Doggedness is a word that brings to mind a certain fight-to-the-finish tendency, whether it’s seen in the most painfully frail or in the most overpoweringly macho. It sounds negative and could be, but is very often positive.
It’s the quality I see in the mum who is living with the reality of cancer and the other reality of three kids who look up to her for everything, and who is not about to give up without a fight.
It’s the quality in the child who the teacher has given up on and given a low predicted grade to boot, but who refuses to give up and is determined to show that he’s destined for more than where he’s been pegged.
It’s the quality I saw displayed in the snatches I caught of the 4-hour Olympics Tennis Men’s Singles finals between Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro on Sunday.
Doggedness leads people to conquer towering mountains and discover new frontiers. It keeps them going in the face of the most adverse circumstances. Doggedness presses on; it gives everything. It’s sweaty, there’s grit in its eyes, but it keeps going and won’t give in. It says: “At the end of this, I want to be able to say I gave it my all. I want to be able to say there was nothing more I could have done.”
It’s a quality we could all benefit from having. It takes courage and belief in oneself or at least in one’s cause. There’s obstinacy and being unreasonable and utterly bull-headed. This isn’t about that, although sometimes the line is fine…
This is about good old tenacity, pure longsuffering, admirable dedication to the cause, courageous perseverance. It often leads to a win, as with Murray; to the next best thing as with Del Potro; to excellent success as with the child who eventually bursts through the ceiling of predicted grades; or to simple peace in the knowledge that you’re doing the best you can and everything will work out, as with the mum. One thing is certain: doggedness doesn’t leave you where it met you. It moves you forward.