Perseverance in the face of adversity is one of six attributes of courage. When the going gets tough, how many of us would like to give up? If we’re honest, the answer is everyone wants to.
Last week in my blog about courage I showcased TiTi Ladette. I felt she was courageous in her fight against drug addiction because she persevered in the face of the extreme difficulty she faced. When she slipped back into old habits, she kept on fighting until she came out on top.
In my novel, the heroine, Maddie, faces many adversities. I tried to portray her realistically as she struggles to deal with the misfortunes life throws at her. At times she behaves all too humanly, and her behavior is less than admirable.
Poking around the internet, I found a video about Kayla Montgomery. It appealed to me because she shares some traits with my heroine. Like my character, Kayla is a runner. Also like my character, there is someone who helps her face the challenge that is so overwhelming it could make her give up. For Kayla this is her coach. For my character, it is the character named Zac.
Want more examples of perseverance in the face of adversity? From Job of the Bible in ancient times to modern day, there are countless cases. Here are some more:
Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953. Called Chomo-Lungma, or “Mother Goddess of the Land,” the summit reaches two-thirds of the way through the air of the earth’s atmosphere–at about the cruising altitude of jet airliners. Oxygen levels there are very low, temperatures are extremely cold, and weather is unpredictable and dangerous.
Anne Frank, who, with her sister, parents and four others, lived for over two years in secret and quiet to hide from the Nazis. Upon discovery, they were sent to Auschwitz, then the sisters were sent to Bergen-Belsen. They died from typhus seven months after discovery.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta who, for over fifty years, lived among the poorest of the poor. She founded the Missionaries of Charity. Its purpose was to care for, in her own words, "the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone."
Steve Jobs founded Apple when he was twenty. He was fired by Apple’s Board of Directors when he was thirty, but went on to found NeXT, a software company, and Pixar, the company that produces animated movies.
Lastly, I’ll mention J.K. Rowling. When she wrote the first Harry Potter book she was going through a divorce and living in a tiny flat with her daughter. Rowling was surviving on government subsidies, and her mother had just passed away from multiple sclerosis. The book was rejected by twelve different publishers. Even Bloomsbury, the small publishing house that finally purchased Rowling’s manuscript, told the author to “get a day job.”
Even though you may not have climbed Mt Everest, I'd love to hear about the adversities you've faced. Please feel free to leave a comment!