This isn’t the blog post I wanted to publish first in 2019. But life has a way of throwing curve balls when you least expect it.

A friend lost her husband to a tragic accident. With respect for their privacy I won’t get into details of the event. They have the support of their family, friends, and community as they deal with their loss. But, I do want to share some thoughs here about how my friend has affected my life.

My friend is one of the special ones. She’s touched so many people in so many ways throughout the years. She has been incredibly helpful to me in my personal and business lives.

She is also a shining example of what I consider “winning at life.” Not in the way some people might think. I am not talking about riches and glamor and a lifestyle of luxury. I’m talking about real life, for real people.

Very few people have an easy life. Most of us go through a life of struggles, mistakes, setbacks and pain. What defines our life is how we respond to them.

My friend is the kind of person who faces up to her struggles. She accepts her mistakes, doesn’t let setbacks stop her, and deals with pain in a way that helps her to grow. She has good days and bad days, but she keeps on going.

If there was a single word to describe how she does this I would say it is persistence.

  • She persistently examines what is and isn’t working in her life.
  • She persistently seeks out new knowledge and information.
  • She persistently experiments with small changes.
  • And as a result, she persistently takes small steps towards her own idea of happiness.

As we head into the new year it’s normal for us to reflect on our lives, and make new plans for the future. Many of us think about making a big change or achieving a big goal. We try to find the one big thing we can do to have a big impact.

The thing is, most good things in life happen when we persistently do the small things that matter. Not everything will work, and that’s okay. We try new things, keep what works, and discard the rest.

My friend’s life has been rocked by tragedy. But she won’t make her way through this by taking one big step. She has the support of friends and family, but even that won’t be all she needs. It will be her persistence and willingness to do the small things over and over again that will get her through it.

There’s a lot in my life today that I’m thankful for. I love my family. I love my work. And I love what I do for fun. Over the last 10 years or more I’ve gone through my own struggles, mistakes, setbacks and pain to get to this point. None of them were overcome by one big step. Everything good in my life today is the result of a long series of small steps, and the support of family and friends.

Your own success and happiness is the same. There’s no one big secret that I can share with you here that will set you up for a great life. There’s no one path to success, no one skill you must learn to rise above the rest.

As we head into 2019 and you chase your own dreams, be willing to do the small things. Do them well. Do them each day. And keep doing them.

Persistence is what will get you where you want to be.

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

Categorized as General

By Paul Cunningham

Paul is a writer and entrepreneur living in Brisbane, Australia. He enjoys spending time with his family and running in the mountains. Paul was the founder of Practical 365, a former Microsoft MVP, and Pluralsight trainer. Paul is also on Twitter and Instagram.

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