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What does It Mean to "Stay the Course"?

"Staying the course" signifies unwavering perseverance towards a goal, despite challenges. It's about commitment and resilience, holding firm to your path when distractions or obstacles tempt you to veer off. This steadfast approach can be the key to success in various life aspects. How might steadfastness transform your journey? Join us as we explore the power of persistence.
J.Gunsch
J.Gunsch

Stay the course is an idiom of the English language that means to persevere in the face of difficulty when the desired outcome is determined to be worth obstacles met along the way. This saying can be prescriptive, as a form of advice coming from another, or it can be a type of self affirmation, such as, “I must stay the course in order to succeed.” Most people know that life is tainted with hard times, and in order to survive, one must deal with the obstacles that life brings. In that way, this is a positive concept that everyone can relate to at some time in their life.

Many parents know all too well what it means to stay the course. They know that it is much easier to say "yes" to a child than to say "no." While "no" may be in the best interest of the child, it is likely to be met with tantrums, pouts, and pleas. Most parents self affirm that they must be consistent, whether they win in the end or give in to the battle.

An idiom is a turn of phrase that doesn't make sense when literally translated.
An idiom is a turn of phrase that doesn't make sense when literally translated.

In the 1980s, the American Republican Party, namely the Regan administration, used the phrase stay the course to boost the morale of the American public during the country’s economic difficulties. In 2000, the Bush administration adopted this rhetoric to justify the United States’ long debated presence in Iraq. President Bush stated, "We're not going to lose in Iraq. As a matter of fact, we will win in Iraq so long as we stay the course.” Later, the administration abandoned the plan after much debate about whether staying would be fruitful.

President George W. Bush famously decided to "stay the course" with respect to military action in Iraq after the initial invasion.
President George W. Bush famously decided to "stay the course" with respect to military action in Iraq after the initial invasion.

The phrase most likely originated with sailors who had to endure harsh weather conditions at sea. Having a set navigational system, they must have thought it best to stay the course rather than to get lost at sea when they could not clearly see where they where headed and when it might have been difficult to maneuver the ship in inclement conditions. To stay on course, no matter how difficult, would allow them to safely reach their destination.

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    • An idiom is a turn of phrase that doesn't make sense when literally translated.
      By: Sebastian Crocker
      An idiom is a turn of phrase that doesn't make sense when literally translated.
    • President George W. Bush famously decided to "stay the course" with respect to military action in Iraq after the initial invasion.
      By: bogdanserban
      President George W. Bush famously decided to "stay the course" with respect to military action in Iraq after the initial invasion.
    • It is important for parents to stay the course in regards to decisions regarding a child's behavior even though a tantrum may occur as a result.
      By: bramgino
      It is important for parents to stay the course in regards to decisions regarding a child's behavior even though a tantrum may occur as a result.