Originally Posted by lizthefair
I'd say if you could only be smart or only be tenacious, tenacious wins out every time.
I often see similar things about tenacity, "never give up" and so forth. And, to be sure, there are those situations whereby multiple failures are just stepping stones to success. The famous anecdote of Edison who tried 1,000 ways to make the incandescent bulb is a case in point. (“We now know a thousand ways not to build a light bulb.”)
But at some point, reality has to take hold. Sure, Edison was on to something, no doubt, but tenacity to the exclusion of all else is called "obsession" and can be monumentally destructive. Allow me to share this true story with you:
A cousin of mine was bound and determined to be an NHL star. His parents, while at first somewhat cautious, decided to support him 100%. He worked and worked and worked, spent thousands upon thousands on powerskating lessons, went to professional hockey camps, used every spare moment studying the game and working out, meeting current NHLers and getting tips. At the age of 16 he was considered a local "legend in the making" because of his prowess on the ice.
He pursued his dream to the exclusion of all else. He dropped out of school, his parents spent huge sums in support of his goal, and the only friends he had were hockey buddies.
Between practice sessions one January afternoon, he slipped on the ice and shredded some ligaments in his right knee. Surgery helped, but his dreams of playing professionally were gone.
He now works as a produce stacker at a local grocery store making about $9 an hour.
Absolutely true story.
Maybe some common sense coupled with tenacity might have been in order. I don't know, I'm not the Acme Judgement Company. Just seems sad that his dreams that he worked so hard for vanished when his knee gave way.