Saturday, July 6, 2013

Perseverance is Important for the Long Road Towards Success

Quite often, life can be tough. You can put a lot of hard work into your personal projects, undergraduate or graduate studies, small business startups, crowdfunding campaigns, and so forth. All that hard work may seem to yield little or no results. That's why it's important for you to persevere. The road towards success can ofter be difficult, unrewarding, and tiresome. I should know because I've done through this in the past, and I'm going through that now with my ECE PhD. Overall, my life is much better now than it was several years ago. To be honest, I had a lot of personal problems in my life back then, and there were people who helped me along the way. I was able to get through those life problems because I persevered. Currently, I am having issues with funding for the last year of my PhD. On one hand, it causes me a great deal of stress, and it wears me out at times. On the other hand, though, I strongly desire to earn my PhD, I know that I am technically capable of earning it, and I believe that I can find a way to earn my funding. In short, I know that I can do it. I just do.

Now, there is a person that I've got on my list of "people I wish I had met before they died." This person was the late Professor Randy Pausch. Although this is not original content, I want to share it here because I find great motivation in his last lecture titled "The Last Lecture." Please take an hour and a half of your time to watch his lecture, as he offers some great wisdom. You don't have to watch it now, but you should bookmark this page, so you can view his video when you have time later. Believe me, you'll be glad that you sat down and watched it without any interruptions.

This is my favorite quote from the late Professor Pausch's Last Lecture: “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” As the late professor noted in his video, brick walls can come in many different shapes, forms, and sizes. Whenever you have difficulties in achieving success in your current endeavor, you must ask yourself several questions:

  1. How badly to I want to succeed in this endeavor?
  2. Is this really something that I can put my time, blood, sweat, tears, and passion into for a long period of time?
  3. Will I regret giving up on it?
  4. Is this my last hope?

If you can answer first three questions satisfactorily, then you must continue putting your efforts into that endeavor because it's something that you know that you really want to finish. Your reasons my be personal, and they may certainly involve the livelihood of yourself and your family. Whatever your reasons, you've decided that you want to succeed in it because it's one of the most important things in your life. That means you must persevere and see it through until the end.

If you answered "yes" to the fourth question, I would suggest that you seek assistance from friends, family, business partners, current/former coworkers, and/or a licensed psychologist. For whatever reason, you've decided that your current endeavor is the last one because everything else you've tried has failed. Please understand that there is always a viable solution to whatever problems you encounter.  If you talk to other people, they may give you ideas that you had not thought of before today. Chances are, the solution is waiting just around the corner for you to find it. Don't give up now, as you'd never know if you'd succeed. Persevere!

In closing, the path towards success is a long and winding road. Sometimes the road is flat or on a downward slope, and life might feel calm and cheery. There are times, however, when the road is steep and arduous. The funny things about steep roads is that they always reach a peak, and they either level off, or they start doing downhill again. Road's can't always climb up mountains, so your life can't always be difficult. Perhaps you might even encounter a brick wall that someone decided to build in the middle of the road. Like the late Professor Pausch said, the brick wall's there to test how badly you want something. You'll find a way around (or through) the brick wall if you want it badly enough and persevere long enough to achieve your goals.


Jonathan Becker
ECE PhD Candidate

If you need cheering up, here's a duck. Because cute animals always cheer people up!