What is the key to persistence?

Adnan Qureshi: What is the key to persistence. I try the daily practice but cannot stay persistent and flake off after a few days

Answer:

I think my “Daily Practice” post is usually too hard. For me also. Sometimes I’m busy so I just can’t do yoga that day. Or sometimes I let the negative people overwhelm me. Or sometimes I find myself roiled in regrets and unable to be grateful for what I have.

I’ve repeated the “second arrow” story before. When something bad happens to you, it’s as if an arrow hits you. It hurts. You’re bleeding. But you’ll recover. It’s when you then feel regret or remorse over what you’ve done that the second arrow hits you. It’s that second arrow that can kill you.

So first, avoid the second arrow. Don’t feel bad that on your quest to improve yourself, you slipped. It’s only you. There are no judges out there on Mt. Olympus saying, “Adnan, you have SLIPPED and FAILED! You must be PUNISHED!” Nothing of the sort. Life is short, we get by as best we can, then we get absorbed back up to where we came and report on what happened.

If you want to do the Daily Practice but find it difficult, no problem. Just cut it in half. If that’s difficult, cut it in half again. It’s like Zeno’s Paradox. As long as you keep cutting in half, you will never hit the floor. Remove goals from your daily agenda. Replace them by themes. The theme is that you don’t hit the floor. You reduce suffering.

Worst case: pick one category (physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual) and do one simple goal from just ONE of those categories (write down two ideas instead of ten). Now put an “X” on your calendar. You did it! Maybe tomorrow, or next week, or next year, write down three ideas and don’t drink alcohol. Or not. It’s all up to you. The second arrow has poison on it.

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