Patience & Perseverance – The road less travelled

It was April 2005. Gayatri had appeared for her 11th standard exams and had transitioned into a very important academic session – the year of the CBSE boards. She had enrolled for various classes that could help her prepare for the board exams/ entrance tests (mandatory to acquire admissions to a medical college). Securing a position in the top 20 of the merit list was essential since Gayatri wanted to obtain admissions in Mumbai itself. Becoming a doctor was her dream, and she could not afford anything going wrong in the next 12 months!

Unfortunately, Gayatri met with an accident while crossing the road in May 2005, and ended up with a plaster in her right hand, making it impossible for her to write during the next 4 weeks. Gayatri however made sure that she kept herself updated with all notes by taking photocopies from friends at college. When imperative to write, she had no option but to use her left hand.

Come July 2005, and Mumbai witnessed torrential rainfalls (breaking records of a previous hundred years). Somewhere luck was against Gayatri. She stayed on the ground floor of an extremely low-lying area in Kalina. Rain-water entered her house for 2 consecutive days, and reached a level of 3 feet in the living room and bedrooms. As a result, she lost very important notes and books which were essential for her examinations. Her study table was completely damaged. She was disheartened to say the least. Gayatri’s parents comforted her and purchased new books for her. But the notes had to be prepared yet again!

Tragedy struck in October 2005. Gayatri lost her cousin brother, Rakshit (16) in a road accident. She was very close to him and spent summer vacations in Delhi every year with him. She immediately traveled to Delhi with her family. Gayatri was heartbroken. To cope with the loss of a dear one at such a tender age can be grueling to say the least.

Her resolve to become a doctor now increased manifold. Rakshit always wanted that he and his elder sister become doctors and have a hospital of their own. This was their dream; a desire of their hearts. She had to succeed at any cost. Not for herself, but for Rakshit! With every hurdle that Gayatri went through, she emerged resilient and tougher. She took it a day at a time and ensured that she prepared well in advance for all her examinations in March and April 2006.

The results were announced in July 2006, and I am glad that Gayatri secured admissions to the MBBS course in a renowned college of Mumbai. Despite all the hitches and snags, she never gave up. What qualities in Gayatri saw her through these tough scenarios? What was the secret to her success? This could be summed up in two words – Patience and Persistence.


There are innumerable approaches to make it successful in life; various traits required to attain success. However, two very significant traits are losing strength in today’s modern society. They are patience and perseverance. People want instantaneous gratification, but are unwilling to invest their time and efforts to achieve something worthwhile. Just like the 2 minute Maggi noodles, we want success right NOW! We get disappointed with small failures, as though that were the end of the world. We need to compose ourselves and try again. As they say, tough situations never last, but tough people do! It has been beautifully summarized by Richard Carlson – “Ask yourself this question: ‘Will this matter a year from now?”

People give up very early and too soon. They do not wish to go through the process of investing their energies into hard work, but easily get upset when they do not achieve desired results. The bitter truth is – no matter what our goal is – personal or professional – we are undoubtedly going to encounter a number of obstacles, hurdles, failures and complications. There is always a way to overcome and conquer anything we want or need to in life. All we need is the willingness and fortitude to make it happen. Success often has much more to do with patience and perseverance than it does with a person’s innate qualities. “Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure”. Benjamin Disraeli


During quiet times in our discreet space, when we are most tired, facing numerous challenges, we begin to doubt ourselves and interrogate our purpose. These periods of self-reflection are of utmost importance to help reset our compass. It is patience and perseverance that will get us over those moments of self-doubt, so that we march ahead towards our goal and don’t give up.  “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success whey they gave up”.  – Thomas A. Edison

Understanding perseverance is to recognize that everything is possible, if we have faith; and continue to pursue our goals regardless of the obstacles or impediments. With a steady, disciplined approach and consistency over time, we can triumph and accomplish the end result. Through this journey we end up becoming mature individuals. Perseverance builds character, because no matter how much help and support we get through coaches/ mentors/ friends, it is ultimately a personal journey we take alone.  “Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.” – Victor Hugo


Be patient. Do not be in a hurry to win the world. We must always keep a 2 – 4 year horizon to build a strong foundation for any venture, be it personal or professional. It sometimes may take 5 to 10 years to reach the pinnacles of success. It takes time! Assess if the long-term direction is right, even if it is taking longer than earlier assumed. If you want great personal development or financial success don’t trick yourself into short-cut Ponzi schemes, because success never comes at the throw of a dice! Shortcuts eventually backfire. It is quite normal to get disillusioned by unexpected setbacks and unnecessary delays, but we must never allow any failure to become a landing point. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow’.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Faith plays an important role while we hang on with patience and persistence. The bible says in Luke 17:6 – “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” Having a strong conviction and believing that the universe always conspires to help us would go a long way in helping us achieve our goals.


There’s no better way to end this article than by quoting a few lines from a poem written by Robert Frost – The Road Not Taken:

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 So are we willing to walk the path with patience and persistence? It surely is the road less travelled, but it would make all the difference – I guarantee!


About Karan Gandhi

HR Professional with expertise in learning & development, employee engagement, counseling and training. Likes reading, music, blogging, gadgets and movies. Follows current affairs.
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