Ann Curry on Perseverance

Ann CurryNews journalist Ann Curry [Today show etc] was born in Guam to a Japanese mother and a father of predominantly French and Scots-Irish descent from Colorado. [Wikipedia profile.]

She has talked about how her multi-ethnic background was at times in her life painful, but has also helped fuel her ambition to achieve, along with the inspiration from her parents.

“From my mother, I got an attitude that’s fundamental to me,” Curry said in an interview.

“She used to say, ‘gambaru.’ It’s a Japanese term that means ‘Never, ever give up, even if there’s no chance of winning.’

More than a survivor

“Gambaru symbolized her life. She survived bombing raids during the war in Japan, starvation on the rice farm where she grew up, racism in America right after the war. From my father I got this ‘be of service’ thing. He’s the guy who said, ‘Ann, try to be of some service.’

“But gambaru is also why a poor girl, from a family without any history of anyone going to college — a mixed-race girl, no less; a girl growing up in a family where the mother barely spoke English correctly — could rise and become someone who speaks in English to millions of people every day.”

[From MORE magazine, July/August 2006.]


This word “gambaru” has a lot of meaning relevant to how we live and pursue success. An English translation of a Japanese article says: “Gambaru is, for one thing, a process-oriented concept that emphasizes the moral significance of an effort, or doryoku.

“What is important is that one makes the sincerest effort possible, and the outcome of that effort is secondary at best, and, in many situations, completely irrelevant. In other words, in the value system of gambaru, the process of making an effort is intentionally dissociated from the outcome that the effort brings, so that the effort can be evaluated, and admired, on its own merit.” [Lost In Translation blog.]

Motivation – the key to genius

Gaining a high level of achievement and fulfillment may depend on that kind of attitude, and on motivation and perseverance.

Carol S. Dweck, PhD, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford, thinks “our society tends to believe that geniuses are born, not made.

“And I wouldn’t dispute that there might be a strong innate component, but it’s just clear from the histories of so many geniuses that motivation is a key component.

“And when you sift through the literature on creative genius, the researchers agree that motivation is perhaps the number one component in the realization of genius.”

From my post It takes more than talent to find your true potential.

Also see Grit and perseverance mean more than talent and high aptitude.