The ability to stick to a task or project until completion is a valuable trait in a world where many tasks are difficult and don’t go smoothly the first time around. Thomas Edison is said to have tried literally thousands of materials for the filament of the electric light bulb before hitting on carbonized cotton thread as the proper material. How much longer would humans have toiled in darkness had it not been for his dogged persistence? Indeed, it could be argued that civilization would not be possible without this virtue. Perseverance is undoubtedly a useful virtue, but we must be careful that we don’t fall into perseveration, the knee-jerk repetition of a particular response, even when that response is not working. So, we should be smart in our persistence and keep at it, but don’t continue “beating our head against the wall” when our approach is not working. We should be willing to modify our approach and think about what is required to solve our problem. And remember that in some areas of life, such as working with people, patience and persistence are especially called for. Recall that when Jesus was asked how many times we should forgive our brother who has sinned against us, He is effectively saying that we should never stop forgiving.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”
R.S.V. Matthew 18:21-22
Source: Metro Creative Connection
In his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Carnegie gives some very simple and straightforward advice on making friends, namely, “Become genuinely interested in other people.” One easy way to do this is to ask people questions about their interests and concerns. These questions should go beyond superficial questions about their jobs or their education, or how their families are doing, and instead should strive to get to the more interesting kernel of their affairs. A good question about someone’s profession might ask what motivated them to go into their field, or what sort of interesting developments are happening in their field today. People love to talk about themselves and their interests, and by talking less about ourselves and inquiring more about others, we help to build a genuine interest in them. We might find that other people really do have something interesting to tell us. Ralph Waldo Emerson is reputed to have said that “Every man I meet is in some way my superior; and in that I can learn from him.” Whether Emerson actually said this or not, the sentiment is certainly one we all should take to heart. We should listen to our friends and neighbors, and perhaps even to our enemies, and by taking a genuine interest in their lives and their concerns we might just learn a thing or two. We will certainly gain their friendship and affection.
Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of a man does not work the righteousness of God.
R.S.V James 1:19-20