journey, not the destination. In other words to focus on the journey and not the destination. But if you think about the Billy Elliot scenario, it isn’t about the destination or the journey, it is about the desire and the feeling. I’ve heard Esther Hicks say that it has nothing to do with effort, and now I think I understand that. So glad I watched that tonight.
If It Feels Good, Do It–And Pay Attention To That.
Spread Some Joy Today–Send someone an inspiring note today. Just for the joy of it, just in case you needed a good reason.