Mark Patterson, a dear friend of mine, recently read my April 4th blog entry (“Purpose, Perseverance, Patience: Are You an Oak Tree or an Onion?”) and asked me to elaborate on the difference between “patience” and “perseverance.”
Perseverance is the forward or upward motion of a subject in the face of resistance. Perseverance pertains to motion and resistance. Imagine a seed that falls in a sidewalk crack. It takes time and perseverance, so to speak, for the seed to sprout and fight its way up towards light. A certain level of “tenacity” is required to squeeze the tiny, but ever growing, leaves through the small sidewalk fissure. Perseverance pertains to overcoming resistance. Tenacity describes the seed that shoots its leaves through the small cracks in the hardened cement.
Patience is related to, yet different than, perseverance. Patience is the subject waiting against the backdrop of time. Patience is about enduring time. Patience pertains to stillness. Patience relates to clock or calendar. Patience complements perseverance. Patience can be viewed as perseverance in terms of temporal resistance. Patience and perseverance are two sides of the same coin.
Perseverance is about breaking through obstacles. A persevering character is a powerful one. Patience is about waiting for the right moment when the right sand grain drops in the hourglass of time. A patient character is a refined one. Two beautiful virtues worth embracing and cultivating.
Patience and perseverance. Perseverance and patience.