Wednesday, December 05, 2007

 

Persistence


I (re)started thinking about this concept after a recent set of comments on Emily's blog, The Stark Raving Cello Blog, where she noted that "...the only difference between those who succeed and those who don't is persistence."

So I started looking for definitions and examples of persistence. For some reason, I thought I remembered from my college physics that one of the quarks was named "persistence". It turns out I was wrong, and their names ("flavors") are actually 'up', 'down', 'charm', 'strange' (my favorite quark), 'top', and 'bottom'. Whew, quarks and leptons. The Wikipedia descriptions of these particles and their properties quickly twisted my brain into a knot, and I realized I was in way over my head. As it turns out, I could not find any special use of the term persistence in particle physics, other than its standard usage.

Anyway, that's what diverted me onto yesterday's rant about cosmologists mucking around with "my" universe. I say they should just leave it and all those other possible universes alone.

Now, back to persistence. I selected a bunch of quotations that seemed relevant, so I'm posting them here:

Energy and persistence conquer all things. — Benjamin Franklin

Arriving at one point is the starting point to another. — John Dewey

Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm. — Winston Churchill

Failure is the path of least persistence. — unknown

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. — John Quincy Adams

The heights by great men reached and kept / Were not attained by sudden flight, / But they, while their companions slept, / Were toiling upward in the night. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Home run hitters strike out a lot. — Reggie Jackson

What Is Persistence? Persistence is the ability to maintain action regardless of your feelings. You press on even when you feel like quitting. When you work on any big goal, your motivation will wax and wane like waves hitting the shore. Sometimes you’ll feel motivated; sometimes you won’t. But it’s not your motivation that will produce results — it’s your action. Persistence allows you to keep taking action even when you don’t feel motivated to do so, and therefore you keep accumulating results. Persistence will ultimately provide its own motivation. If you simply keep taking action, you’ll eventually get results, and results can be very motivating. — Steve Pavlina

Somehow, something is lacking here, but I don't quite have it figured out yet. So, I'll probably come back to this later on.


So far this week I've seen three cellos in various TV shows: in "Brothers and Sisters" (yuck - but Y likes it, so it's on in the background while I surf) a cello is the sole instrument used in a wedding; in "Heroes" (I'm a fan) when Kristen Bell (aka Veronica Mars!!), enters her father's study to snoop, there's a cello and a music stand in the corner; and in "Life" (I like this one too) the husband of the killer-of-the-week is an eccentric theoretical physics professor, who plays the cello. What's going on?


So what's your favorite quark?

Comments:
Persistence is chipping away at the slab of marble until you have a thing of beauty.
 
All I know is, persistent is not a good thing when it's applied to snow.
 
I'll have a charmed quark, with spin of 1.5. :)
 
I started playing the cello exactly a year ago, at age 49, and I thoroughly enjoy your blog. I also find it to be quite inspirational. I am a behavior analyst, so I know that persistence is the result of intermittent reinforcement. You engage in a behavior, such as practicing the cello, and are occasionally reinforced(reinforcement increases behavior), possibly by playing a note particularly well or receiving a compliment from your teacher. Though you may not receive reinforcement for awhile, you are likely to continue the behavior because your history of reinforcement indicates that if you do so long enough you may contact reinforcement again. However, if you practice over a long period of time without any reinforcement, the behavior of practicing may eventually go away(extinction). I must go now and try to contact some practice reinforcement.
 
I once read a quote by a sculptor who said all he does is chip off everything that doesn't look like a statue. Since we learners spend so much time removing all those bad habits (poor postures, inappropriate tensions, etc.), once we've gotten rid of all those things that don't belong, I guess what will be left are cellists?

I'm sure familiar with persistent snow - what falls here in December stays on the ground until April.

Aack! Emily, I forgot about quark's spin (isn't it also known as color?) My head started spinning as I tried to understand how something could have a spin of 1.5 ...

Welcome, Ellen, to my blog. Aside from the positive feedback from my teacher, most of my reinforcement comes from our weekly orchestra - and more recently from our weekly cello trio + viola rehearsals. These are also great incentives to keep on practicing.
 
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