In years of watching people accomplish remarkable things, I have seen affirmed what my father told me when I was a child — the secret of success is stamina.
It is wonderful to have gifts, but I have known extravagantly gifted people who cannot lift their legs out of the mud. There are many explanations for the greatness of Moses, but surely central is that for 40 years, each day, he lifted the burden of a people on his shoulders and bore them through the desert. Think of the mornings he arose and wished to cast off the task; he complained to God about it, but he did not give up.
No area of life is immune from the rule that determination in difficulty will yield results: in parenting, in work, in friendship and in love.
Even at crucial moments in history, it is the extra helping of stamina that makes the difference. After winning the historical battle of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington famously said that his soldiers were not braver than Napoleon’s, but they were braver five minutes longer.
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @RabbiWolpe. His latest book is “David: The Divided Heart” (Yale University Press).