Dedicant Path ADF Virtues – Perseverance

28 12 2013

ADF defines Perseverance as “drive; the motivation to pursue goals even when that pursuit becomes difficult.”

The dictionary defines it as –

1) Persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

These definitions of perseverance are very similar and accurately reflect the definition in my opinion. Perseverance is having a goal and pursuing it despite the challenges that one faces. It is not giving up when things become hard or difficult. It is having determination and purpose. It is doing things even when we don’t enjoy them. It is living for a higher purpose than simply pleasure seeking and being disciplined enough to keep to that. It is all about attitude. When I think of someone who is persevering, I think of a sportsman who trains day after day to become the best, or the athlete who injures themselves on the track but keeps running anyway, through the pain, because finishing the race is the important goal for them. I think of the businessman who is passionate about an idea and, despite getting turned down by many banks, he keeps searching for someone to invest in his business. I think of the person in ill health who commits themselves to a strict diet and exercise regime to turn their life around. I think of the person who takes hundreds of driving lessons and fails to pass many times, but keeps taking the test until they succeed.

To persevere one needs to have clear goals, a determined and patient attitude and a belief in one’s ability to overcome all obstacles. But like all other virtues, Perseverance is the mean, its in between laziness and stubbornness, and there is a fine line between these. Perseverance becomes stubbornness when one does something to look good, out of pride or arrogance rather than because it is right. Perseverance means one works hard, puts in 100% effort and never, ever gives up. ADF values excellence, the ancient Greeks saw excellence of character, arete, as vital to living a flourishing life and I think this is why Perseverance is such an important virtue. Without perseverance, developing a character of excellence is impossible. Without perseverance, one will not put in the effort to complete aspects of the Dedicant Path course that one needs to in order to pass e.g meditation. Without perseverance, little is ever achieved.

Cultures like the ancient Celts and Norse would have valued Perseverance highly. To stay fit for fighting, to keep going through harsh winters, in the face of a dangerous environment where death was an everyday occurrence, they would have persevered. They also told many stories of heroes who often had to persevere through trials in order to achieve their goals. Just like them, we too are inspired by tales of perseverance in the face of large obstacles and we hold up those who do overcome as our modern heroes. It is therefore very important to exemplify this virtue in all aspects of our lives.

ADF. Our Own Druidry: An Introduction to Ár nDraíocht Féin and the Druid Path. Tucson: ADF Publishing, 2009

Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press.