To Endure

One of the acquaintances I knew when I used to go to the gym each day, had competed in the “Hawaii Ironman Triathlon” and finished in the top ten. He once showed me the ring he earned from the event. His participation and success were easy to believe because he maintained an aggressive workout regime six days per week. He also worked part time as a swimming instructor at the YMCA. Although he moved to another city many years ago and I no longer go to the gym, I sometimes think about the “Triathlon Guy” as a morale booster to keep going when the going gets tough.

I’ve never been very athletic. I was the guy who was usually picked towards the end or was the last person picked when team members were chosen for phys. ed. games. That was one of the reasons that phys. ed. was my most dreaded class at school. I still have vivid memories of those humiliating classes from decades ago. This is why I’ve only dabbled in physical fitness. I did manage to take up daily workouts at the YMCA for more than a decade, but eventually lost interest. At least I take comfort in the knowledge that strenuous workouts were part of my daily routine for many years. If I ever decide to return to that lifestyle, I know it’s do-able.

The question of endurance is one each of us faces from time to time. We encounter challenges at work, our domestic lives, or physically. When scenarios look bleak, we somehow muster the gumption to show up to take them on. There is at least a glimmer of hope that helps fuel our endurance. Beyond strategizing, it’s best not to overthink the process.

It’s not surprising that the people who display the greatest amounts of endurance, do so in activities they enjoy. People like “Triathlon Guy” love taking on physical challenges. Such people often, but not always, are then able to better weather unpleasant challenges and problems.

Then we have people who grew up under difficult situations such as poverty or in dysfunctional families. A certain percentage of them have learned to transcend their childhood disadvantages through focus and patience. They can do this because they endured earlier harsh difficulties. It’s this knowledge that helps them struggle for another day. I consider them to be “mental athletes” because endurance largely happens in the mind.

Science has determined that human beings have evolved to be animals of endurance. Compared to other creatures, even the fastest humans are slow-pokes in the running department. We’re no match for wild canines and felines who might make us their lunch. We’re not as physically strong as our nearest ape relatives. However, we’ve become a dominant species through our abilities to plan, work as a team, and endure through the long term. In this way, we could outlast and outwit our prey and our predators.

We harness this inborn trait in various ways. Some of us excel in raising families, succeed in the trades, many do well in business, some shine in the arts, other people compete in the Hawaii Triathlon. The common factors are desire, patience, and endurance. The secret is discovering how to harness these features most effectively for our own purposes.


The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes literature professor and writer, Adam Mansbach. “Writing novels is largely about endurance and patience. I take a lot of breaks, hit walls, and go do something else while I think things through. But I do it every day, and I try to treat it as a job, something that is not dictated by whimsy or muses.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in cultural highlights, Health, philosophy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to To Endure

  1. Pingback: To Endure – Joevic Africa

  2. Zettl says:

    I am not a sporting nature and had to learn in a very painful way to take note of this and to listen to my body.

    3 years ago I had a longer phase in which I did a high workload on the treadmill 6 times a week. With the result that in the end my archilles tendons became thick as thumbs and only now am I am halfway restored on the whole.

    Before that I was in the fitness studio once a week (with a lot of wellness and sauna afterwards) and that was appropriate to my nature. Especcially the wellness part 🙂

    • swabby429 says:

      Yes, when we find a niche that seems to work for us, it’s easy to become over-enthused. This happened to me with the programmed exercise bike, “Espresso”.

  3. bloom|time says:

    When I was expecting, many books compared childbirth to a marathon. That mindset was really helpful to me… took away the fear and helped me with a mindset of “this is just a cool thing your body was designed for, though it may be challenging.” Endurance definitely needed to perpetuate the human race!

  4. swabby429 says:

    Persistence is truly our species’ strong point.

  5. Priti says:

    Yes we become a dominant species for our abilities to plan and make it real! Beautifully written thank you for sharing ❤💕🙂

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