There are lots of old people. There are lots of healthy people. There are lots of happy people.

But how many do you know have all three?

“I still do artwork, which as long as I can hold a brush or pencil, I will continue to do.” — Tony, 103-years old

I was pretty sure that I had the “Three P’s” down to a science. But now that I read what my dear friend Tony says they are, I’m reconsidering my position.

He just turned 103 and is doing well. I’d say he’s doing better than many people half his age. He has a sense of humor, he still works, and he lives completely on his own. He writes letters with pencils on paper and mails them with envelopes and stamps. He’s never experienced the Internet or even cable TV. But somehow he’s still happy. In fact, happy would be understating it dramatically. He’s joyous, he’s content, he’s at peace. How many of us, no matter the age, can say that?

What’s his secret? Turns out, he has three of them.

The Three P’s for a Long and Healthy Life from a 103-year old:

  1. Persistence
  2. Perseverance
  3. Patience

For number three, he even writes, ” … and above all, patience.”

Let’s have a look at some definitions. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really get the difference between #1 and #2.

  1. Persistence: (from v. persist) to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance, etc.; to last or endure tenaciously:
  2. Perseverance: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
  3. Patience: bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger; quietly and steadily persevering or diligent, especially in detail or exactness

The definition of #2 has word #1 in it. I don’t see a huge difference. But #3 for me is extremely powerful. It’s maybe also the most difficult. When you’re one hundred and three and looking back, maybe it’s easy to see that this is the big secret, but when you’re young (or at least youngER) and just can’t wait for success or change or whatever it is you’re shooting for, patience just seems so … slow.

If I may be so bold as to add my own P, I would add Passion. My newly revised 3 P’s might be:

  1. Passion: something is driving you. It’s deeper than want or desire. It’s something you can’t not do. You have to do it because it’s who you are. You just have it or you don’t. If you don’t have it, you haven’t begun.
  2. Perseverance: frankly, I think if your #1 is strong enough, #2 will be somewhat “automatic.” But still, you do have to get through it, thick and thin, good and bad, for better or worse. Keep going. Every Single Day.
  3. Patience: this might be the hardest part … and maybe why I didn’t have it on my original list. But it’s crucial. Without it, #1 and #2 might crumble under their own weight.

But Tony says Patience is the most important. I’d have to agree because my gut feeling doesn’t like it. Why not? Because I’m impatient for certain things. There’s also that trick of wanting something so badly that it doesn’t come and then once you take your attention off of it, it magically happens. I have a feeling that patience works something like that.

In any case, he’s one hundred and three. He’s happy, healthy, and still doing the work he loves. He has Persistence, Perseverance, and, above all, Patience.

How do I know if #1 and #2 will succeed? That’s a trick question. I need #3.

What are your 3 P’s?

More on the Power of Patience

Here’s Tony’s letter.

TT13: The secret to a long and healthy life? It lies in the Three P's.

TT13: The secret to a long and healthy life? It lies in the Three P’s.

TT13: The secret to a long and healthy life? It lies in the Three P's.

TT13: The secret to a long and healthy life? It lies in the Three P’s.