Resilience means persevering

  • Published
  • By Chaplain Aaron Klaves
  • 452 AMW Chaplain's Office
On December 31, 1879 Thomas Edison made the first public demonstration of a long-lasting incandescent light bulb in Menlo Park New Jersey. The townspeople who had witnessed the event were quite amazed at observing a source of light that could be turned on and off by simply throwing a switch--they had never seen anything like it before.

Undoubtedly, many of them would have been more astonished if they had known that Edison had tried literally thousands of formulas before discovering one that worked. Some who had personally known him were astounded that he kept trying after failing so many times. Of course, looking back today, we know that Edison didn't fail at all. He succeeded. In fact, the only way he could have failed at the light bulb was if, along the way in his trying, he had quit.

In today's U.S. Air Force, we hear a lot about the importance of being "fit to fight"--physically, mentally and emotionally. A word that sums it up well is being "resilient"--the ability to recover from and adjusting to the changing conditions in your life. Certainly, one of the most fundamental qualities a resilient person must develop is perseverance--not giving up despite the changing circumstances.

As a military reservist, I can't think of many traits more important than the ability to press on in spite of difficult conditions on the ground. Of course, perseverance is necessary for goal-success in battle, but also in civilian and personal life--when circumstances change or when things don't immediately go according to plan.

Let me ask: this past year, are you adjusting to changing conditions your life? My challenge for you is to remember the goals that you've set for yourself (perhaps they are physical fitness goals, or financial goals, or maybe they're a series of personal benchmarks that make up a larger target of success). Have you thought of them? Good. Now, don't give up!

The only way to realize success is to persevere and see it through despite the conditions on the ground. A quote that I often think of when I'm tempted to quit, when my conditions turn to less-than-optimal, is one spoken by Albert Einstein. Speaking on his own personal achievements in science, Einstein said, "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."

Remember, when the going gets tough, only those who persevere stay going. Hang in there and God bless!