Last week, my friend Julia successfully defended her dissertation. She’s now a history Ph.D. It took six years, her entire time since we both graduated from college. That’s a huge commitment — 2,190 days leading to a long-term goal.
In The Dip, marketing guru Seth Godin talks about sticking it out through the right setbacks, and quickly quitting when you hit the wrong setbacks (what software and pharmaceutical R&D people call “fast failure”). It helps to have a long-term vision.
Pop sociologist Malcolm Gladwell talks about needing 10,000 hours of practice to get really good at something. At, say, 55 hours a week, Julia’s Ph.D. took 17,160 hours. That’s a lot of persistence.
What motivates you for the long term? How do you decide whether you’re pursuing the right goals?