On Being Persistent


Let me tell you 2 stories that have happened to me lately.


The first story happened just before Christmas, when I was on my way from Kenya to my parents' house. I had just arrived in Frankfurt airport and had to catch a train for the last part of the journey. Because of the holidays, train tickets were entirely sold out - I was lucky enough and had bought one in advance. Unfortunately, the plane was late and I basically had zero time to get to the train station. But persistent as I am, I ran like a madman with my 35kg of luggage across the entire airport und caught my train in the very last second.


Ok, now listen to the second story. I have recently moved from Cambridge to Berlin. I was determined to take my bicycle with me on the plane. And then everything went wrong. My taxi to the train station was 30 minutes late, I missed my train and had to take a taxi for the entire way, the airline sent me to the wrong counter, the promised "bicycle-wrapping-service" didn't exist... So in the end of the day, I had to leave my bike at the airport -R.I.P. beloved bicycle.


So what's the common thing in both stories? Apart from me running around with a lot of luggage? In both cases I had the choice between taking it easy and being persistent. And in both cases I decided to be persistent. I ran after my train in Frankfurt and I did everything I can to take my bicycle with me to Berlin. The outcome was pretty different though. In one case, I was lucky enough to catch my train. In the other case, I did not only lose my bike at the airport, but I also spent more than100 pound for the bulk-luggage fee and for the taxi. 


The reason why I told these 2 stories is that they made me wonder about the consequences of being persistent. There is the saying "never give in". But in my case, I realised that being stubborn and sticking to your initially decision can also be pretty costly. And there are actually a lot of moments, in which you face that kind of decision.


Take relationships. When your partner has left you, you have the choice between accepting it and fighting for the partner. If you're lucky, you might get the partner back. But you might also look pretty desperate and clingy for running after him. It's similar with jobs. Pushing hard to get the job can look like real interest in the company and shed a positive light on you. But the company might also get the impression that you have no other options and you're a pretty bad catch.


In the bottom line, I learnt that my stubborn character helped me to achieve a lot of things, but it also made me look pretty unteachable and unreasonable in other moments. And basically I'm still trying to find the right balance between fighting and giving in...


What are your own experiences around being persistent?


(Photo: https://unsplash.com) 

Comments: 2 (Discussion closed)
  • #1

    Ravi (Saturday, 21 March 2015 23:45)

    I can't comment on the relationship thingy...but in all other circumstances...there should always be a plan B, a plan C and even a plan D ;) (specially when one is trying to do something out of the ordinary..like carrying a bike with oneself on a plane). :)

    But yeah, one has to balance on when one should be persistent and when one should give up for the easier option.

  • #2

    vick (Friday, 27 March 2015 13:06)

    Persistent as a word is not enough for me as an action. How you highlight persistent and connect it with stubborness makes me wonder the difference, trying a choice of a certain decision doesn't make one stubborn, it is simply believing that the choice is right and persuing the thought is not the damned end.
    Believing in your choice and going for it several times doesn't make one stubborn, persistent to me means being with my choice unless otherwise eg when i get another one and decide to drop the initial one.
    Between balancing when to drop the choice action and not depends on a persons' shrewdness to see the whole point in whater decision they make, sometimes depending on the decision one take, it can make you feel as empty as hell or as rejuvinated as a new flower, we have to always understand despite the result, what we have tried or done, is part of growth and nothing other than that, appreciating ourselves in that moment is the big door, the real persistence, knowledge and wisdom in persuasion.
    Few thoughts as it relates to me.