One of my favorite quotes is

“Go foward, faith will follow.” — d’ Alembert.

Every now and then you may need a pep talk based on some good examples of the importance of being earnest, brave, and persevering (with a good sense of humor to maintain perspective). Those asserting they are uniquely in possesion of some monolithic, revolutionary theory usually don’t need this, but us mortals with the right mix of healthy narcissism (hopefully based on accolades from others of experience), doubt (based on experience, again, of mistakes lurking in even the simplest calculations), and passion for understanding patterns/connections can benefit from such examples. Here’s one anecdote from an AMS bio on the first woman to win a Fields medal Maryam Mirzakhani (1977–2017):

Maryam’s perseverance stands out in our minds. In

the early spring of her last year in graduate school, she

rushed into one of our offices close to tears. She was

holding what must have been the twentieth draft of her

thesis, covered in McMullen’s famous red ink. “I am not

sure I will ever graduate,” she moaned, and she joked

that the last ten pages did not have as much red only

because McMullen’s pen must have run out of ink. After

commiserating for half an hour, Maryam steeled herself

and with her characteristic determination marched back

to her office for yet another round of editing.

*Some other vignettes*:

“A Visit to Hungarian Mathematics” by the late Reuben Hersh

Any bio on Hooke, Faraday, Fourier, Abel, Galois, Riemann, Green, Ramanujan, Grothendieck–all achieved much (four in short lives) despite deprivations–or on any number of Chinese, Russian, eastern European mathematicians/scientists oppressed by autocratic regimes and/or socioeconomic, gender, or other bias (including, of course, Marie Curie).

And d’ Alembert.

Yet the light penetrates the darkness.