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  • mono 8:59 pm on January 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Eric Hoffer, notebook, Persistence, , True Believer   

    Persistence Pays 

    “What counts most is holding on. The growth of a train of thought is not a direct forward flow. There is a succession of spurts seperated by intervals of stagnation, frustration and discouragement. If you hold on, there is bound to come a certain clarification. The unessential components drop off and a coherent, lucid whole begins to take shape.” – Eric Hoffer 1961

    For many more brilliant thoughts like the one above, please see: Sparks: Eric Hoffer and the Art of the Notebook

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    • johnnyunicorn 1:16 am on January 26, 2009 Permalink

      Totally right! At the rate I’m going, that clarification will come at about the age of 60. But if that’s how it’s going to be, I’m fine with it.

    • jgrefe 6:21 am on January 26, 2009 Permalink

      I think your reading of Hoffer’s aphorism is in tune with my own reading of it. It’s a comforting aphorism for those moments of bewilderment and, as he says, “frustration.” Shortly before posting it, I was reading an essay that I have spent years re-reading while doubting my own understanding of the reading. Hoffer’s words were comforting. I recommend you check out the link. His other thoughts are equally rewarding.

  • mono 1:37 pm on November 23, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Eric Hoffer, , , , , , , , , Struggling   

    There are no short cuts 

    Eric Hoffer, in his book “Reflections on the Human Condition,” writes, “People who cannot grow want to leap: they want short cuts to fame, fortune, and happiness (47).” For Hoffer, life lies in the ability to grow, that is, in the ability to learn and continue learning. The less attuned you are to the importance of the growth-process, the more you will struggle with outcomes that aren’t to your liking.

    No great undertaking that you embark on will be easy. There are no real short cuts. If you take a hard look at how you were able to achieve something great, you will probably find that it was not an easy process.

    Eight years ago I began learning the Japanese language and now, eight years later, I am still a perpetual beginner. My use of the language how gotten me to great places (at least great in terms of where I wanted to go). Nonetheless, it has never been easy. Mistakes were made and plenty of embarrassing moments happened. The fear of not knowing how to “go on” in conversation or getting caught up in assignments or conversations that suddenly hurtle out of my comprehensive range happen all the time. I’m perpetually struggling to catch-up and tune-in. I know, from this first hand experience, this first-hand struggle, that anyone who speaks, reads, or writes Japanese “fluently,” went through countless hours of preparation and struggle. There is no way to short cut yourself to fluency in a second-language.

    Developing your capacity to grow and learn is necessary if you want to change who are. An adult attitude of “I know it all” will constrain and limit your vision. Again, think about learning a foreign language. There will always be things that you don’t know and there will always be situations that you are not 100% equipped to deal with. You must stay in the learning-mode as much as your capacity allows. The paradox here is that the more you learn, the more you grow and the more your thinking changes. Steer your learning so that it benefits where you want to end up and devote yourself to it wholeheartedly and you’ll be in the stream of growth, the stream of recognizing that if you truly want to achieve something, you’ll have to recognize that there are no short cuts. The more difficult it seems, the more you are growing.

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    • Michael Pick 2:01 pm on November 23, 2008 Permalink

      Nice piece, and a much needed antidote to the hordes of snake-oil shysters peddling their fifteen-second work week, “get rich fast” online sleazebabble.

      Great to hear someone so far along still open to the idea of having a lot more growing to do.

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