5 Lessons on Dedication From Gene Dolgoff

Inventor of the first LCD projector shares his thoughts on perseverance.

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Ritika Trikha.jpg
Ritika Trikha
Gene Dolgoff is best known for his invention of the digital projector, the world's first LCD projector and the inspiration behind the Star Trek holodeck. And he knows a thing or two about serious dedication.

Dedication is a highly sought-after characteristic that every job seeker must have, but it's a lot easier said than done. To be a successful job candidate, you should be able to point to something you've done (whether it's from previous work experience or your personal side project or blog) that you can say, "Look, I've seen a mission from start to finish and I didn't give up when the going was tough."

For Dolgoff, his dedication to innovation and technology never wavered. He started fixing neighbors' televisions as a child and even started creating holograms at age 14. Now, he's the chief executive officer of 3-D Vision, a research company specializing in emerging 3-D TV and computer field technology. Recently, he's even launched a lifelong goal: a project for converting any 2-D content into 3-D, currently featured on Fundable at fundable.com/3-dvision.

Often, when we hear of these success stories from innovators, we only witness the highlight reel of their accomplishments. Yet behind immeasurable success lies a series of failures, sweat, and heartache.

Dolgoff offers us these five tips on staying dedicated through it all:

1. Determine what's worthwhile for you. You can't stay dedicated to your pursuit unless you feel it's worthwhile. "It's really important to spend whatever time you need to determine what your goals really are," he says. Whether it's for a cause, campaign, or progress—it's better to sit down and think about what kind of imprint you want to leave in this world than, say, pursuing something aimlessly.

"You have to discover what special skills and abilities you have and ask yourself: 'If I had all the money I needed to take care of my living expenses, what would I really enjoy spending my time doing?'" he says.

2. Formulate a plan and stick with it. After you pinpoint your goal, you need a plan that can provide you with an income, even if it appears it will be a long road to get there, he says. "Sometimes you will have setbacks and disappointments, and sometimes you will have to modify your plan," he says. "No matter what, just keep going."

In fact, the setbacks actually add fuel to the ultimate satisfaction you will eventually receive—if you see it through. "I believe it's the only way to live a happy and satisfying life," Dolgoff says. "Just floating in the ocean and letting the currents drag you wherever they will deprives you of any feeling of power over your life."

3. Have faith in yourself. Dolgoff went through many years of study and trial and error before he designed and built the world's first digital projector in 1984—and was positive it would work. But when he finally turned it on, "the pixels were unbelievably noticeable and the image was nowhere near as bright as I thought it would be," he says. "Instead of the finished project, this accomplishment was only a valiant first step."

Plowing through his initial disappointment, Dolgoff says he went back to analyze and define each problem to find creative solutions. "I eventually solved all the problems, which made the final accomplishment even more rewarding," he says.

4. Have patience. It was a long winding road to the world's first digital projector. The idea came to him back in 1968, which then led to experimentation for three years. Still, it took another 13 years to garner all the components to create the prototype. Even after that, it took four more years until Dolgoff found someone to fund it—but his excitement stayed lit. "Having a good idea and turning it into a financially successful venture that makes a difference are worlds apart," he says. "Making that leap requires perseverance and the ability to ignore negative advice and a lack of progress for however long it takes."

5. Focus on the good parts. Above all, the key to staying dedicated is to stay positive. Embrace the journey rather than suffering with the thought that eventually you'll get there, Dolgoff says. The latter is a recipe for a miserable life. Look past the upsets, setbacks, and annoyances. "Instead, look for and concentrate on any fun and any good things that are happening to you each moment during the day you are living in," he says. "Experiencing life as an enjoyable journey will also produce a better outlook, allowing you to do things more successfully."

Ritika Trikha is a writer for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Check out CareerBliss for millions of job listings, company reviews, salary information, and a free career happiness assessment.