Action is Courage (Wiser Next Week: On Persistence)

Action is Courage (Wiser Next Week: On Persistence)

About the Wiser Next Week Series: These entries will involve posting my book, Wiser Next Week, chapter by chapter, freely available to the public. Additionally, I’ll be recounting a story about something I’ve learned based on the chapter’s topic since the months that have past when the book was published in December 2018.


Looking For More Adventure

While being a teacher in Bangkok, Thailand, I started getting bored, especially towards the end of the school year. It was the same lesson format over and over with very little variation. I wondered to myself how some of these long standing teachers could handle doing the same thing year in year out.

I began looking outward for other things I could do beyond work that were both personally exciting and goal driven at the same time. Eventually I came up with the idea of being a guest lecturer at a university. I was teaching kids age 11-16 at the time and the thought of speaking in front of 20, 21 year olds sounded like a new challenge I was more then willing to take on.

“Hi, So Umm… Can I Teach Your Class?”

Plus I wanted the bragging rights of being a “university guest lecturer’ at the age of 24. So after a few months gathering survey data and compiling it into a research presentation. I then went to local college campuses to knock on professors’ doors to see if any of them would be willing to have me with my pitch basically being boiled down to,

“Hey, can I teach your class?”

The answers I got were varied, ranging from front desk staff that addressed me as “doctor” (whoa slow down there, I barely finished undergrad) to being asked if I was a student, to getting hung up on on the phone.

I remember one professor in the foreign language department in particular. While I was making my proposal, he started covering his mouth, an obvious sign that he didn’t like what he was hearing. After I had finished he began roasting me on what a terrible idea he thought my research was.

Well that hurt my ego a bit as I had put months of time and effort into putting my proposal together. I wasn’t going to give up so easily though.

Out of the many crazy things this fellow did to numb the feeling of rejection, one of them was asking UT Austin professors if he could teach their class. He inspired me to do guest lectures in Thai Unis.

Ryan Holiday in his book The Obstacle Is the Way put it best when he said:

You’ve got to act now and make the most out of what you have. Remember that action is the most fundamental form of courage. Greet whatever obstacles that stand before you with:

  • Energy
  • Persistence
  • Coherent and Deliberate Process
  • Iteration and Resilience
  • Pragmatism
  • Strategic Vision
  • Craftiness and Savvy
  • An eye for opportunity
Our actions may be impeded, but there can be no impeding our intentions or disposition. Marcus Aurelius design by Kingston S Lim

After god knows how many rejections, I decided to take a slightly different approach. Instead of going to the college campuses after work when many of the professors were gone. I used the time I had during lunch and between lessons to take a motorbike taxi to try and catch them then.

Eventually, I got one professor willing to have me it took me getting her to say yes on two separate occasions. In the end I got what I wanted it just too a lot longer then expected. I just needed to outlast any obstacles that stood in my way.

It took countless hours to get here but I glad I did it. February 2020

Here is the “On Persistence” chapter of Wiser Next Week. Take it and implement it into your own life.


Previous Chapters

“I Didn’t Know How to Do Laundry” Wiser Next Week Intro

“The Spray & Pray Teacher” Wiser Next Week: On Emotions

“Show Them Your Greatness” Wiser Next Week: On Fear

“Psychological Ownership” Wiser Next Week: On Loyalty

“Strategically Smile to Get What You Want” (Wiser Next Week: On Happiness)

“Your Body is a Car” (Wiser Next Week: On Health)

“The Gift of Time and Age”(Wiser Next Week: On Aging & Death)

“Project Your Life 5 Years Ahead” (Wiser Next Week: On Regrets)

“You’re Doing it Wrong” (Wiser Next Week: On Mistakes and Failures)

“Align Principles With Action” (Wiser Next Week: On Goals and Persistence)


10 thoughts on “Action is Courage (Wiser Next Week: On Persistence)

  1. I share a similar experience. Nearing the end of my undergrad, I was asked to lead a freshman seminar on Plagiarism. I was a writing tutor at the time and the tutoring director recommended me for the session. Through that little opening and persistence, I eventually became the coordinator of tutoring at the same college several years later. Sometimes, little windows of opportunity become doorways to new careers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: ”See Things As They Are, Not How You Wish Them To Be” (Wiser Next Week: On Perception) – Kingston S. Lim

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