What is harder than rock? What is softer than water? Yet hard rocks are hollowed out by soft water.

What is harder than rock? What is softer than water? Yet hard rocks are hollowed out by soft water.Seneca

See the lines on the walls? Erosion by soft drops of water on hard rock.

The lines on the walls? Erosion by soft drops of water on hard rock.

What does that mean?
This is a neat quote about the power of persistent, as well as consistent, effort. Over time, those drips can do some very amazing things.

This quote is about how, over time, the softest and most compliant of things, water, can break down some of the hardest stones. We also see it in the beauty of canyons, such as the Grand Canyon, carved out of rock.

But there are three things the quote doesn’t mention. The first is the amount of time necessary to carve out the rock. That’s the bad news. But there is also good news.

The other two things not mentioned in the quote are that you are far stronger and more capable of changing things than mere water, and that very few of your issues in life are anywhere near as hard as rock.

Why is being consistent important?
Doing the same thing over and over and over, not only do you become better at what you are doing, but you also begin to grind down the obstacle before you. If you do something often enough, even if your results are small and the task very hard, you will get results.

If, however, you are inconsistent, you will not get the results you hoped to achieve, and they will take a greater length of time. In the times between doing, you are forgetting. That forces you to spend some time re-learning some of the skills necessary, rather than moving forward and through your obstacle.

By being consistent, you not only improve, you drive home that improvement so that the next time you start, you start from a better place. Each repetition, when done consistently, is better than the last, and better and more effective techniques become part of who you are and how you work.

And by working over and over, again and again, with consistency and effort, you will wear down anything which stands in your way. In this manner, even soft water can wear down the hardest rocks. It will take time, and it will take consistent effort, but it can be done.

Where can I apply this in my life?
This quote is about encouragement, and about remembering that you can make a difference, even if you think that you are but a drop of water. The question then becomes where in your life do you feel that you are helpless or unable to make any significant difference?

Where in your life do you have these feelings? In your family? With some of your friends? In some of your social groups? What about at work or in other parts of your life? Where is your confidence running a little low? Can you put your finger on it, and say exactly what is wrong?

Why is it you believe you are less than the drop of water, or that your obstacle is harder than a rock? What preconceived notion are you stuck believing which says you can’t do anything? The Grand Canyon didn’t carve itself, it was carved by drops of water, consistently, over time.

Consider a diet where you only watch what you eat from time to time. The rest of the time, you don’t. That’s not very consistent, is it? How well will the weight come off? How frustrated will you become? Will you hollow out that rock, or will you give up? Being consistent, it is that important.

Is there an issue at work? Is there something you need, but you can’t seem to get a response? Have you given up? You can try to wear them down, but that can irritate them. You can use another property of water, and seek an easier path to follow, and flow around that obstacle, right?

By being consistent, as well as taking action and being persistent, you can find a way. Examine the results and adjust where you are rubbing the obstacle, until you can get it to move. The same goes for interpersonal issues, although that can take a little more tact.

Have you ever found yourself without the proper tool, and had to do something in a very slow and inefficient manner? Have you had to try to remove a small tree with just a hatchet (a very small, one handed axe)? That can take some time, but it can be done.

What your issue is, and what you need to do to be consistent, as well as persistent, is not the point of this quote. The point is to keep at it. The point is to adjust what you do, and to continue to move forward, trying new routes or options each time.

It is up to you. Do you want to cry, and imagine you are as helpless as the tears, or are you willing to take action, consistent action, determined action, and carve away at your issues until you have made the difference you desired in your life or in the lives of others.

From: Twitter, @stoicrevival
confirmed at : books.google.com/books… Natural Questions, book 3, chapter 3.1,  (4), and is a question which may possibly have been previously posed by Ovid (Ars 1.475-476)
Photo by jan go

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2 Responses to What is harder than rock? What is softer than water? Yet hard rocks are hollowed out by soft water.

  1. Lemuel 24 March 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Such a good read. Very inspiring. Thank you very much. Keep on writing, keep in sharing and be an agent of change for good!

    • philosiblog 25 March 2014 at 5:13 am #

      Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you stopped by, and I’m glad it meant something to you.

      I’m less an agent than a herald, calling others to action. They will be the agents of change, as I am but one man. 8)

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