Perseverance and heroism

“Perseverance is courage in action.”


Fortitudo, by Sandro Botticelli
Fortitudo, by Sandro Botticelli

What is courage? the dictionary tells me that it means the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty or pain. Who in their right mind would actively choose to face either of those? I don’t think anyone wants pain, but I know that I (and many other people) enjoy a good challenge. For me, one of the most satisfying parts of life is to succeed at something truly difficult. Why? I think it’s the sense of accomplishing what someone says can’t be done.


I think the amazing thing about courage is that you often don’t know you have it except in retrospect. No one knows how long a difficult situation is likely going to last until it’s over. For those who fight debilitating physical, mental, or emotional pain, they have no idea when it will end– but somehow they keep going until it passes. During this year’s Olympic games, I watch these athletes who are no different from anyone else except that they have trained one more day, endured one more injury, and struggled back one more time than other people.


Courage in action reminds me of the following:


A fellow blogger, Work the Dream, who fights debilitating pain and disease to write words of hope and inspiration.


My students who battle unimaginable odds to gain enough skills to beat poverty.


A close friend who battles his own demons every day to bring hope and light to other people.


My mom, who always finds the strength and the resources, no matter what, to help someone in need.



These people are all heroes in their own worlds. They make life brighter by their existence, even if just one person is inspired by their courage.  Mind you, this is by no means an all-inclusive or exhaustive list, only the heroes that cross my mind this evening. As I face my own challenges, these are the heroes who inspire me to keep striving, keep trying, and keep smiling, if for no other reason than to share light and warmth to one more person.


These heroes, the ones that persevere despite all odds, are the reason other people find courage.


Who is the hero in your life who inspires you and helps you find the strength to try once more? I encourage you to tell them how they inspire you, for you will give them the perseverance to continue being your hero.





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