I had a co-worker once, at an agency I worked for in San Francisco, who taught me about the art of perseverance. Michael was given to epigrams, and would often toss them out with perfect dramatic timing so that they hung in the space he’d just occupied; as he stepped off the elevator, or as he passed by the door to my office. Most of his wisdom dealt with handling disappointment, rejection, and loss, and with the inevitable despair that accompanies them. He had been through a difficult divorce and yet he showed up each day with an aura of cheerful determination about him, as if he’d grown tired at the thought of long-term enmity with anyone and was resolved to spread as much good will as he could throughout his day. He had a photograph of Winston Churchill in his office with Churchill’s ubiquitous quote about never giving up (that may have been the first place I ever saw it), and while this was long before I went through my own divorce and subsequent emotional struggle, I’m quite sure that during that time, I was often motivated by remembrances of Michael’s optimism and resolve. I wish I could introduce him to some of my friends.
It does backfire, sometimes, though, tenacity…a lack of imaginative faith, or a tendency toward rumination and regret can really muddy up those blue skies. It’s infuriating, isn’t it? I can work so hard toward a particular goal, invest my mind, time, resources, and heart in something I believe so enormously in, and yet I still get derailed by people so unhappy in their own lives that they feel the need to try to edit mine. It’s like a trapdoor in the pursuit of happiness.
I remain undeterred. I’m building this business into something I’m so proud of. I’m living my life in a way that I hope my son can be proud of. I’m here for my friends. I bear responsibility for my own actions. I never never never give up.