Determination and Persistence

by Stephen on November 16, 2009 · 123 comments

in Education, Inspirational Stories, Moral Stories

This is a real life story of engineer John Roebling building the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, USA back in 1870. The bridge was completed in 1883, after 13 years.

In 1883, a creative engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea to build a spectacular bridge connecting New York with the Long Island. However bridge building experts throughout the world thought that this was an impossible feat and told Roebling to forget the idea. It just could not be done. It was not practical. It had never been done before.

Roebling could not ignore the vision he had in his mind of this bridge. He thought about it all the time and he knew deep in his heart that it could be done. He just had to share the dream with someone else. After much discussion and persuasion he managed to convince his son Washington, an up and coming engineer, that the bridge in fact could be built.

Working together for the first time, the father and son developed concepts of how it could be accomplished and how the obstacles could be overcome. With great excitement and inspiration, and the headiness of a wild challenge before them, they hired their crew and began to build their dream bridge.

The project started well, but when it was only a few months underway a tragic accident on the site took the life of John Roebling. Washington was also injured and left with a certain amount of brain damage, which resulted in him not being able to talk or walk.

“We told them so.” “Crazy men and their crazy dreams.” “It’s foolish to chase wild visions.”

Everyone had a negative comment to make and felt that the project should be scrapped since the Roeblings were the only ones who knew how the bridge could be built.

In spite of his handicap Washington was never discouraged and still had a burning desire to complete the bridge and his mind was still as sharp as ever. He tried to inspire and pass on his enthusiasm to some of his friends, but they were too daunted by the task.

As he lay on his bed in his hospital room, with the sunlight streaming through the windows, a gentle breeze blew the flimsy white curtains apart and he was able to see the sky and the tops of the trees outside for just a moment.

It seemed that there was a message for him not to give up. Suddenly an idea hit him. All he could do was move one finger and he decided to make the best use of it. By moving this, he slowly developed a code of communication with his wife.

He touched his wife’s arm with that finger, indicating to her that he wanted her to call the engineers again. Then he used the same method of tapping her arm to tell the engineers what to do. It seemed foolish but the project was under way again.

For 13 years Washington tapped out his instructions with his finger on his wife’s arm, until the bridge was finally completed. Today the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge stands in all its glory as a tribute to the triumph of one man’s indomitable spirit and his determination not to be defeated by circumstances. It is also a tribute to the engineers and their team work, and to their faith in a man who was considered mad by half the world. It stands too as a tangible monument to the love and devotion of his wife who for 13 long years patiently decoded the messages of her husband and told the engineers what to do.

Perhaps this is one of the best examples of a never-say-die attitude that overcomes a terrible physical handicap and achieves an impossible goal.

Often when we face obstacles in our day-to-day life, our hurdles seem very small in comparison to what many others have to face. The Brooklyn Bridge shows us that dreams that seem impossible can be realised with determination and persistence, no matter what the odds are.

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lesley Toche December 6, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Wow! Absolutely impressive. It’s amazing to accomplish certain things that would be considered impossible by most regardless of the fact that plenty has been done in the light of peer opposition. Humans are capable of achieving success under circumstances that are rougher than we could finitely imagine. I had no idea by looking at the Brooklyn bridge, that it was built through such an amazing and inspiring story. We truly never know what we’re capable of until we endeavor exhibition.

2 Pavan January 7, 2010 at 3:36 am

It is a very great achievement …extraordinary.

3 gkaruna January 14, 2010 at 11:18 am

No words to say anything but everyone should know about this site. It is making me strong and strong

4 Satish Reddy January 15, 2010 at 4:50 am

Really it was an amazing story. People who sees this will definitely think of what to do in such sort of situations and will be bold enough with to move ahead with confidence.

5 Sowmya February 23, 2010 at 9:17 am

Excellent, inspiring mind-blowing story. Thanks for providing such kind of real stories in this site. You are making them open to people. Hope you collect more such live stories in this site.

6 Zogu i trembur February 25, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Inspiring story! When I read this, I felt shamefully weak of almost giving up for not finding a job. I’ll continue…

7 Hellen April 12, 2010 at 12:26 pm

This is a very inspiring story coz if it were me am sure i would have given up,but thanx 4 this article am sure to be positive at all times

8 Saurabh Wani April 14, 2010 at 12:15 am

Very very inspirational story. Must read it!!! Really determination and persistence can to us to incredible heights……..all u need is passion and zeal towards any work…….:-)

9 Prakash May 1, 2010 at 2:23 am

very close to heart. Great….:)

10 Afolabi Olalekan May 6, 2010 at 1:41 pm

This is awesome, determination and persistence can defeat any opposition… thanks for the story!

11 Vishakha May 21, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Nice awesome story. Most of us give up soon but here in the story he and his wife never give up, up to 13yrs it was awesome. We all knows this type of story but still many times our problems make us blind and forget this inspirational movement so that to such stories who always work in keeping burning the fire in hearts not to give up at all till u r in world.

12 Chandrashekhar n Chintalwar May 28, 2010 at 1:14 pm

This is called a burning desire. Fly. If can’t then run.. if u cant then walk.. if u cant then scroll… but dont stop just move

Mobility is the progress and construction.

