Last posted: 27/12/2015
I love movies, TV shows, anime and video games that features a badass geniuses. There are countless examples; some of my favorites are Sherlock Holmes, Yukawa Manabu from the Japanese TV series Galileo and L from Death Note.
There many reasons why I love them, ranging from their quirkiness to their eccentricity which reminds me a lot of myself, and there are many things that can be learned from them. One of the biggest reason why I love watching them is one of the key characteristic they possess; persistence.
In my opinion, what makes these characters incredible geniuses and highly admirable is their persistence. I’m sure their intellectual sharpness are honed because of their persistence. They just refuse to back down in the face of a difficulties and challenges they can’t overcome, even to point of driving them to near insanity sometimes (Such as the scene in Sherlock Holmes (2009) where Sherlock resorted to recreating the satanic ritual of Lord Blackwood in order to figure out his tricks).
You never see these geniuses give up at all; the fact they refused to back down makes them so admirable.
I’m sure you’ve heard persistence is a key trait when it comes to be successful in anything. It is so ubiquitous that it’s like a cliche when it comes to learning to be successful.
However it is a cliche for a reason, and to me it is the number one trait to be successful in anything. It is imperative that every skill takes hard work to accomplish it. There are countless quote on persistence like “Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you drive in.” by Bill Bradley, just hit up google and search for “persistent quotes” and you’ll find many to motivate yourself.
Of course, having persistence is a lot easier said than done. It is very easy for us to just throw in the towel and give up. I’ve seen countless times my students succumb to challenging problems and just ask for solutions, rather than wreck their brains to figure it out by themselves.
Let’s face it, when it comes to studying or learning anything, getting stuck on difficulties happens all the time. It is not about getting over them and be done with it, but learning how to enjoy overcoming challenges.
Actually the process of wrecking my brain to figure things out is actually what makes studying fun and enjoyable. There are countless times when I ran into a problem that I can’t solve, getting all frustrated and confused; but I refuse to give up, stuck at it, slowly chip away at it and until I figure it out.
The most dramatic example I have is deriving the One-Dimensional Heat Equation, which took me about 10 months to succeed in deriving it. Although it is a very long time, I figured it out all by myself in the end, and the fact I stuck at it for so long makes the solution more meaningful to me.
Of course I didn’t spend that 10 months just working on trying to derive the Heat Equation, as my mathematical proficiency isn’t sufficient for that. So I put it aside and brush up on my mathematics, and also took a few steps back and studied more basic thermodynamics, which eventually led me to successfully derive the Heat Equation:
How to Cultivate Persistence?
Persistent, like any trait, can be cultivated by conscious effort. It takes time to hone it. The next time you'll run into any trouble, just stick at it a little longer. Deliberately go against every desire you have to give to up and look for an easier way.
Of course also be smart about it, don't get yourself stuck for too long. It's okay to stop going at it so hard for a break, and take a few steps back.
Like in the process of deriving the Heat Equation, I had to take a few steps back and work on easier things, which is another important study skill to cultivate. Not only you’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to work smart as well.
So start to show a bit more persistence, just a simple “I REFUSE TO GIVE UP!”, and start thinking about ways to tackle the problem will do. Stick at it and tough it out.
It is like trying to climb a moutain
Practice sticking to a difficult problem for a longer period of time. Slowly you’ll get more and more persistent. Persistence definitely takes time to cultivate, but it’s crucial to achieving the success you set yourself to do, and it pays off!
So start being a shameless persistent prick that just refuse to back down now!