Forrest Gump had a unique personality trait that allowed him to go through life either oblivious to or untouched by other people’s opinions of his ideas. It is possible that he simply didn’t know any better, or didn’t realize he ought to care, like a child that trusts in himself.
On the surface, Forrest’s ideas seamed crazy to others. Bubba’s mom asked him if he was “crazy or just plain stupid” regarding his shrimping idea. The man at the docks also regarded his plans incredulously, asking “Are you stupid or something?” Lieutenant Dan ridiculed Forrest when he first heard the idea, and poked at him sarcastically yet again about ‘praying for shrimp’. But Forrest ignored the negative comments and continued on … and in the end, the shrimping idea worked! Even praying for shrimp seemed to work! It seemed when Forrest made up his mind, it eventually happened, and his perseverance was key! Do you persevere on the things that are important to you? When you care about something do you doggedly pursue it the way Forrest pursued shrimping?
Perseverance is defined as steady persistence in a course of action or purpose, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. It requires diligence and hard work. Synonyms include backbone, constancy, continuance, dedication, determination, doggedness, drive, endurance, grit, guts, immovability, indefatigability, moxie, persistence, pertinacity, pluck, prolonging, purposefulness, pursuance, resolution, sedulity, spunk, stamina, steadfastness, stick-to-itiveness, and tenacity. Wow! Forrest was all of these!
We’ve all heard the two common sayings about perseverance Quitters never win, and winners never quit, and If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Forrest never quit and despite not succeeding at the beginning, he continued trying and ultimately would win on all counts. He did not quit trying to walk and run with his legs bound in braces. He did not fail to love, support and defend Jenny through all of his disappointments and trials with her through many years. And he did not give up his pursuit of successful shrimp fishing. In each of these things, we saw Forrest emerge victorious in the end!
Cynthia L.S. Pury gives perseverance a psychological definition and says, “Perseverance is the intentional continuation or reapplication of effort toward a goal despite a temptation to quit.” Certainly Forrest felt like quitting many times when he pulled up his nets and they contained trash from the sea bottom but were empty of shrimp. He likely wanted to give up on Jenny when all of his letters were returned to him in a bundle. He may have even wanted to quit believing when his prayers went unanswered and Lt. Dan challenged, “Where’s this God of yours?!?” It would have been very easy, and even understandable, if he had quit.
What are the things in your life that you are persistent and determined? Your career and job? Are you dedicated and purposeful towards your family and relationships? Do you display backbone in the face of adversity? Are you immovable in pursuit of your goals and dreams?
Would we have admired Forrest if he had quit? I don’t think so. I believe Forrest’s perseverance was just one of the many reasons we so admired and respected the character. Maybe the next time we feel like quitting we’ll remember that Forrest continued on despite difficulties and initial failures, and we will strive for some Gump-like perseverance!
Bloggers Note: Today’s post was inspired by my friend and colleague Melanie Jatsek. Melanie is “The Expert Food Enthusiast”! I wonder what she thinks about shrimp? Thanks Melanie, for the inspiration!
Next Blog Title: Imagine! John Lennon meets Forrest Gump
Next Blog Date: Monday, April 19, 2010