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Friday, April 26, 2013

Endurance and Stupidity

Endurance is not just the ability to keep on trying but being stupid enough to believe you can make it.

Ever feel like your sheer grit and determination to finish got you through a difficult task? If so, you know that sometimes determination and endurance will get you much farther than talent and IQ. It’s true as a writer and also in life

I’ll use myself as an example. I didn't learn how to play tennis until I was in college. Now, I was never known for my athletic ability. In fact I often tell folks I’m something of a klutz. So, it is no surprise that I couldn’t master the game in one semester. Or two. Or three. In fact, to this day I think the instructor passed me to keep me from being in her class another year. After graduating, I joined a tennis team. It was only after playing two to three hours every day for two years that I got fairly good. It was good timing, because that year we ended up in the city championship for our division, pitted against our arch rivals.

The finals were played outdoors in early May. Virginia at that time of year is full of life, think blooming flowers, leafing trees. Also envision everything covered in a thin layer of yellowish green pollen. By the way, I didn’t mention one important detail about myself. Besides having a major case of severe klutz syndrome, I also have really bad allergies. I see a lot of readers nodding their heads, thinking theirs are awful as well. But, I’m talking really bad. When I was tested, I was allergic to all but five of the eighty-plus allergens they checked. My allergist could have used me as his disclaimer, my picture on the wall of his waiting room, eyes puffy and nose red from blowing. The inscription would read, “I can’t help everyone.”

At eight a.m. on a windy day, we hit the tennis court. At nine a.m. I left the court, hacking and sneezing, after losing miserably in straight sets. With my loss our team also lost the championship. But as luck would have it, perhaps tweaked a little through an intervention from the big guy, we got another chance to win a year later. I was ecstatic, a chance to vindicate myself! This time my doubles partner and I ended up anchoring the team. Our game was last and everything balanced on our win or loss—nothing like a little pressure. But, thanks to a double dose of allergy medicine and more than three hours on the court, we went on to win the city championship and then even further to be the victors in the tri-state championship.

My point is that no matter what the level of your ability, with enough focus and endurance, you can get any job done. However with endurance, as with everything, there are some points you have to keep in mind in order to succeed.

1) You have to be constant and consistent. Your purpose cannot waiver. When you have a task to do, know specifically what it is and what that task looks like when it is perfectly complete. Stay true to that goal. The more specific the task and the goal to be reached, the better. Also, decide the best way to approach the goal and stay the course by performing it as envisioned. For me in tennis it was to practice the basics until they were performed with a low error rate before moving on to more complicated tasks like strategy.

2) You must act. Staying in the same spot is not an action. Endurance suggests movement, not immobilization. Don’t lose momentum by stopping to rest, but continue on, only changing your speed if you tire.

3) You must adapt to changing conditions. A tennis player may run to the net to then angle the ball in a shallow maneuver, placing it out of bounds where the opponent will have difficulty reaching it. But the player must adapt by moving back to the baseline when the opponent gets to it and lobs it over her head.

4) Strength of purpose is what sees you through. When you have a team behind you, it is more likely for you to accomplish a well-focused task and goal.

The minds and efforts of many assist in exponentially ensuring the success of a project.

So remember the importance of endurance and stay focused on this formula:

Consistency + Adaptive Action + Purpose = Success ³

And if you’re like me, practice a lot and then some more. As a writer, learn and write, learn and write some more—plus in life and writing always take your allergy medicine with you.


Bobbye Terry writes romantic comedies, cozy mysteries, suspense, fantasies and dystopian fiction. Recently she has branched out into inspirational nonfiction. Her latest work is A Murder in Every Port, Book 4 in the Briny Bay Mystery Series, published by Turquoise Morning Press. For more about Bobbye, visit her at and For her inspirational work, go to


Melissa Keir said...

What an important post. I agree about endurance. So many times it is when we are at our lowest, something happens because we didn't give up that shows us that we did it!

Writers are probably the best at endurance. No one said it was going to be easy but doing it everyday makes a difference!

Tina Donahue said...

Great post - so true!

Bobbye Terry said...

Thanks folks, for leaving posts!

Cara Marsi said...

Bobbye, you are so right. Never give up. That's been my mantra for writing. You should be very proud of how you improved your tennis game.

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