Today is a day I have been aiming at for almost six months. I am attempting to conquer an obstacle standing in my path – a professional actuarial exam. The preparation can be grueling, and I am ready to be done with this exam. I look forward to freeing up time to spend with my family and take care of some other responsibilities I have been putting off.
There are times during the season of studying that I wonder about continuing to take exams. Since I transitioned to my career as an actuary after 15+ years in the insurance industry, I am in a different life stage than most exam-takers. I question whether I want to work this hard and sacrifice so much. Moments certainly arise when I want to stop and give up.
On the occasions when I question myself and wonder about continuing, I have to choose to persevere. But how? How do I persevere when I just want to give up? Here are four ways:
- Trust the process. This phrase has gained cultural popularity over the past several years arising from the leadership of the Philadelphia 76ers. It is the language they use to describe their method of building an NBA-contender. I liken it to my own journey. I trust that the exam process will help shape my character and help establish the professional knowledge I need for the future. It takes patience to trust that the steps we are taking today will lead us where we want to go.
- Believe the best. It does not take much effort at all to see the negative things around us. Being pessimistic is an easy choice. However, making an effort to see the positive requires us to be intentional. We often have to apply our ingenuity to a situation to see it from other angles. Let’s look for the silver lining in every cloud. Believing the best about a situation or event will re-frame our attitude and help us to keep moving forward.
- Choices lead, feelings follow. Our feelings can be very fickle. They will lead us down some dark roads if we follow them exclusively. Using wisdom to make choices will lead us in a positive direction. As we begin moving, our feelings will be influenced by the new direction. After a challenging season, time and distance will help our feelings respond to the truth of the situation and not merely the emotions of what has occurred.
- We need someone by our side to encourage and support us. In my mind this is an absolute must! It is extremely difficult to consistently overcome obstacles without someone to encourage us. All of us need a cheerleader in their weak moments. Perseverance requires us to pick ourselves up after falling down over and over again. Having a supportive partner at your side makes that process easier and a little less painful.
Giving up merely because something is difficult is never the best choice. If we have evaluated our decisions and are convinced the path we are on is the right one, perseverance is the only option. Victory comes to those who fight through the temptation to give up and come out on the other side a changed person. I pray that the four thoughts above will help lead you to that victory.
Question: What are some ways you persevere when you are up against a challenge? What are some situations you are currently facing? What are some choices you can make today that will help you be victorious in the future? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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