13 Monica Ravisankar June 30, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Really great !!

14 Anna July 26, 2010 at 6:45 pm

You can get nothing without having a desire to achieve..if I didn’t want a glass of water I will never put any efforts towards reaching all you need is a desire. It’s a small word with a big meaning…

A grand salute to John Roebling & his son…and his wife…for the great Job Done…it’s very very interesting fact!!!

15 Sandeep August 2, 2010 at 8:40 am

It is a very inpirational story to motivate the learner.

16 Bella August 5, 2010 at 10:10 am

Wow ….13 years…. it gives a great deal to think about. I’m using this in a speech competition I’m pretty sure it’s a winner!!!

17 Yean Thoong August 7, 2010 at 7:31 am

Nothing is Impossible~ ^ ^

18 Anuj Banka August 14, 2010 at 12:57 am

It was great and heart touching story, teaching a lesson, if you have a spirit of doing something you can do it in any way either losing life or gaining the knowledge.

19 Utkarsh August 22, 2010 at 6:06 am

Great Perseverance!

20 Dramil September 19, 2010 at 3:12 am

It was a wonderful story for motivating and boosting energy in anyone.

21 Athulya September 19, 2010 at 11:42 am

It’s nice.

22 Yogender singh phartyal October 10, 2010 at 12:42 pm


This story has filled me with enough strength that from now onwards I will NEVER BACK DOWN in my whole life, no matter what the situation is.

23 Mayeth November 3, 2010 at 12:08 am

Wonderful story…. True….. Burning desire has devious ways of transmuting itself into its physical reality…. Great example of determination….

24 Sushil November 3, 2010 at 6:51 am

No word to say about this amasing story, but someone tells that “success comes from determination,dedication and hardworking” I think that this statement is correct, which is proved by this story.

25 Samba Sai Kumar November 13, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Great Story, really inspired in our day to day work we will get lot demotivation but still we have to go through work accordingly that require determination and dedication. We face lot of problems but what ever we decide we have to complete then only we will succeed. Only determination will decide either success or failure.

26 Rakesh Bhawtankar December 4, 2010 at 7:31 am

Hats off! What a determination. Wow. Really very inspirable.

27 Phaniviajy January 21, 2011 at 8:34 am

I followed the links close to this story in Wikipedia. What was awe-inspiring about this was the determination of Emily and the way she studied under his husband’s guidance to complete the bridge.

28 Turola February 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm

It is a powerful story. We as human have great capacity to make our dreams come true…

29 aravind February 17, 2011 at 8:01 am

hope can move mountains……

30 Ani Varawa March 4, 2011 at 12:52 am

This is one of the best stories I ever read. These courageous and brave people/hero really teach me not to give up but to believe in myself……………..

31 Seshu March 16, 2011 at 4:21 am

It is a brilliant day for me today as i noticed this site, it has motivated me in such a way that i’m really charged up.

32 pranati March 24, 2011 at 1:49 am

I have discovered a treasure of knowledge through this site. Yesterday I discovered this site just wonderful stories and real motivation for everyone.

33 susi March 25, 2011 at 12:30 am

Wow really very good….

34 GURU April 25, 2011 at 5:28 am


35 Parky :) P6.3 April 25, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Amazing story .. The fact that he tapped the hand for 13 years .. Must be hard for everyone in the story ..

36 Lucas April 25, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Super father and son pair !!!

37 Naresh April 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Amazing story….

38 Meenu Nasa April 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm

great n superb…….
salute to the great family.

39 raviprakash May 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Never let ur dream steal, no matter what. Every great achievement requires a great power.

40 Kajal June 6, 2011 at 2:10 am

Really superb…

41 divya June 9, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Very nice and inspirational…

42 Santhosh Shinde June 15, 2011 at 8:39 am

Thanks for sharing this kind of real life stories. I am very much impressed.

43 Parag June 16, 2011 at 10:44 am


I think I came across this story at a very important stage of my life…… thanks for posting!

44 Lakshmikanth June 29, 2011 at 9:23 am

Very good story, which inspries our engineers to do anything they dream of.

45 Sumit Sodhi July 3, 2011 at 11:31 am

Very nice one. I swear…. will share it with all my friends…. 🙂

46 Vijaya July 13, 2011 at 8:56 am

I just read this story for my speech but after reading this story I inspired a lot . The patience which his wife had is really amazing. Engineers always rockzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

47 Lyka Ricks July 17, 2011 at 3:37 am

The most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come. ~ James Whitcomb Riley.

48 Sarita July 22, 2011 at 6:07 am

Simply wow

49 Maria July 27, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Wow! I am blown away by the story. It jolts you out of your complacency and inspires you to do something great too. Tribute to John and Washington Roebling. The wife of Washington Roebling needs a special mention for her love and persistence in understanding her husbands coded taps. There is an incredible love and understanding between this two people.

50 Ashna Sambhar August 1, 2011 at 5:17 pm

In the fight between wave and rock on seashore, wave always wins… not because of strength but because of persistency. Don’t ever give up until you win… Be the winner.

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