What We Can Learn From Nature’s Persistence

Article posted in: Lifestyle

This week is all about the power of persistence, which the dictionary defines as “firm and obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.” Difficulty or opposition can come in a variety of forms. If you’re on a weight loss program, they can take the shape of people around you who aren’t as supportive as they can or should be in helping you reach your goals. They can come in the form of old habits or behaviors, which can be very hard to break. And they can come in the form of attitudes toward yourself, attitudes that maybe make you think you’re not strong enough to reach your goals, or that you don’t deserve to get to where you want to be. 

We like to spend as much time as we can outdoors. Nature has a lot to teach us about everything, but for the purposes of our talks this week, it can teach us an awful lot about the value of persistence. The world looks the way it does because it’s been shaped by natural forces, some of them working so slowly that if were to go back in time 100 years to the stream down the street from your house, its banks would look exactly like they do now. But go back 500, 1,000 or 10,000 years ago, and things will look a lot different.

Here are a few examples of beautiful things that have changed or been created as a result of the forces of nature quietly, persistently working on them. There’s magic in them, and an important lesson for us all: Keep at it and watch the changes come.

  • Glaciers: Have you ever seen footage of an iceberg breaking off a glacier and splashing into the ocean? Well, the ice currently on the face of the glaciers in Glacier Bay, Alaska fell to earth as snow more than 200 years ago, and is only now making its way to the sea, compressed into ice by the power of time.
  • Redwoods: The General Sherman sequoia tree, located in California’s Sequoia National Park, is as high as a 27-story building, and 17 men stretching out their arms could just about reach around its base. The tree contains enough wood to build 100 houses. It’s 4,000 years old. And it’s alive.
  • Mississippi Delta: The Mississippi River Delta, a huge, 3-million acre area of land at the mouth of the great river, didn’t exist just 7,000 years ago. But by carrying sediment from upstream, the river created a vast area of land, now home to New Orleans.

When you multiply time by effort, you get result. So you might not always drop a pound a week. But if you stay with it, you too will be a natural phenomenon.