Magazine article Management Today

Persistence Pays

Magazine article Management Today

Persistence Pays

Article excerpt

Does it? It rather depends on how you do it. Take these two fundamentally different parables of persistence.

First, the struggling author who writes a book that is rejected 140 times before finally being accepted by a publisher and achieving great success. Second, Thomas Edison, who went through several thousand attempts before finding a workable way to make electric light.

Edison's approach was scientific - if an experiment showed an idea didn't work, he tried a different one. After several thousand experiments, he found one that did. The author's approach was more magical - just keep doing the same thing, try harder, suffer more disappointment, and one day ...

Edison showed creativity, whereas the author was repetitive. Edison valued feedback, learning from each 'failed' experiment. The author made a virtue of ignoring feedback.

The scientific approach values thought, ingenuity and creativity along with persistence. The magical approach almost seems to value persistence and effort as an alternative to any of those other things. Edison is thinking: every time I try something that doesn't work, I learn something that might give a clue to what will work. The author is thinking: every time I get knocked back, every time one of my friends tells me I'm crazy . …

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