“If there is no dark and dogged will, there will be no shining accomplishment; if there is no dull and determined effort, there will be no brilliant achievement. Achievement consists of never giving up.” – Xunzi, 313~238 BCE
Xunzi, a philosopher who lived during the Warring States period of China, highlights a fundamental Confucian ideal with this straightforward and concise quote. He states that achievement is never attained through lethargy, negligence, and lack of willpower. Instead, you must act with tenacity, perseverance, and zeal to succeed in anything. Realistically, hard work and determination will not always end with desired results, as failure is inevitable in life. However, a sense of appreciation comes with hard work whether the end result is success or failure. This concept can be applied not only to life at Deerfield, but life outside as well.
We’ve all experienced those days when our schoolwork is piled so high it genuinely seems impossible to finish. You vow to yourself that you will use study hall effectively, and that no distractions will sidetrack your progress. Yet when you turn on your laptop, the very first impulse is to type in “Netflix” or “YouTube.” The next day, you deeply regret the decisions you made the previous night. Either you’re completely sleep deprived, or a portion of your homework is incomplete. Hopefully, this cycle doesn’t repeat itself, which would be detrimental to your academics.
Time after time, we’ve been told that success only comes after you possess the willpower and determination to keep going and to not give up. In an ideal world, we would all be studying, fully focused, from 7:30 to 10:00 every night, self-motivated to cultivate and better ourselves through our schoolwork. Accomplishment doesn’t come easy, hence “dark and dogged will.” As we know, Deerfield, an academically rigorous institution, does push us to our limits. Based on personal experience, I’ve discovered that with a determined spirit, it is possible to complete a 350-line poem, a Chemistry lab, review for a history quiz, and make it in time for practice as well. At the end of the day, the most strong-willed, most persistent person who decides to trudge onwards will be the most successful person. Legacies, money, and connections will only get you so far in life. Success through self-motivation and an indefatigable attitude will undoubtedly be the most rewarding type of success. When I’m old, I want to be able to say that I approached the obstacles, challenges, and difficulties in my life tirelessly and assiduously. I want to be able to state that the milestones, accomplishments, and achievements in my life were due to my own determination and drive.
—Justin Hsu ‘16