Words to Love: Do Not Relax Your Courage
Consistency is something I think about a lot. As I mentioned in my post about Daniel Ricciardo and his spectacular victory in the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix (see post here), slow and steady is what will win the race. And, to translate, slow and steady equals consistency. Making the progress one step at a time. Rome, as they say, wasn’t built in day. It was built, as Hadrian said, brick by brick, my citizens.
As is my way, I have been thinking about where the word consistency comes from. Just like we learn about ourselves when we dig into our history and learn from whence our ancestors came, learning the origins of words invariably takes our understanding to a deeper realm.
Being a Latin scholar, I knew already that the English word consistence comes from the Latin consistere. The prefix con means with or together. The verb sistere is derived from the Latin verb sto which mean to stand, make, or be firm. Put it all together and what do you get. (Not bibbity-bobbity-boo.) You get the meaning of consistence. My favorite definition comes from the Century Dictionary and Encyclopedia:
Literally, a standing together; a firm union, as of the parts of a rigid body; hence, the relation of the parts or elements of a body with reference to the firmness of their connection; physical constitution
Permanence; persistence; stability
Permanence. Persistence. Stability.
When I look at those three words, PERSISTENCE stands out to me.
Do you see a similarity between consistence and persistence? The root verb for these two words is the same. Sistere derived from sto. To stand, make, or be firm.
In Latin, the prefix per- means forward or through. To persist means:
Consistence and persistence are tied together. Where consistency is a firm union, a stance you’ve decided and united your vision with, persistence is being stubborn enough to walk that stance out.
In the Bible, there’s an oft quoted scripture- even in secular circles- from Galatians 6:9:
Look at the first several words and the last few: Let us not become weary… do not give up.
In other words, stay consistent and persist. But, how do you do that?
What happens when you are weary? When all the indicators seem to point to one logical conclusion- give up? When you actually feel like giving up? What do you do?
You. Don’t. Give. Up.
You drop kick your emotions into the backseat and put the pedal to the metal. You press on. You stand. You make yourself firm in your resolve.
Consistency and persistence both deal with standing- whether it’s standing stable and unwavering or standing stubbornly through opposition.
In the Amplified translation, Galatians 6:9 translates:
Consistency and persistence are both standpoints rooted in courage. When you don’t feel like it, when you’re not seeing the desired results in the desired timeframe, when you know you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, but it’s hard and you’ve been hurt or disappointed, to persist and stay consistent takes courage.
So, how do you persist? How do you stay consistent?
Do not loosen.
Do not faint.
Do not relax your courage.
Keep in mind, none of this has anything to do with your emotions. In fact, more time than not, it’s going to go against everything your feeling.
Look at something as basic as working out. How many times do you say to yourself- even if working out is your thing- I don’t feel like it today? I’ve said it. I’m sure you have, too, dear readers.
But when you’ve decided your endgame, what you feel like doing at any given moment has no relevancy. Here are a few truths that stink:
You’re going to get weary. You’re going to get discouraged. You’re going to feel like quitting.
What separates the successes from the failures is the successes keep their endgame in mind and tell their emotions to shut up. They stay consistent and persist.
Successes do not loosen their goals because they might seem impossible. Successes don’t let discouragement detour them on their way. Successes never quit. They don’t surrender, and because they don’t, they win. They reap their desired harvest.
Day in, day out, adhere to your plan. Be consistent, even in the little things. Remember, God is in the details.
When your emotions rear their head and try to dissuade you for your course, persist. Stay on point. Cultivate that special degree of obstinacy you’ll need when obstacles arise.
And, most of all, remember one important thing. You’re being courageous.
And if you’re feeling like the Cowardly Lion right now…
...remind yourself what Winnie-the-Pooh said:
Not bad for a bear of very little brain.
So, wherever you are, tell yourself. If you’re able, say it out loud, even if you have to whisper. Let yourself hear these words:
I am braver than I believe.
I am stronger than I seem.
I am smarter than I think.
Be your own cheerleading squad. Talk yourself up. Honk your own horn. Remember who you are and how far you’ve come. Then face the future fearlessly. Do not relax your courage.