“Today’s word is persistence,” said the Word Master / Grammarian. “Persistence is a noun that means to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people.” In the world of Toastmasters, this is the new word that we need to attempt to include any time we speak during the night and a great way to help expand our vocabulary. Sometimes, the words are easier to use, like travail (painful or laborious effort), or other times much harder to use, like the word I once presented, omphaloskepsis (contemplation of one’s navel). I am generally good at including the word while I am speaking, as it becomes an extra challenge and a worthwhile exercise of “thinking on your feet.”
How often in our lives, during the course of a week, a month or a year, do we say to ourselves, or to other people that we have an objective or a goal we would like to strive for? The key words are “would like to strive”, as these words lack a certain sense of commitment, as opposed to “are striving”. I cannot talk for other people, but in my case, I have often used those words because in my mind, the excuses and conditions for success have formed a line for use when needed. Once we, or in this case, I make the decision for a strong enough commitment to something, we become persistent in our pursuit of our goal. How do we know we are serious? We set an end date for completion, then follow that path come hell or high water. We become focused and reprioritize things in our lives to accomplish the goals we really want to achieve.
On Friday, I was thankful for the word of the day. I joined Toastmasters in September 2013 with great excitement and enthusiasm. Toastmasters, which just celebrated its 90th anniversary, has two tracks that you work on, one for speaking and the other for leadership. My focus was speaking. After joining, I was informed that there are no timetables for when to speak and it is self-directed; some people take 2 years to complete the required 10 speeches to achieve a Competent Communicator status, while others take months before they even make their first speech. 10 speeches? I had it set in my mind that I will reach this goal in one year – very aggressive. The group meets twice a month, with the summer off, that means there were about 20 meetings to reach my goal. My first presentation was at the second meeting in November 2013 and I was on my way. This past Friday, on October 24, 2014, with great PERSISTENCE, I gave my tenth speech to achieve the goal that I set out for myself! Like the old adage, if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.