After-hours at a recent workshop, the conversation went slightly off the beaten track and people began to swap stories about what they learned from different challenging or funny moments in their careers. Several times, the topic of resilience came up. It’s one of the most important characteristics a researcher can develop. Everyone has heard about Thomas Edison, and how often he failed to develop a light bulb. By his own account, he had two successes from over 3000 attempts.
A contemporary Edison, when it comes to resilience, is Jia Jiang. Last year, he quit his job at Dell to follow his dream of becoming the next Bill Gates. When a potential investor pulled out at the last moment, he felt crushed.
At the start of this year, Bloomberg News reported on how he bounced back from this upset by starting his project 100 Days of Rejection Therapy. Each day he set himself a challenge where it’s quite likely the person would say no. His only selection criterion is that the challenge must be ethical (no lying or marriage-undermining), legal and doesn’t defy the laws of physics. He videos each exchange and writes up his experience on his blog. Situations range from asking a stranger to lend him $100 to asking a professor if Jia can deliver a lecture to his students.
What helps you to keep going, when results are not going your way?