Give me an example of how you’ve demonstrated persistence.
I volunteer for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. I was very eager to meet first my “little sister,” but nothing prepared me for what I would be up against. Libby was a 10-year-old second grader whom I had to teach to read. When I met her, she seemed very nice, but she turned out to be one tough customer. Libby really didn’t like to read and would try any way possible to avoid it. During our first couple of meetings, I let her pick out the books that we would read. I didn’t notice that Libby was fooling me. It took until the third week of our meetings for me to finally notice that she had memorized the books that we were “reading.” I was shocked but quickly decided that I would pick out the books during our meetings. Week after week, I would visit her, and she would think up a way to get out of reading. During our hour-long meetings, we would read and play a game. I was determined to help her learn how to read, no matter what this crafty second grader could think up. It took weeks of long games, finding deeply buried toys in the playground sand, and searches for her “missing” book bag, before she gave up. Finally, we picked up the books again, just as we had all those weeks before. This time when she scanned the pages, she was amazed to find that she could read.
I was 14 when I first started to work as a trail guide and trainer at a ranch. I have loved horses my entire life and could not have imagined a better job. When I first started working at the ranch, I had basic riding skills and training techniques, but every day I would put 100 percent into learning how to becoming a better rider and trainer. At 16, I had been working at the ranch for two summers and was given my first horse to personally train. Training a horse can be extremely difficult and potentially a very dangerous process. This big, beautiful two-year-old quarter horse was all my responsibility. Every day I worked with her, starting by teaching her to walk, stop, go, and turn on a lead line. This process was grueling because it takes time and a lot of patience. After a few weeks of ground training, she seemed ready for a saddle and rider, but she would buck, spin, and jump to try and throw me off. Day in and day out, I worked with her, and every time I would get bucked off, I would pick myself up, no matter how hard it hurt, and get back on her. She taught me persistence and patience, and I learned a lot more about myself through this experience. It took three months for her to become a perfectly behaved, wonderful riding horse. I had bruises, scars, and near-death experiences, but this experience has changed my life forever. What I learned in training this horse has carried on into every aspect of my life.
by Chandra Prasad Editor’s note: This article is an excerpt from Prasad’s book, Outwitting the Job Market: Everything You Need to Locate and Land a Great Position, Lyons Press. It’s…
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