The Human Trial of Perseverance

Written by: Christopher Sell

Primary Source: The Wednesday Wake Up

guilder rod

Perseverance isn’t flashy. It isn’t really highlight material. Illustrations of perseverance don’t necessarily make for exciting television.

So I don’t blame you if you didn’t hear about the Guilder Rodriguez story.

Who is Guilder, you ask? Why, he’s the 31 year-old utility infielder who plays Major League Baseball for the Texas Rangers. Only thing is…Guilder had played played 1,095 games with ten different minor league teams before getting his first call-up to the Big Leagues. That’s 13 straight years playing in the minors — traveling long nights with small paychecks and working jobs on the side, through the arctic chill of winter — before getting his first opportunity to play in the same league as Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. That’s 144 months of hustle for the shot to see a dream realized.

No, it isn’t flashy. But it’s the winning formula for life.

So Monday night, after being called up by the Rangers, with his wife and dad in attendance, the career minor leaguer smacked a single into left field. Guilder’s wife and father shrieked with joy; his dad hadn’t seen him play in America since 2004, when Guilder first began his 13-year odyssey. When he reached first base, he smiled and gave an endearing nod to his small cheering section behind home plate. But then something magical happened.

The nearly 30,000 fans in attendance at the stadium rose to their feet and gave the human trial of perseverance a standing ovation. For a brief moment, the crowd recognized Guilder for what he is.

A winner.


Winning looks a lot like training for a marathon. This past Sunday, I swung by the Capital City River Run Marathon in downtown Lansing, where I was a front row witness to lots of winners. Participants who only made it to the finish line because they’ve been putting in the hard work, day in and day out, for many months. The toughest part about running a marathon is the 5 months before the marathon.

Marathons in life, much like the distance running event, test your endurance, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Cumulatively, it measures your ability to give your best, every and every day, over the long haul.

Where you start matters not. Where you finish matters the most.

The importance of perseverance extends beyond distance running. It transcends industry. Before doctors can even practice as a licensed medical practitioner, they must endure years and years of grueling graduate course work and clinical residencies. Enlisted men and women aren’t allowed to use the words “quit” as part of their vocabulary. Engineers face yearly deadlines whereby perseverance is the key ingredient for finishing the big project on time. Creatives working in advertising, marketing, or sales know that their success is intimately connected to their propensity toward persistence. The big sale or ad campaign requires long hours, dedication, and a commitment to the long-term goal.

No matter your occupation, no matter your industry, perseverance is vital to success.

Winning is a lot like losing every day and then waking up the next morning to give it your best shot anyways.

We all face hurdles that can distract or displace us from our long-term goal. Quitting is easy. But dreams aren’t realized with easy sprints. They’re accomplished with a marathon’s worth of hard work, sweat, and tears. And in the end, I suspect it’s all worth it.

Just ask Guilder Rodriquez about that.

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My name is Christopher Sell and I'm an educator in higher education. At my core, I'm passionate about creating synergy and connecting people to opportunity. I place tremendous focus on collaboration, strategic planning, forward-thinking, and teamwork in any professional environment. As an alumnus of Western Michigan University (WMU) and Michigan State University (MSU), I'm equally committed to leveraging relationships with industry and students/graduates to retain & attract talent in the state of Michigan and contribute to the economic revitalization of the "Mitten State" that I love so much. Needless to say, I'm a big fan of the Pure Michigan campaign.

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