Thoughts on Persistence

Have you ever watched a child who is learning to walk?

She first pulls herself up using the couch or a table leg, then turns and takes a step. Or two.

BAM! Down she goes.

What occurs next is a minor miracle – she pulls herself up and tries again!

Eventually, she succeeds! (and the peace of the household is forever gone.)

What’s happening here?

The baby shows resilience, the ability to get back up after she falls.

She also shows persistence, the ability to keep going after the fall.

You may have heard that insanity is repeating the same actions while expecting different results.

Clearly our baby is doing something that allows her to, ultimately, succeed!

I believe she is learning from her experience and applying what she learns to do better the next time.

That, in a nutshell, is the theme of my chapter in Resilience.

If you want to be resilient, you need two things: persistence and planning. Persistence to help you regain your feet when you lose balance and planning to help you move forward toward your goal.

— Presented at the Bookworm in Omaha, Nebraska, August 19, 2017

Where Ideas Are Born

We were sitting at the local Panera and discussing the idea of writing a BOOK! (I was there for the food and because my spouse wants to move into professional speaking. Personally, I like where I am. I’m a computer programmer; I sit is a cubical most of the day and interact with my computer. The computer dutifully does as I tell it; most of the time it even does what I want it to do! My interest in professional speaking is oriented toward helping others, including my spouse, in their quest.)

At one point, our editor looked straight at me and asked “Mark, what’s your chapter about?” Up to that point, I hadn’t given the idea any thought, so I mumbled something along the line of “I’ve heard several people speaking recently and I can’t compare.” (One speech was by a rape survivor; a second speaker had recovered from a serious automobile accident. You get the idea.) “My best story is about the time my pine wood derby car not only lost the race, it failed to start!” In response, our editor asked “What did you learn from that?”

Thus was born the idea for my chapter in Spotlight on the Art of Grace: “Turning Life Experiences into Learning Experiences.”

There is, of course, a chasm between an idea, an experience, and a title to an actual chapter!

What should an aspiring author do to get started?

You can do what I did; pick a topic from your experience, find a group of writers who can offer mutual support, and , above all else, start writing. Don’t worry about selling the book! Pick a story, write a chapter, finish the book. All else will be taken care of.