My kids get this concept. They wear us down slowly with the constant and consistency of asking, nudging, suggesting, pressuring and influencing us as parents to get what they want. I love it. We learn at a young age that if, your will over time can persist its as if any resistance, particularly when related to others can be overcome.
Team Brevet gets it, in the two versions of the team in 2015 / 16. The Oarsome Foursome got it with members persisting from 1986/88 to 1992 then 1996 to reach the pinnacle at the Olympics. In 2008 Duncan Free and I persisted through major hurdle in Beijing with my back issues, but more importantly Duncan had persisted since 1994 on the National team until 2008 to reach the best result and performance of his long career. In 2012 I had the great pleasure of being in a boat with two first time Olympians in Josh Dunkley Smith and Will Lockwood when we combine with an athlete who had showed great persistence in his career.
James Chapman was finally at his third Olympics after his first as a reserve which is a gut wrenching role within a team, to be selected in a crew in 2008 but it underperformed significantly. In 2012 after those three Olympics cycles and all he persisted through was final able to achieve am awesome result with our 2012 Men’s four with Silver in London.
Persistence is the hallmark of those who continue to strive for someone long when many others give up, let go, make excuses for, and are deterred. It can also have negative impacts but today I draw attention to the greatness of persisting and tapping into this great quality which got us that ice-cream as a kid, got us that new bike, got us out of our chores, got us through injuries, failures, other peoples need to cut us down, got us through the night, through 24hr of riding, through arguments, hard training session, poor performances, through mistakes, through success and finding new challenges, through hot competition, through major life highs and lows, through all this and on to find and achieve more, go further, last longer, going faster, doing it easier, getting up again, moving on, making it happen, achieving things together, getting what you need and want, and helping other achieve too with how they persist and beat resistance.
Glory of the human spirit is to aspire and inspire. To find a way, to work together, to make the impossible possible. Glory is the experience, the journey, the striving, the experience, and like any good cliche these things have been said before and will continue to be said. Persistence beat resistance sums up how the totality of what I have seen and sometimes enjoyed and been part of and thats the glory of life, of sport, of performance and of learning. I have never really found that great things come easy, but through countless hours and loads of effort, energy, commitment some things can become easier, or appear easier. The truth is like all of us would have experienced by hanging in there an nagging for that elusive ice-cream when we eventually did achieve it, it was not just the taste of the ice-cream and the eating of the ice-cream but the deep satisfaction you made it happen. As a parent I love eventually giving into my kids but not first with out challenging them to hang in there and stick at it. Its these great quality I have felt as a kid and as an athlete, and I have seen it in my rowing career and more recent loved seeing in with a group of riders in Team Brevet.
Team Brevet Rapha Story / Team Brevet La Velocita Story from 2015 & Team Brevet in 2016 reminded how how awesome it is to be part of amazing teams and part of awesome experiences together. Last week with 12 amazing people who for 2 years have all in some way worked away at making something possible which for probably all of us was such a way out their dream or concept. Nothing can change that natural process of people who truely commit to something and are willing to see it through.
Team Brevet reminded me a lot about many different rowing teams / crews I have been part of in rowing years ago. The capacity to persist when others give up. Persist when others question if you can make it or deserve to achieve something. Persist when people try to pull you down. Persist when things get lonely, isolated and any of the acknowledgement or celebrations are so far away and so completely opposite to what the bulk of the experience or journey consists of. Persist when things fail, fall apart, unravel, and implode. To persist through all this is a great human quality and one we all have access to and often develop further as life goes on.
Persisting is a great and healthy quality and one I know way back in 2002 – 2004 was so much a big factor in why I was part of another awesome experience with James Tomkins in the Australian Men’s pair at the Athen’s Olympic games. We persisted through a great deal of highs and lows in an 8 year period.
Finally its not about a notion of not giving up. Rather its about continuing to get up. Continuing to find a way, to adjust, to adapt, to change tact, to re-orientate, and to just not fully letting it go. I have given up some many times but the difference is I often don’t let go. Hanging on, and hanging in there even by the thinnest of threads is key. You can be done but unless you are dead, you are never out. Persistence beats resistance I suggest is a powerful human quality but I also respectful share I have seen and appreciate when it is time to let it go. That is life.