Persistence and Sustainability


Recently, the above letter went viral on the internet. According to this letter, Einstein had applied for a doctorate in physics at Bern University and he was rejected since the university committee found his theory to be more artistic than actually physical. I don’t want to disappoint anybody, but it is very likely that this document is fake. It does not really make much sense for a Swiss German institute to write back to a German in English, and there are many grammar mistakes which do not lend credibility to authorship by someone at the University of Bern.

Even if it is very likely a fake document, it could be genuine. Many people are rejected in many different aspects of life since the people who evaluate them might be inferior to the applicant. And unfortunately, we lose a lot of talent due to this inefficient selection process.

The key here is the persistence of the applicant. It does not matter how good you are, as it is still very likely that you will get rejected at some point on your life journey. On this journey, no matter what happens, you have to keep a growth mindset and continue to develop yourself while trying to reach your target. By the way, rejection is a confirmation that you are trying for something. If you haven’t been rejected so far, then there is a problem with your mindset.

If failure is one of the key components of success, persistence is definitely also another component of the equation. People like to put people into different folders and label them, just like classifying computer files. For instance, someone may have been a clerk in a bank for many years, and so many people think this person cannot be a good software programmer. Actually the person can be!

If the person is willing to, he/she can be a much better software programmer than many programmers.

This rigid classification makes career transitions very difficult and it costs the global economy billions (maybe trillions) of dollars since we cannot get the best out of people. I see more and more people spending thousands of dollars on MBA degrees just to make a shift in their career. Apparently being filled with theories for two years enables you to make that transition more easily. This is just another form of labelling. An MBA makes the transition easier. Persistence is good, but it is not enough by itself. Sustainability is also important.

Once you reach your goal, you must continue to perform over and over again. This is real success! In Turkey, we say ‘Start like a Turk, finish like a German!’ The logic behind the saying is that, like all Mediterranean people, Turks are hot blooded and enthusiastic at the start, but sometimes it can be difficult for them to finish the job they have started, whereas Germans start slowly but surely and finish off a job within the given time frame.

To sum up, I would not trust all the documents circulating on the internet, and I would pursue my ambitions no matter what people think and no matter how difficult they are. Most importantly, once you have reached your goals, it is important to stay there!

P.S: If you are a clerk and want to switch to software programming, it is far more possible now than ever. Try to have a look at where you can enroll yourself in a lot of Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley courses for free.

All the best from Singapore.

Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

It is more than a club, it is Besiktas!

As Bill Shankly, a former manager of Liverpool FC, said: “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.”

I personally assure you that it is not actually football in general, but Besiktas specifically that is a matter of life and death.


Some people think it is not very intellectual to align yourself with a sports club. First of all, Besiktas is not merely a sports club, but a strong social community where many people have known each other for many years, and they are like a real, big family.

It is such a powerful family that it helps other Turkish sports clubs, who not only steal the chants of Besiktas, but also adore its character and soul.

As the Daily Mail wrote in 2015 after the club’s victory against Liverpool, “Brendan Rodgers’s side were greeted at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium with a loud and intimidating atmosphere as the Turkish fans made it clear the opposition wouldn’t get an easy ride.”

In the Besiktas community, there is no real social hierarchy. You can find a billionaire drinking beer with a factory worker in the heart of the Besiktas borough before each game.

Besiktas is the public; the public is Besiktas!

Sometimes, when I try to step back and really look, I see a lot of similarities between us and religious communities. (Okay, we maybe drink a bit more than them …)

It is everything, as one of our chants says; it is the meaning of our survival.

It is not about the world record decibel level in the Liverpool game, nor about victory over a rival… It is about the soul and the character of the club and its supporters.

I was only six years old when my father took me to my first Besiktas game. It was like a dream, since it was the start of the three year domination of Besiktas.

I sadly lost my father only three years after our first Besiktas game, and I decided to go to games by myself from the age of 12.

In Turkey, it is a courageous act to go to games at that age, since Turkish football can be dangerous. However, the more you follow the road to the Besiktas stadium in Istanbul through the trees, the more you become addicted to this passion.

It is in this stadium that I have made so many friendships, met so many wonderful people. Even our new stadium is fantastic, thanks to our current president, Fikret Orman, though I am sure many of us are still nostalgic for the old stadium because of its wealth of memories. We, Besiktas supporters, are addicted to nostalgia…

We don’t trade the present for the future, but we will always happily trade the present for the past.

Last weekend, Besiktas became champions of the Turkish Super Lig for the first time in seven years. This is the source of tremendous joy that is impossible to define in words.

But you know, even had Besiktas not become champions this season, they would always have remained the champions of our hearts.

As a person who doesn’t have the ability to write a single love letter, this is the only love that inspires me to write and which makes me miss my hometown: Besiktas, Istanbul.

Long live Besiktas and the Besiktas community!


P.S. Distance can be problematic and long-distance love can be challenging, but not for Besiktas. Of course, I travelled for a whole day from Singapore (about 8,000 km) to be there with the team I love.


All the best.

Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan