Monday, April 4, 2011

Patience, Passion, Persistence

By Jenny Bloom, Ed.D.

This article is reposted by permission of the author. It originally appeared here.

When I worked with MD/PhD students at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign I always reminded them that the 3 P’s of Patience, Passion, and Persistence were key in completing both degrees. Keep in mind that it takes an average of eight years to complete both degrees and that did not include the 3-7 additional years that they faced in pursuing a medical residency. They needed their fair share of each of the 3 P’s.

Since I left Illinois to take a faculty position at the University of South Carolina, I have realized that those 3 P’s are not only the keys to success for MD/PhD students, they are the keys to success for all of us. Patience is needed to make sure that our anxiety over facing the unknown doesn’t preemptively cause us to make a premature decision. Patience certainly isn’t one of my strengths, but as I have gotten older I have realized the benefits of being patient, especially when faced with critical decisions about my future. A good night’s rest can be the best strategy for making good decisions.

Passion is the fuel that allows us to accomplish great things in life. Identifying our passions is one of the most important tasks we face in young adulthood. I know that my passion is helping others make the most of their educational experiences, but I haven’t always known that. I had to spend a long time trying many different jobs and activities before finally being able to put my finger on the commonalities between all of the things that I love doing. Marcus Buckingham in his series of DVDs titled Trombone Player Wanted defines strengths as the activities that make us feel strong. He provides three clues to help individuals identify their strengths by encouraging people to look back on the previous week and answer the following questions:

1.What activities did you look forward to doing?

2.What activities were you doing that while you were doing them the time just flew by?

3.What activities did you do that afterwards you felt contented and fulfilled?
These types of questions might just help you figure out where your passions and strengths lie.

Persistence is the third “P” and an important one at that. Persistence is all about getting up after you have fallen down and dusting off your knees more determined than ever to accomplish your goals. You will make mistakes and the key is that you must learn from your mistakes so that you don’t repeat them again. As DeWitt Jones in his DVD titled Everyday Creativity says, you have to turn win-lose situations into “win-learn” situations. After you have made a mistake, it is important to reflect on what you can learn from the mistake and what specific steps you can take to avoid repeating the same mistake.

I hope this information on Patience, Passion, and Persistence is helpful as you seek to achieve your dreams and goals.


Buckingham, M. (2007). Trombone player wanted [video]. Carlsbad, CA: The Marcus Buckingham Company.

Jones, D. (Director). (1999). Everyday creativity [video]. Zepher Cove, NV: Dewitt Jones Productions.

Jennifer L. Bloom, Ed.D., serves as clinical associate professor and Director of the Higher Education and Student Affairs Master’s Degree Program in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of South Carolina. She also serves as an adjunct associate professor for the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign. She previously served as the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and the Medical Scholars Program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign (2003-2007). She was elected to the position of President of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) for the 2007-08 term. Her research interests include academic advising, career paths in higher education administration, leadership, and change.

Be sure to check out Jenny Bloom's blog and connect with her via Twitter.

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