If you find that you are losing momentum (be it school or a job search) one of the best remedies is to pick out a biography/memoir of someone you admire.
When a paper or an exam doesn’t turn out the grade you had hoped, do not despair or give up. This is all part of the learning process. Talent by itself does not necessarily bring about perfect days, weeks, or months. Drive, determination, and a steady disposition are required to get ahead.
The Remedy: stroll through the “Biography” section of your bookstore to get ideas. Try anything from political figures, athletes, business people, musicians, to writers. Reading someone else’s story of overcoming obstacles will motivate you to push through difficult times.
This is not a tidbit solely for the college student but for anyone who, when faced with a rejection or obstacle, needs a nudge to keep working and moving forward.
I tend to gravitate towards writers and political figures but really this works for any field. Don’t get into a rut and wait around for inspiration. Go out and read about people who’ve achieved great things despite difficult circumstances. Biographies are not only inspiring but they also make us laugh, remind us that we’re only human, provide us unique access to a historical window, and they keep things in perspective.
Here are a few suggestions from my bookshelf:
- Simone de Beauvoir, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter
- Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
- Mohandas K. Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments with Truth
- Queen Noor, Leap of Faith
- David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day
- Dave Eggers, Zeitoun
- Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air
- Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes
- Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out With me? …Don’t judge me on this one. I think she’s adorable.