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Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common
than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

— Calvin Coolidge

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes. I have committed it to memory at various times in my life and had it posted on the wall of my office on many occasions.

I am a firm believer that the tortoise always wins the race in the end. Every worthwhile journey is long and arduous. Determination and persistence compel me to continue to put one foot in front of the other and trod on.

Go away, I’m looking for truth

The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for truth,” and so it goes away. Puzzling.

— Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I actually sent this quote to an internal recruiter once. I had been through several interviews with the company and it seemed that I was progressing towards a job offer. I was excited about the company and it looked to me to be a very good fit.

And then came that one final interview with one of the partners. Within the first fifteen seconds of our conversation I knew that an offer would not be forthcoming. It was clear that she had already made up her mind before the call even began. When the recruiter called a few days later to say that the firm had decided to not move forward I was deeply puzzled.

The Illusion of Knowledge

The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents and the ocean was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge.

— Daniel Boorstin

To really appreciate the profundity of this quote you have to think back to Galileo (1564 – 1642) and his epic battle with the Roman Catholic church over the nature of our solar system. Although Copernicus (1473 – 1543) had developed the heliocentric theory a hundred years earlier, the “prevailing wisdom” maintained that the earth was at rest at the center of the universe while the sun and the planets revolved around it.

But Galileo had a telescope — and became convinced that Copernicus was right. He championed the sun-centric “theory” at great personal risk. He was declared a heretic, forced to recant, and spent the last years of his life under house arrest. The church did not lift its ban on the general prohibition against works advocating heliocentrism until 1758.