Lessons from the Blue Highways – Episode 3 – Endurance

Adam Steele decided that his next blue highways journey would be through the New England states. Before actually driving into New England, he decided to visit Cooperstown, NY and the baseball Hall of Fame. It was the perfect first step because it set the mood for an appreciation of a part of America’s heritage. The endurance of the game of baseball in a time when everything was fast paced was especially heartening.

Traveling on, he would randomly stop at a New England town just to walk around. It was obvious of the pride communities had in their longevity. Churches had on their meeting boards sayings such as “Sharing Our Faith Since 1742”.

He would visit cemeteries to look at the gravestones. He expected to find some that dated back to the 18th Century. What he didn’t expect was to see 200 years of graves of family members all in the same area.

Overnight accommodations were bed and breakfast inns which had been family homes from centuries ago. His conversations with fellow travelers over breakfast restored his faith in American values. He was surprised, and actually delighted that none of the inns had wifi connections.

As he ventured down the modest blue highways, he loved seeing the stone fences. Then he began to think of how long those fences had been there. The more he traveled the two-lane blue highways, the more he began to appreciate the value of endurance.

As he started to drive back home, he reflected on the lack of endurance that had become so prevalent in society and his own business. New initiatives are often ignored because people know they won’t last long. “What’s hot” has begun to replace what works. Legacies are being replaced by phony influencers. As a sports fan, he was disappointed that it was hard to develop a rooting interest in players who were more interested in the numbers in the contracts than their numbers on the field. Then he began to think of his own business. What were the enduring values that guided the decisions being made? How could they innovate but retain the enduring image that had made them a first choice in the marketplace. And then he thought about his people. How could he nurture, respect, and continue to appreciate the contributions of the Lou Gehrig’s and Cal Ripken’s of his business. He thought about how he could build an endurance culture in a fast-paced world.

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“Patient endurance attains all things.” – Teresa of Avila

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