Sunday, 21 April 2013


Tenacity,  is as much about repeated action as it is about patience in inaction; it is as much about patient endurance till it is time to rise up again, as it is about trying to get up from a fall.

The greatest battles they say are fought in the mind. For a long time now, I have been a witness to one such battle, happening in the mind of someone I hold very dear. She is my childhood friend. Having witnessed a tragedy occuring with her parents when she was just six years old, the incident affected her deeply and she lost her carefree world. From then on, her world never seemed to right itself.

Consequently, she withdrew and hesitated to do even what she knew she could do well. She could beat the fastest athlete in school, but would never run a race. She had a bent towards art, which she never pursued. Being always measured on the yardstick of academics, her alternate choices were a matter of debate. Her failures were always public and were mercilessly commented upon by all and sundry and her good nature was exploited by relatives and acquaintances alike. Though selfless in her love for her family, she seldom recieved any credit for it. Many years were wasted in hoping that things would eventually become better.

This part of the story however ended a few years ago, following a major adverse life event . From the years of patient endurance, came a deep innner strength, and she is completely and wilfully changing the script of her life and has helped me understand better the meaning of tenacity.


When faced with the hardest goals we are prepared for failure, even as we give our best. But not every mountain that we endevor to climb is the Everest and sometimes not being able to climb a hillock is a more frustrating failure. It happens with a lot of people; some phases of life are strewn with many such hillocks, presenting themselves one after the other in a seemingly never-ending sequence. The lesson that I have learnt from my friends life is that, past failures are no gauranteee that the next attempt will be a success. Just as having fallen once does not mean that you will not trip again, having failed once does not entitle you to success on a second attempt. It is therefore essential to keep trying repeatedly, each time with no gaurantee of success and yet each time with as much enthusiasm as the last time.  

But sometimes, there is nothing that you can do. Some challenges can be a very long drawn affair, sometimes stretching into years. No action, no attempt creates change as long as the circumstances themselves dont change; and yet there is a strong internal and external pressure to act. Keeping the thread of patience from snapping, when in such a situation, is crucial to eventual change. When action is futile or detrimental, patience is indeed a virtue.

From a cause-driven Aung San Suu Kyi who spent 21 years as a political prisoner, to a commercial success-driven creator of Angry Birds who had created 52 games before one went big, some successes become more inspiring than others, not because the outcomes were any greater, but because they were achieved by climbing a steep mountain with past failures as toeholds. In the former case no action could be done even though there was a will, and in the latter all he could do was to try again and again.

Tenacity, hence, is as much about repeated action as it is about patience in inaction. It is as much about patient endurance till it is time to rise up again, as it is about trying to get up from a fall.


As for my friend, I recently told her how amazing she is. I am sure there will be no looking back for her now and I am standing by in rapt attention to witness her course of action.