Dragon Ball Z has many recurring themes throughout the entire timeline. From episode one of Dragon Ball where Goku met Bulma all the way up to the current Dragon Ball Super saga these themes are there. The theme that is easiest to find in all three series is persistence. The Z Fighters do not buckle under any odds. When a new threat appears they buckle down, train hard and put it all on the line in the end. They always finish their fights even when they end up on the losing side. Other than Goku, no Z Fighter shows this amazing strength of will like Vegeta.
Unlike Goku, Vegeta grew up on the Saiyan home-world, also named Vegeta. But Vegeta isn’t just any Saiyan, he was born into Saiyan royalty. Fighting was a way of life for all Saiyans so Vegeta began training relentlessly at a very young age. Being the son of the king of the Saiyans was undoubtedly a hard line to tow but Vegeta had even more reason to continue getting stronger. When the evil overlord Frieza destroyed planet Vegeta the great warrior race nearly perished save for a few Saiyans that were off planet. Vegeta hated Frieza not just for this but also for the brutal ways Frieza kept the mighty warrior king under his thumb.
Upon learning of the Earth Dragon Balls Vegeta was instantly driven to use them to gain the power needed to be the ruler of the Universe but as we know, he failed. The Z Fighters, rallying behind Gokus valiant effort, managed to defeat Vegeta and let him leave Earth alive. This turned out to be the catalyst for Vegeta taking on the fight of his life against Frieza on planet Namek.
When he arrived on Namek Vegeta knew he was still out classed by Frieza and many of his goons. But he had a new trick that he picked up on Earth, the ability to sense a warrior’s power without a scouter. He also learned to suppress his power level to hide it from scouters. After leaving the rejuvenation chamber Vegeta easily eliminated a few low level goons but knew he had to become stronger. He began collecting Dragon Balls to once again try to obtain immortality. But Vegeta was in many great battles between first leaving the rejuvenation chamber and finally having all the Dragon Balls collected.
He easily dispatched Dodoria but his first encounter with Zarbon did not go so smoothly. Zarbon had a nasty trick up his sleeve. He transformed into his second form which was more than Vegeta could handle. But Zarbon made a huge mistake when he didn’t kill Vegeta. Because as we all know, a Saiyans power increases drastically every time one is on the verge of death. In the second fight against Zarbon Vegeta was unquestionably much more powerful. But this isn’t the last time he becomes exponentially more powerful on Namek.
When Vegeta, Krillin and Gohan go up against the Ginyu Force they are hilariously out-gunned. All three fighters are on the verge of death when Goku makes his last second save once again. Vegeta comes back stronger and kills Jeice and pummels Captain Ginyu while he was in Gokus stolen body. But while Goku is healing Vegeta has to go up against Frieza and he realizes he is nowhere near strong enough to stop the tyrant. We all know how the rest of the story goes. Vegeta is killed by Frieza but eventually wished back.
After Trunks showed up to warn the Z Fighters about the threat from the Androids Vegeta was not happy. How could there be another Super Saiyan that isn’t named Vegeta? Knowing there are now two Saiyans more powerful than him was unacceptable. Vegeta had to become a Super Saiyan at any cost. He pushed himself to new heights numerous times training in a gravity machine constructed by Bulma. Pushing it up to 450 times Earth’s gravity he eventually achieved his Super Saiyan dream. In the first encounter with the Androids Vegeta revealed his new power to the Z Fighters. But when androids 17 and 18 arrived they were too much for the mighty Super Saiyan Vegeta so he once again has to train.
After extensive training in the Time Chamber Vegeta managed to reach another new level. The Ascended Saiyan is this new level but the sheer bulk cannot match Cell’s speed and Vegeta has once again fallen short in the end. When Goku and Gohan emerge from the Chamber Goku tells Vegeta he is much stronger than him, again. Gohan defeated Cell and Vegeta went back to pushing his training.
During the World Martial Arts Tournament Vegeta seemed to revert back to his evil ways when he allowed Babidi to use his magic on him to beat Goku. But Goku had another more powerful form that he hid from Vegeta to save his ego. And in the end, Vegeta had to make the ultimate sacrifice to attempt to save his family when he self-destructed. This continued to show Vegeta being willing to do whatever it takes. In the final fight against Majin Buu Vegeta is even willing to permanently fuse with Goku to defeat the monster but they separated when Buu ingested them. Vegeta continues to reach new levels in Dragon Ball Super but that is potential spoiler territory and I am not here to ruin the plot for anyone.
So the next time you are struggling with something, be it school, depression, working out or losing a loved one, remember Vegeta. Remember how many times he had to pull himself up from the edge of death. Remember how hard he fought to keep up with Goku. But most of all remember this. Vegeta does not quit, he will not quit. When times get hard buckle down and always finish your fight, regardless of what it is.