The PDF of Life

In this essay, writer Brad Beck explains that the PDF of Life is persistence, determination and failure. Persistence is continuing on even when faced with hardships and barriers. Determination is taking setbacks in stride and reassessing ways and opportunities to continue. Lastly, instead of succumbing to failure, continue to strive for success.

A Portable Document Format (PDF) is an open standard for document exchange. It is used for representing documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems. What does this mean? You can write a Microsoft Word document on a personal computer and convert it to a PDF and send it to someone who has different type of computer or software, and it will look the same even if the operation system is different.

Life can be like a PDF document. Lived in its original format and understood by those who are in one location yet translated and transferred in languages or cultures of others, continents away. To me PDF stands for Persistence, Determination and Failure. Like software formats, these ideas are understood universally.

Persistence: Someone who has an eagerness of effort. Someone who works hard, often fails, yet continues to reach for ideas which they see in their mind. Someone who is ambitious, dedicated, and unwavering. The person who continues in the face of hardship and barriers. Never letting naysayers or self-doubt cloud their vision of a worthy goal. The opposite of persistence is transience, the state lasting only for a short time. Letting defeat and disillusion rule the day.

Determination: The act of coming to a decision or of fixing or settling a purpose. Firm and resolute and always moving forward even when knocked down. Taking setbacks in stride and reassessing ways and opportunities to continue. Never losing the reason why you started and keeping in mind you do it for you first. Making a habit of activities that build up your success every day. The opposite is weakness. The state or condition of lacking strength.

Failure: Proving unsuccessful or lack of accomplishment. Letting your environment dictate your outcome. Not getting up after a setback or series of setbacks. Letting others define you and believing them. Letting go of the idea you once wrote on a napkin and wishing you had started earlier on it. Failure is temporary if you let it. You can determine what causes a failure, assess what to correct the next time, respond in a positive way to overcome the failure, and learn from the situation to move forward. Believing you couldn’t because…you name the reason. The opposite of failure is success.

Recently, I had the opportunity to be part of a committee which was tasked to read, review, and award a financial scholarship from a community service organization to a student going to college or trade school. The task was daunting since each of the applicants was intelligent with high GPA scores. Each student participated in activities such as sports, music, dance, art, academics. All volunteered in their community to make it better place. Each student engaged and sought out opportunities to explore their world while achieving academic success. Many had challenges in their young lives, yet the best written essays by several students were the ones who overcame their failures and were persistent and determined not to let those past situations define them.

In a world ruled by code, software, and technology the human aspect of overcoming adversity by being persistent and determined beats the odds. Staying focused on the prize, and pressing on to solve one’s problems, and perhaps the world’s problems, can be helped by converting success from one operating system to another, even if it is different. Persistence, Determination and Failure. The choice is yours.



4 Responses

  1. I love then concept. Being an acronym guy, this definitely grabs me. I will not look at PDFs the same.. Good stuff.

  2. Great essay Brad … it will make me think of a .pdf file differently every time I open one! Have a GREAT day.

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