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Reflection – Jun Shao

by on November 29, 2007

Inspiration and Hard Work
Lokesh’s father shared his personal experience and knowledge with us in today’s class. Those stories were instructive. He emphasized that hard work was essential to success. As Thomas Edison said, genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.[1] Rather than emphasize one over the other, I would like to say that both of them are the factors important to success.

Hard Work Realizes Inspiration
There is always an illusion that if a person had great inspirations he or she would not have to work. However, it is work that makes people exceptional, not inspirations. Professor Michael Howe and colleagues at Exeter University examined outstanding performances in area and could not find anyone who reached the highest levels of achievement without thousands of hours of work and practices, whether in music, mathematics, chess, or sports.[2] Mozart practiced over 12 hours a day for over a decade in order to produce his first acknowledged masterpiece and he never had a happy childhood.

Inspiration might provide an early advantage, but many people lose their edge by not putting enough effort. There were so many people who used to work on Minix. Some of them were stroke by the idea of developing a new operation system. However, only Linus kept working on it for years and finally released Linux. The concept of social network on the internet arose in 1997. Six years later a programmer Mark Zuckerberg presented us Facebook which brought triumph after years of his hard work.

We overvalue inspiration and undervalue hard work because we don’t see what goes on behind the scenes. We see Gravity Theory not years that Isaac Newton spent in his lab.

In all, hard work is the assurance of realizing inspiration. Without hard work, inspiration makes little sense. What’s more, people can not wait for inspiration. Most of their inspirations come during their work. As Marion Boddy-Evans said in her blog, if you always wait until you feel inspired before you paint, you’re wasting a lot of time.[3] You have to keep painting to get inspirations.
Inspiration Drives Hard Work
First, inspiration motivates people to work. It provides a promising vision and an encouraging goal of your work. We are inspired to work for great ideas, such as eBay. Inspiration creates belief of success in your daily work.

Without inspiration, people end up with hard work with pain. In that case they just work for work. They just meet customer requirements. Lokesh’s father told us that we should work 110 percents for customers. We should work beyond customer expectation. If we simply want to get job done, we just meet customer requirements. We have to find something else which will make us work hard. One of the answers is inspiration.

As a developer, I believe that coding is an art and just like any other kind of art, like painting, it requires inspiration. Why is it that a painter’s need for inspiration is not debated, but a developer’s need for inspiration is? Their task is the same. They are trying to turn nothing into something. So does other jobs. The inspiration out performs just hard work every time. Therefore people will enjoy their work and think of more ways to improve and enhance the job.

Inspiration and hard work rely on each other. We can not simply separate one from the other to achieve success. To some extent, inspiration shows the road to success and we work hard to accomplish the journey. Both of them are very essential to success.
[1] . (2007). Thomas A. Edison Quotes. Retrieved Nov. 28, 2007, from
[2] Freeman, J., Span , P., & Wagner , H. (2007). Actualizing Talent. Cassell plc, Stanley House

[3] Boddy-Evans, M. (2007). Monday Motivator: Don’t Wait for Inspiration. Retrieved Nov. 28, 2007, from

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