Endurance Leads to Success

Kit So

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One of the greatest virtues of all successful people is the ability to endure. Many of you might have learnt this as perseverance but I rather use the word endurance. What's the difference? Well, perseverance means a constant struggle forwards against opposition, whereas endurance is, well, endurance. With endurance there is no need to struggle forwards. Sometimes it even means moving backwards, away from your goals. This doesn't mean you give up - you are just waiting for the optimum or most opportune time to take action.

There is a old fable by Chuang Tzu, who was a philosopher in ancient China about 2,200 years ago, which illustrates the magic of endurance. It begins of with a fish called Kun. Now, this fish isn't just an ordinary fish. It's thousands of metres long. Kun evolves into Pung, which is a huge bird, thousands of metres wide. Don't ask me why. To Pung, success means flying southwards over the great sea to the Celestial Pool. Pretty easy task, don't you think? Nup! First, Pung beats his wings furiously and rises to a height of ninety thousand kilometres. It takes him 6 months to do this. Only then can he begin his journey southwards towards the Celestial Pool with nothing in his way.

A boat cannot float if the water is too shallow. Empty a cup of water on the floor and you can get a straw to float on the water, but the cup will sink. Similarly, if there is not enough wind, it cannot support great wings. Only when the Pung is ninety thousand kilometres high, can the wind support him.

When the cicada heard of this story, he said to the dove, “When I want to climb the elm tree, I fly and try to reach for higher ground. Sometimes I miss and fall to ground, but I slowly and surely make progress. Why does Pung have to travel thousands of kilometres without making any visible progress? The dove agreed: Pung was a fool. And so did every other animal in the kingdom.

So there it is. The fable of Pung. I hope you get the moral of the story because it captures the essence of endurance. If you don't, read on. I've identified two pearls of wisdom in this story:

1. When a person wants to have a short sail around the bay in his sailboat, he'll have to pack enough food for a few hours. When a person wants to have an epic journey across the Pacific Ocean, he'll have to pack enough food for a few months. If you are aiming for a great accomplishment in life, you need extensive preparation. This doesn't just mean gathering enough resources; it also includes waiting for the opportune time for action.

2. When preparing for your epic journey in life, you will criticised. That's why you need to be true to your conviction and believe that, in the end, you will get what you set out for. And you will. Only then can you brush off the criticisms lightly and endure criticism because you know you are a Pung bird and the others, well, not Pung birds.

That's it for today.

Happy living,


This is an excerpt from Kit's blog, ‘Only One Life To Live’. To read more on how to live your life to the max, go to his blog at:



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