An Example of Perseverance - Hiroo Onoda

If you're looking for an example of perseverance under difficult circumstances, you would be hard pressed to find a better example than Hiroo Onoda. Onoda was a Japanese soldier who hid in the jungles of Lubang Island in the Philippines from 1944 until 1974, when he finally surrendered to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.

As a young lieutenant in the Japanese Army towards the end of World War 2, the Americans were clearing out resistance to General McArthur's return to the Philippines, Onoda was ordered to stay behind and run guerrilla operations to impede U.S. and Philippine forces, to never surrender and not take his own life. He and three others took to the hills and continued their part of the war. Over time, the others were killed or gave up the fight. But not Lieutenant Onoda, he continued living off the land (and the occasional stolen livestock) until March 9, 1974 when his former commanding officer was flown to the Philippines to finally convince Onoda that the war was really over.

Some might be tempted to think this man was simply crazy. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. In Onoda we find a man who was dedicated to duty and had the perseverance to see his mission through until the end - even though that end was not in sight and lasted 30 years.

I read his autobiography several years ago. In it, he describes the measures he took to survive all those years. He also talks about the extreme loneliness, the desire to go home and be with his family and the fatigue he sometimes felt in carrying out his duty. This is a man who was far from crazy, and someone from whom we can learn some very valuable lessons about perseverance and follow-through.

Hiroo Onoda passed away on January 16, 2014.

I recommend reading Onoda's autobiography. No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War (Amazon Affiliate Link).

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