Not much of a choice is it?
When I had this question recently, it came up during a “sit” – 15 minutes of silence and stillness. So afterwards, I thought about all the dreams and aspirations I’d had growing up. In fact, there were only a few I could actually remember… be a rock star (like Annie Lennox or Marianne Faithful), a famous actor (Glenn Close or Meryl Streep would do), or a rich and famous person – maybe a worldly famous writer or painter (Ann Frank was my girlhood hero)….. oh yeah, I forgot… I also wanted to be a train driver or a wool classer for some years too LOL 🙂
But these ideas had perished decades ago… leaving only the Ghost of Aspirations Past behind to haunt me. (apologies to Charles Dickens)
And haunt me they do. The older I get, the more I have to wrack my brain to even unveil those childish visions. So many ‘what if’s’ and ‘maybe’s’ hanging around. There’s no going back, but you can’t UN-know what you already know.
You can try to bury them, forget them… Over and over… but they’ll come back. Like the bamboo we tried to get rid of in the front garden of our home in Sydney, back in the 80′s. Seriously, this stuff would survive a nuclear holocaust. Cockroaches and bamboo…. that’s what would be left.
And, just when we thought it had gone… there it is AGAIN. This time, coming up through the bitumen in the road outside the house!!!
As far as persistence goes, bamboo gets 10/10, 100%, A+++ for NEVER EVER giving up.
So, what does bamboo have in common with four Jamaicans in a bath? (No this is not a riddle from my Christmas BonBon hahaha)
Okay, yes… this word…. “P E R S I S T E N C E”
I mean, IMAGINE the thought of four guys who had never even seen snow, actually competing in the Winter Olympics!!!! Crazy, yes. But once the THOUGHT was there, they couldn’t UN-know it. And it ate away at them, because they had a BURNING, white-hot desire to not only compete, but to achieve in an Olympic competition.
I loved watching the movie Cool Runnings again. It documents this whimsical, wonderful story of the journey these four young men take with one burnt-out cynical, skeptical coach. To think they achieved their dream is miraculous.
Or is it?
Do you ever look at those movies and inspirational videos and think, “Well that’s okay for them, but it’s not for me. I could never do that!”
Well okay, let’s break it down shall we? Whenever you had that thought, you probably never realised there are 4 Essential Elements of Persistence in each and every story.
Each main character in Cool Runnings has a major purpose in life. All different but equally powerful. Some of their reasons “why” they harbor such deep desires only show up as the movie unfolds. One wants to follow in his father’s Olympian footsteps, one wants nothing more but to leave Jamaica and become rich and famous, one wants to crawl out from under his father’s control, and the fourth? Well, he is a born helper. He knows the plan cannot work without his input, and his selflessness, humour and faith lift the whole team in the end.
And of course there’s the coach – with his “stinking thinking” about himself after being stripped of his own Olympic Gold Medals after cheating. His major purpose developed into absolving his past and being seen as a man of integrity and vision once again.
So the first essential element of Persistence is having a DEFINITE MAJOR PURPOSE in life with a burning desire to bring it to fruition.
The second essential element is to have a DEFINITE PLAN. The Jamaican Bobsled team had an incredible work ethic as they set about training in Jamaica, and later in Calgary. Their coach was a flawed human being, but they put their faith in him and followed his teaching to the letter, despite being the laughing stock of the world press and fellow competitors.
Which brings me to the third essential element of Persistence…. it’s having a mind tightly closed to negativity. There was constant negativity from both without and within. Each member of the team and the coach wavering and wanting to give up at different times. So, you have to have a PMA – a Positive Mental Attitude 🙂
And finally the forth essential element – having an Alliance of people who not only believe in your mission but support and have total faith in you. This develops in the story, because at first they only have each other to lean on. Gradually the alliance builds as they get support from unlikely sources, eventually earning the support and admiration of the sporting world as they are invited back to the next Winter Olympics four years hence.
Not to mention the support of all of Jamaica, which also developed throughout the film, especially when the team stopped trying to be what they were not… and then becoming themselves – Jamaicans!!!!
Yep, there’s a lot to be said for persistence!!
What does all this prove? Persistence is not a trait or a characteristic. Persistence is a most misunderstood word. It’s a word of ACTION. Action that contains all four essential elements. Miss one, and it’s like baking a cake without the eggs… or the flour…. or the milk…
So, my own Ghost of Aspirations Past learned a lot of things from this movie besides seeing the glaring presence of the four essential ingredients of Persistence.
People are always afraid of what’s different.
Carry your vision with you always (Yul Brynner’s photo of Buckingham Palace).
Focus… Have your own style… Follow your dreams… and,
Peace be the Journey ❤
And that Gold Medal they didn’t win? As the Coach says in the end, “If you’re not enough without a Gold Medal, you’ll never be enough with it”.
And most of all, they kept their word, and achieved their DEFINITE MAJOR PURPOSE.
Always keep your word!