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« The Best Teachers Teach From the Heart, Not From the Book | Main | To Those Who Knock »

May 21, 2015



Thanks for a wonderful and authentic anecdote. It is daunting to read about the years of uncertainty and rejections, and worse the almost-run experience of 2009. Yet, it's uplifting to know that the hard work sometimes pays off and can impart you with a sense of confidence and satisfaction.

I am reminded of the popular saying from Louis Pasteur,
"In the field of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind."
I interpret this as, "Yes, there is a significant factor called luck, but only for those who work hard and are ready to receive it." Rajiv's case fits this concept very well. Perhaps there is no secret to success, no winning formula, other than perseverance and optimism in the face of long years of ardor and tedium.

The following is an excerpt from a biographical website about this famous French scientist:
In the summer of 1856, M. Bigo, a beetroot alcohol manufacturer from Lille approached Pasteur for advice on failures he had been experiencing at his factory. ...Pasteur gladly offered his services [pro bono?]. For the next period he would visit the factory daily, returning to his laboratory to view the beetroot juice globules with the microscope and conduct experiments with the stove. Initially he had thought there was some significant difference between the filtered and non-filtered beetroot juice. Later in his notes he would write "error" and "erroneous," criticizing himself.

Pasteur then "by chance" came upon a significant observation: through the microscope: he observed that healthy fermentation produced round globules and they lengthened as alteration began, becoming very long and slender at the point they became lactic. This allowed manufacturers to observe the health of fermentation during their manufacturing processes.

...Unknown to him at the time, Pasteur had begun down a path that would develop the new science of Microbiology and at the same time revolutionize Chemistry.
(source: )

Mark Dennen

Yes, it was luck and the harder he worked, the luckier he got! I believe people make most of their own luck and unfortunately, they also make most of their own problems, but that is another story.


Well written and I am going to share this with Nicholas! Keep up the good work and believe in yourself :)

Ex Rable Rouser

Rajiv, a great story and thanks for sharing your first hand experience.

"Formula and quantified data"; young students today tend to apply scientific methodology to everything instead of going with their hearts and experimenting. Professors also like to give "tests" of various kinds based on formula and quantified data. Students spend a lot of time and work very hard trying to score high in those tests. It's kind of like seeing the trees but missing the forest. Symptoms of Age of Big Data?

We tend to carry the same mentality to our work place. Many projects take very long time to complete instead of trully understand the issues at hand and seek some not so perfect solutions. We need more balanced approaches both in life and at work. I like Mark's remark : "people make most of their own luck". Was the guy who invented "Post It" at 3M lucky or saw both the trees and forest through hard work?

Collette Son

Best part of it, believe in yourself. When things turn bad, we tend to walk away from ourselves. That's worst enemy. Thank you, R smile emoticon

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