If you had asked me a couple of years ago if I led a diligent and persistent life, I would have told you “yes.” However, I’m not so sure of that nowadays. In looking at the past, I see clearly all those places where I’ve failed to live up to my expectations of myself. What seems to happen is that I tell myself that I can do something, and for the moment that is true. But then, I tell myself that I can do another thing which might slightly compromise the first thing. That works okay for a while until a third thing comes along that I think I can do if I slightly compromise on the first two. This proceeds ad infinitum until I can accomplish next to nothing and I am stretched way too thin.
One might ask why I do such a thing. From my perspective, it comes from two main sources: love and wanting my life to be well-lived. I take on extra burden because I love something or someone. I make a commitment because I love this person. I take on more responsibility because I care about that responsibility’s well-being. I love this Earth and the creatures on it, and I feel a certain responsibility to them. The other reason I take on extra burden is because I have a desire to “experience” life. I might train for a marathon because I want to know what a 26.2 mile run feels like. I might bike more because I want to know what life feels like through the lens of a multi-day bike ride. I might try to learn in order to understand the world around me.
I think in general, these instincts of mine to experience and love in this life are quite necessary and good motives. The trouble is that I cannot do everything. I cannot be diligent in every aspect of my life. I cannot excel in everything under the sun. Other people may be able to, but I cannot. So, what then shall I be diligent in? What would make me feel that I could give love and have lived a good life?