It's a Wonderful Lesson in Perseverance

For a lot of people the holiday season arrives with a complicated compilation of emotions and expectations. The history, happenings and—at the worst of times—histrionics—of this busy, bustling and boundless time of year are extraordinary and sometimes slightly extreme. But one of the best elements for me personally—a silly one perhaps, but a harmless guilt-free pleasure—is the plethora of holiday movies and TV shows that most of us have seen a million times and know all too well.

In fact you can’t escape knowing some of the season’s most noteworthy productions, whatever your religious affiliations. And with them come the various messages of meaning and lessons to be learned in conjunction with this holiday time.

This year I’m drawn to the ever-important lesson of perseverance—something that appears in various forms for many of these stories—tales that speak to the struggles of overcoming dark hours and times and coming out on the other side.

One of our favorites, It’s a Wonderful Life, appears to center on messages of family and friendship, but the story of common man George Bailey is also a vivid demonstration of perseverance.

Throughout the story George demonstrates a tireless focus in meeting adversity. From the first moment you meet him, where he doesn’t hesitate to jump into the freezing river to save his brother’s life, you see an individual who simply does whatever is necessary to make things right.

As he gets on in his business life, he makes choices that delay his personal gratification in order to see his building & loan company succeed. In the middle of the Great Depression, following a run on the bank, he uses his own money, earmarked for his honeymoon, to keep his shareholders loyal and committed.

And even in his darkest hour, when his bumbling Uncle Billy loses the $8,000 deposit from the business, George swallows his pride and attempts to borrow the money from his archenemy, Mr. Potter. It’s certainly the last thing he wants to do, but he does it anyway because it has to be done.

And therein lies an instructive lesson in perseverance. Whether it’s pride or personal comfort, in order to find success in your endeavors there will be times when you’re going to have to make sacrifices in order to persevere.

Perseverance is truly an attitude you take in which literally no single thing is going to stop you. And once you decide to adopt that attitude, you need to also decide that there’s no abandoning it going forward.

Then, like George Bailey, you need to simply solve each situation as it presents itself, no matter what it’s going to take to make it right.

It’s a great holiday lesson to take to the bank—now and as you enter the coming year ahead.