The value of dedication and perseverance

Magic rarely happens, but can be made more likely

Photo by Kevin Jarrett on Unsplash

I have worked in the IT industry for 20+ years. I have learned that the most worthwhile tasks are not the easy ones. Instead they are the ones that take time and effort to become easy. I have also noticed that this applies to more than just the tech projects.

An example may help illustrate the idea.

For the past month and some I have been tinkering with a cheap 3D printer that needed some tender loving care to get fully operational. The details of the work to be done are highly technical. To be honest, I was in over my head. My local hacker space has reduced their personal interactions due to the pandemic. So I could not easily talk shop with my colleagues there. Asking questions online is always hit and miss if you get a response, or get a response right away. So I was left with Googling for the information I need.

I kept at it. In the process I replaced the controller board, got automatic bed levelling working, replaced the inductive sensor with a BLTouch, and zero’d in the Z-offset. Now I can just send a print job to the printer and it just works. (so far, fingers crossed!)

The secret here is not that I am some technical wiz. It was the perseverance, and dedication to keep trying. Which makes me think that anyone can do the same thing. It was obvious that getting to this point was possible, I just had to find the way that worked for this printer and my level of knowledge. I also had to learn more about a few topics.

The “easy” way to solve this problem would have been to just get a new 3D Printer. Or walk away from it saying “it is too hard”. Both options had unacceptable costs in my opinion. On the one hand I would need to spend a fair bit more money than I was planning and still need to assemble (most likely) the new 3D Printer. Even then I could still run into the exact same maintenance issues I was dealing with. On the other hand I would loose all the benefits of having a functional 3D Printer on hand.

By keeping at it I was able to make the printer fully operational for less money than buying a new printer. In addition the money I did spend could easily be applied to another printer if/when the time comes up. (i.e. the controller board can be moved to a different printer, the plastic filament can be used on any 3D Printer that takes 1.75mm filament, etc.)

Keeping at it is the key.

I am noticing how this concept applies to so much more. Whether it is parenting a blended family of many teenagers, developing a business plan, learning to cook that new dish, or learning to drive.

Setbacks will happen. If the goal is worth it that setback should not be a stopping point. Instead it should be a learning opportunity to indicate a different approach is needed. In this way we can constantly improve our efforts to achieve our goal. As long as we keep at it the goal will arrive soon enough.

Objectivity is useful too though. That setback may be a reflection point to determine if the goal is actually what we want. Some goals have unacceptable consequences we may not see until we are forced to deal with a setback.

If the goal is still desirable after facing the setback(s) then keeping at it is what will make it happen. That may mean learning new ways of thinking, interacting with different people to gain the needed knowledge, or even simply putting in the “grunt” time needed to get the work done. The goal is worth the effort — you’ve already determined that.

Technology enthusiast

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