In my work, I am often called upon to act as a mentor to younger people who are gaining experience my field. Today I gave someone some salient advice under this type of circumstance. “Just try it. What’s the worst that can happen? You may fail miserably, but you just might learn something from it.”
So many times our society does not consider persistence as a necessary element to survival. It seems easier to throw up your hands in dismay and declare, “Well, I tried. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.” But appearances can be deceiving. What seems like the best course of action, is the opposite of what a person should do. If that same person, under the same circumstances, were to refuse the instant and simple action and instead plod on, even when encountering failure, they may, and most probably would achieve success.
There are, of course, contrary notions, including the definition of insanity: trying the same thing over, time and again, without changing any input variations, the resulting outcome is unlikely to be different. If, however, something is learned from a failure, so that inspire changes to some key variable to the process, then it is valuable to fail and try again, resolving identified as the root causes of a problem.
These are tried and true methods of scientific experimentation. It holds true outside of scientific endeavors as well. Many famous and extraordinarily successful authors, such as Stephen King, Janet Evanovich, J.K. Rowling, have all been quoted as expounding on the value of persistence as the biggest key factor attributing to their eventual triumphs. Consider the world of sports and one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Ted Williams. In his very best year, his hitting percentage was only slightly higher than forty percent of the time. What that means is that, in his most productive period, he failed almost sixty percent of the time, and for that, he has been lauded as one of the most popular and effective players of all time. If he had given up when he was hitting 300, he never would’ve gotten to the point where he was hitting 400.
Whether you are a scientist, a musician, a writer, a reader, a parent or a student, the key to your success is persistence. Don’t give up. Think of an ant and a rubber tree plant (I’m thinking of the song “High Hopes” here) if you need to, but giving up can’t ever be an option if you truly want to get ahead in this world. And by failing, you probably will learn something.
Here are a couple of quotes by some pretty famous men who did fairly well in their chosen field:
Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in. — Bill Bradley, U.S. Senator, Olympic gold medal winner, Hall-of-Fame Basketball Player for the NY Knicks
Energy and persistence conquer all things. – Benjamin Franklin, Author, Scientist, Publisher, Statesman, Inventor, U.S Ambassador