I wonder what a lion actually feels after having failed to capture his or her prey. I wonder if there is regret, or anger, or embarrassment. It’s hard to imagine they have feelings organized intellectually like we do, being able to categorize them. But I don’t doubt they have the feeling we need to have that night or the next morning. They know they need to get up and try again.
A confessional and cautionary tale is needed here. Before I was the Napkin Dad, before I lived in Oklahoma and went into interactive and internet development and design, I was a teacher. I taught drawing, art appreciation, figure drawing, art and design at the community college level at 3 different institutions in Northern California. I was part-time for 9 years. I tried for 8 of those years to land a full-time position. I applied to hundreds of jobs all around the country.
The job with the least amount of applications over that time was in a west Texas town that had a prison as it’s main employer. They had over 100 applications. The job with the most applications was the University of Virginia, which had over 600 applications for the particular job I applied for. I was a finalist many a time, but never landed the full-time gig.
It took just as much courage for me to decide to give up on that dream and find myself another as it did for me to get up every morning for those 8 years and decide to try again. During the 9th year, instead of applying for teaching positions, I spent the time retraining myself as a commercial artist using computer software. I started applying for educational software design jobs and landed one in 1994. My family and I moved, sight unseen, to Tulsa and I began a new career as an entry-level employee at age 39.
Persistence is important, I believe in it. But wisdom is important too. Wisdom to know when to change direction, when to ask for directions, when to test the wind, test the waters, test yourself. Be wise and persistent.
Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman of The Napkin Dad Daily
Quote by Mary Anne Radmacher, American author