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Keys to a Successful Life

“This hill, though high, I covet to ascend;
The difficulty will not me offend.
For I perceive the way to life lies here.
Come, pluck up, heart; let’s neither faint nor fear.
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.”  – John Bunyan

Since the age of ten, when I first read Pilgrim’s Progress, words like these have inspired me to persevere through the most difficult challenges that life has thrown my way – physical pain, relational issues, financial struggles, fears, etc. In looking at this excerpt, I find two main keys that can help lead to a successful life: Perseverance and Vision.

These two elements necessarily go hand-in-hand. Perseverance without a reason to persevere (or for perseverance sake) is…well, pointless. Without delving into a discussion on logic and reasoning, there has to be a reason that is based in reality that leads us to persevere. This is where vision comes in. Vision is the ultimate prize, based in reality, that gives us a reason to press forward. It’s the thing we know is on the other end of the struggle that is more valuable than the present suffering. It gives us the motivation to push through the challenge and get to the other side.

What is the vision that we should hold on to? Line 3 of this quote tells part of the answer: “the way to life lies here.” There are several ways that we could reword this. We could call it heaven or paradise, but I like the way that the author phrases it: LIFE.  When hardship after hardship arises, there is a greater goal that I am striving for, a purpose that goes beyond the immediate relief of pain. It’s LIFE. It’s the place where there is unending joy, peace, love, & happiness abound. This is the “city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. (Hebrews 11:10 NASB).” 

The suffering will cease. The pain will one day dissipate. And knowing that I can trust in God’s goodness and faithfulness to get me through all of these things and to make me stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy (Jude 1:24)” is the vision that carries me through. It’s for this reason that no matter the difficulty, I can remind myself to “…pluck up…; let’s neither faint nor fear.
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.”

(For more encouraging words by John Bunyan, check out Pilgrim’s Progress)

For real-life training in Perseverance and Vision, check out CTCI’s programs at

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