Fall Quarter 2017 Magazine Publication students are once again reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, but this time they’ll be reporting on the “Big Magic Day” they led in class. Students, divided into groups based on each chapter, will facilitate a discussion and lead activities that integrate the ideas from Gilbert’s book. Here, Cascadia students Andrew and Jovany share their experience of exploring PERSISTENCE.
Persistence Beyond Reasoning
by Andrew Kim and Jovany Ruiz-Navarrete
It is not uncommon to set an ambiguous goal and then encounter a series of obstacles that seem to be so intimidating that it would be easier to just give up.
As part of our HUMAN 210 course, we were chosen to lead a classroom discussion for Chapter 4 of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic, a chapter all about overcoming obstacles. Since we focused on a chapter titled “Persistence,” we needed to make sure that all points were covered, as well as bring fresh ideas to the class. We had to think of doing something original, considering the fact that we were the fourth group to present by the time it was our turn. Due to this, we decided to bring a mini plush toy of Darth Vader, a character known for creating many obstacles from the highly popular Star Wars films. Not only did we attempt to lighten up the mood, but it brought laughter and smiles as he was handed to each participant when they shared their experiences.
We believe that nearly all of us have been through an experience where persistence played a major factor of overcoming a struggle and achieving success. In order to have our class engage with persistence, we asked everyone to write on a note card a moment from their life where they have encountered obstacles and how they found persistence to help them overcome their struggle and move on. We all had a different range of struggles, from overcoming personal struggles to succeed in education to being able to move on from deep family issues. One thing we all learned from the activity is that we each encountered our own issues, weathered out the issues, and continued to move forward towards a more prospective vision. One specific quote that we were able to explore from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic involved her saying, “Financial demands can put so much pressure on the delicacies and vagaries of inspiration” (153). This helped us with further understanding the whole idea of the chapter as well as being able to fully involve the class and teach Gilbert’s idea of persistence, which is for every one of us to basically not let any obstacle get in the way of our present or future dreams.
After our classroom discussion, we watched a TEDx Talk video of “The Power of Persistence” by Jeff Tao. From his video, he shared an experience that relates to Gilbert’s “Persistence” chapter. From the video, we were moved by his experience as he talked about how he left Malaysia to start a new life in Hong Kong. It wasn’t easy for him as he lived in a very small storage place and received very marginal amounts of money from helping his friend’s company, but he learned to survive that. In addition, when his mom nearly died from a heart attack, his perception changed and he realized that he had to work much harder in order to change his life for the better. He used persistence and hard work to have a better life for himself and his family, and he continued to be a high-profile entertainer in Hong Kong. After showing several of his magic tricks, Tao explained something very important near the end of his speech: “Our life and our time on this planet is very limited and very fragile so go out there, live your dream. Repeatedly do what you love. Persistence beyond reasons and you too can make magic happen.” We agreed that this quote is a very important part of the video because it ties in perfectly with Gilbert’s “Persistence” chapter. The most important thing to remember from this blog is make the best of what you wanted to do and never let the negative perspective get in control of your prospective goals.
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