What is perseverance?
The point of this blog is to explain how I have come to understand the word “perseverance”, and how I have applied that to what I do with Man Flow Yoga, with fitness in general, and with life.
I went to school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where I triple majored and attained varying degrees of fluency in Turkish, Persian, and Spanish. In my fourth year, I did an internship at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. I graduated with honors and cumulative GPA of 3.7. I thought I was going to work for the government for sure. However, there were no jobs available. Apparently 2012 was not a great year for the federal budget. I started applying for other jobs, mostly in sales. At the same time, I started Man Flow Yoga as a way for me to continue at least one of my passions, as I knew that I would not be able to exercise my passion for international affairs and languages in whatever job I would be able to land. About a month and a half after graduation, I was accepted to a job with Total Quality Logistics (TQL) in their Austin, TX location. Fuck that company. That is all I will say regarding that. While working at TQL, I continued to do Man Flow Yoga because it was my passion. It was what made me happy.
It took me a long time to figure it out, but eventually I realized that the best way that I could help others and support myself was through my gift of fitness. I had always been the go-to guy among my friends for workout tips. I had just never believed that it was an “acceptable” profession, largely because of the way that I had grown up. My mom is a lawyer, and dad’s a doctor. Because of this I had always thought that in order to be able to support myself (and eventually a family) that I too would have to be go to school for a decade and work within the “system” in order to “succeed”. Then I realized that that was not true. I quit my job at TQL and I tripled my efforts into making Man Flow Yoga a success.
This is where perseverance comes in. I have had so many setbacks; an indescribable amount. For every success that I have had, I have had fifty setbacks. Most of the “wins” that I thought I had ended up not working out, or were less than what I expected. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I wonder if what I am doing is right. Is this a yoga website or a male dating site? Can I make this work? Will I be able to pay my bills this month? How can I possibly accomplish everything I want to do? It all comes back to my vision and to my goals. I think about the brief moments of triumph that I have had; something as simple as a positive comment on a YouTube video, a t-shirt sale, or a message from a friend who tells me that he is inspired by what I am doing. Then I repeat to myself that I am going to make this work, no matter what, because I believe it in.
The act of perseverance involves pressing on when things start to get tough, or when things don’t go your way. It’s hard when circumstances that you can’t control negatively affect an outcome, but it’s even harder when you controlled those circumstances. You have to take it as a learning experience and move on. It sucks. A LOT. You shake it off, come back to your vision and pick off where you left off. You react and innovate. You reach out to somebody else. You tweak your strategy. Most importantly, you keep doing it because somewhere deep down you know that it’s right, and that you know it’s what you want to do. You can’t be bitter. If something does not work out, the only thing that you can do is your best to leave those involved with as positive a mark as possible, and hope that eventually you’ll get the break that you are looking for.
Always remember that the journey is more important than the destination. You have to enjoy the struggle, because it strengthens you. It makes you a stronger person. It makes you better prepared for when you reach that point you want. You will have the knowledge of how to deal with situations properly because you have already figured out how to screw it up. I have blown so many opportunities. I am tired of penny-pinching and embarrassingly explaining to friends that I can’t join them because I don’t have the money for it. But you know what? It’s all worth it because I am doing what I love to do.
Perseverance is the continuous effort that you exert as you strive towards your goal. It necessitates a strategy that is dynamic; reactive to situations, ever-evolving, and continuously innovative. Perseverance prepares you you to properly engage the difficulties you face when you reach your goal. It is a learning process. It is personal growth.
So now you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “Dean that’s great and all, but what does this have to do with my physical fitness?” It has everything to do with your physical fitness. I am writing this hoping that in so doing it helps to inspire you to take those setbacks as lessons rather than insurmountable obstacles, to take the good with the bed, and to take them as an opportunity to ask yourself: is this what I really want? If it is, then you will persevere! If it isn’t something worth struggling for, then why do it? The value of that which you had to earn is one hundred times greater than that which was given or entitled to you.
Beyond that, I want you to know that you are not alone when things are not going the way you want them to. Everyone has obstacles. Your character is based on how you handle those obstacles. Take the bad with the good, be as positive as possible, and JUST. KEEP. GOING.