8 Elements of an Elite STEM Professional
Ricky Venters Jr., Professional Engineer (P.E.)
ELEMENT #2 Persistence – [P]
The ability to continue the pursuit of a goal despite any obstacles that arise.
I had the opportunity to listen to Pastor Charles Stanley’s sermon about persistence, and he used an analogy about a new born baby. Babies seemingly only know how to do three things: sleep, eat and cry. At least that’s my conclusion after having three boys of my own. As the days, weeks and months go by they begin to progress in different areas. I remember when my wife and I got so excited when our sons held their heads up or rolled over for the first time. I also remember when they started to crawl, but the most fascinating thing was when they took their first steps. There was something different about this part of the process because it seemed as though, different from the other milestones, walking didn’t come instantaneously. As Stanley states and as I witnessed over and over again, the baby would fall multiple times and each time it falls it gets back up. What is that thing inside of the baby that convinces it to get back up and try again and again? Persistence. We are born with the ability to be persistent but somewhere along our journey in life that trait goes dormant.
Persistence led Thomas Edison to create the electric light bulb and Lewis Latimer to invent the carbon filaments that allowed the bulbs to last longer, to be more efficient and cheaper. Persistence pushed Gerald Lawson to invent the Modern Home – Video Gaming Console that lead to the birth of Xbox, Playstation and Wii. It was through persistence that Dr. Maria Telkes and Eleanor Raymond built the first home entirely heated by solar power and that Hugo Taran Salguero invented the Rotary Engine. Persistence is the key to innovation and that’s why it’s one of the 8 elements of an Elite STEM professional.
So, you may be asking yourself, “What happened to that persistence that I had that no matter how many times I fell, I got back up again. How do I get it back?” Here’s one tip: place yourself around people that are have very strong work ethics. Surround yourself with people that don’t give up when difficulties arise and are high achievers. Here’s the thing; one reason why babies have a desire to walk is due to the simple fact that everyone around them is walking. The power of positive association will push you to new heights and pull things out of you that you would’ve never dreamed. The rebirth of your persistence lies in the desire to reach your full potential.