Many of us could name many Arthur Miller plays.
Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, All My Sons. But few of us could name all of Mr. Miller’s plays.
Because before Mr. Miller was a successful playwright, he was still a playwright. A playwright who had written 14 or 15 full-length plays and some 30 plays for radio. While to the world, Mr. Miller came on the scene with All My Sons, to Mr. Miller, he was always on the scene.
In 1966, Mr. Miller boiled his evolution down to three words for The Paris Review:
“I keep going.”
It’s perseverance, plain and vast.
Perseverance is easily tossed into the grit-your-teeth-and-bear-it basket. But that grinding approach only lasts so long before it grinds us into the ground.
I think perseverance, of the sustainable and sustaining kind, is the conviction that our cause is worth fighting for. Our play is worth writing, our idea is worth realizing, our risk is worth taking. And it’s the conviction that enables us – as Carthaginian Commander Hannibal is quoted as saying – to find a way or make one.
Perseverance isn’t the hot pursuit of some distant goal. It’s showing up daily to our cause, building our mountain moment by moment, being on the scene, even though the world might not know it yet.
Perseverance isn’t easy or common. The dustbin of history is overflowing with neglected causes. But it’s worthwhile.
It’s worth showing up, it’s worth fighting the fight. And it’s worth walking past the dustbin of history and saying, “I keep going.”