Purr-sistence (Persistence)

Friday, November 9, 2012

A couple years ago, a stray and very wild tabby Felis Catus moved to our acreage.  We named her Skippy (She's also known as Zippy) because she would zip (or skip, or run, or whatever means was fastest) away at the sight of Homo Sapiens.  We thought she'd never make a good pet.  She was a seemingly hopeless case.  My dad, however, thought differently.  He started feeding her.  By and by, she would allow us to come within 4 feet of her.  Next, she let us scratch her head while she ate.

Today, she sits on the patio (preferably on a comfortable chair on the patio), waiting for us to come out.  Sometimes she begs to be petted; she especially enjoys being scratched under the chin. She purrs, and my sister reports that Skippy has even sat on her lap.  She's a changed cat.  If we (or particularly my dad) had given up on the cat after the first week or two, she would never have become the sweet, playful, domesticated kitty she is today.  Purrsistence, or rather persistence,  payed off. 

But watch out, you might get swatted!
     G.B. Shaw once said, "When I was young I observed that nine out of every ten things I did were failures, so I did ten times more work."

 Most everything is difficult when you first start, but as you persist in your efforts, not only does your work become easier, but also better quality.  

When my dad started his welding business, he had a customer maybe once a month.  A decade later, he rarely has a day when he's not busy working in his shop.  Sometimes 3, or 4... or 5 jobs are brought in in one day, and it's not unusual to see farm equipment parked outside waiting to be worked on.  

When I first started sewing,  it was a headache.  I seemed to take out more stitches than I put in.  But it's almost impossible to find the kind of skirts I like to wear for sale, so I sewed 1 skirt, and then another.  Half a year later, I sewed another just to remind myself how much I dislike sewing.  For my first 5 big sewing projects, crooked seams, days of frustration, 3 or 4 tries before installing a zipper correctly--only to have it break within a week--and the like were the norm.  A couple weeks ago my wardrobe was boring me enough, so I dutifully visited a fabric store and picked out a couple yards of denim.  A few hours in my free-time during 2 days, and ta-da!  Near-perfect hems, a zipper done correctly the first time (and better than any of my others), straight lines for all 10 panels, and exactly the style of flared skirt I like.  I still hate sewing, but believe me, persistence pays off and practice makes perfect.

Often, thinking about doing something can be the hardest part.  When you really decide to get something done, focus on it, and dive into the task, usually you'll find it easier than you had feared.

  Last month, I decided I needed to be able to run a half mile without difficulty.  At the time, I was quite winded after running a quarter mile.  With a little practice, by the end of the month I could run a whole mile with less trouble than I could run the quarter mile at the beginning of the month.  Imagine how hard that would have been if I had just spent the month thinking about it!   

Driving is another example.  When a person is learning, trying to drive without swerving all over the road, failing to look in the rear-view mirror before slowing down, and almost being hit by the car behind him/her can be a nerve-wrecking experience.  With practice, however, the student gradually becomes more relaxed and skilled.  

But, if you're learning to drive, I recommend you take your cat along.  Persistence pays off, but you may need all 9 lives if you want to live to see it.  

On second thought, the cat might be a driving distraction when she climbs up on the dash.  Maybe what we all need is a guardian angel.


  1. With my luck I'd pick a cat that had used up 8 of its lives so yes, a guardian angel is a much better choice. ;)