Never give up!

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it”
 Thomas Jefferson

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer”
Albert Einstein

Between the determinism of religion and the randomness of everyday life, anybody should be able to find an excuse for taking it easy, going with the flow, and relax on a Sunday afternoon. Indeed, our lives are to a large extent determined by random events (or God’s unpredictable will), and effort may seem pointless, especially if the odds are discouraging.  

However, there is no excuse for giving up. If Joanne Rowling had given up after her manuscript had been rejected 12 times, we would never have known the amazing world of Harry Potter (1). If John Grisham had quit after having his first novel rejected 28 times, we wouldn’t have seen him on the top of the bestseller list almost every year for the last 20 years (2). If George Lucas hadn’t persevered despite Universal calling his manuscript “unproducible,” the Star Wars series wouldn’t have won 10 Academy Awards and grossed several billion dollars at the box office (3)

There is a vast gulf of randomness and uncertainty between any good idea and its widespread adoption. That is why successful people in every field are almost universally members of a certain set – the set of people who don’t give up (4).

What do you think of the idea of “not giving up”? Are there any problems with it? Leave your thought below.

Lykke E. Andersen is the Director of the Center for Economic and Environmental Modeling and Analysis (CEEMA) at the Institute of Advanced Development Studies (INESAD), La Paz, Bolivia.

Related articles: 

(4) Mlodinow, Leonard (2008) The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives. New York: Vintage Books.

 (c) Institute for Advanced Development Studies 2011. Feel free to circulate in its original form. The opinions expressed in this newsletters are those of the author and do not necessarily coincide with those of the Institute or of the sponsors.



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