Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Failure Before Success

Every now and then I try to put "failure" into perspective.  Many times, our failures can assume gigantic proportions.  We may think about them so much that they come to define us or seem to predict the future.  But many successful people first faced a multitude of rejections--only later, overcoming them all.  Just take a look--

Thomas Edison was told by his teachers that he was "too stupid to learn anything." Once in the workplace, he was fired from his first two jobs for low productivity. Although he successfully invented the light bulb, it took 1,000 unsuccessful attempts before finding a bulb that worked. 

Oprah Winfrey was fired from one of her early jobs because she was "unfit for TV." 

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas."  
Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, a blow that felt devastating.  Later, however, with great success, he stated "I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, was a divorced, single mother on welfare while she was attending school and writing.  Within a span of 5 years, her life changed completely.

Henry Ford is famous in the car industry even though he was not an instant success. His early businesses failed, leaving him penniless five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.

Fred Astaire was described at his first screen test as someone who "Can't act. Can't sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little."

Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken did not have immediate success selling chicken.  Just the opposite--his secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant wanted to use it.

Van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime.  He created over 800 works but was never successful as a painter.  There were even times that he was starving.  Today his works bring in hundreds of millions of dollars.

The actor Sydney Poitier grew up poor in the Bahamas.  When he began acting, he was advised by a casting director to become a dishwasher.  "Why don't you stop wasting people's time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?"

The Beatles had recorded 15 sons with Decca Recording studios before studio execs said "we don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out. They have no future in show business."

Stephen King, writer, received 30 rejections for his work Carrie.  He gave up for a while, until his wife urged him to send it in one more time. 

Zane Grey, popular author in the 1900's, was initially a dentist.  He hated his work and began to write adventure stories.  He was met with repeated rejections and was told that he should give up writing.  He finally saw his first work published at age 40.  He ultimately had 90 published works, and sold over 50 millions copies around the world.
Before Elvis made a name for himself, the manager of the Grand Ole Opry fired him after only one show.  The manager said, "You ain't goin' nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck."

Winston Churchill is now known as a Nobel Prize-winning diplomat.  He was elected twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and was a headliner during WWII.  However, as a youngster he  struggled in school and failed the sixth grade. As an adult, he saw years of political failures.  He was defeated in every election for public office until he became Prime Minister at the age of 62.  
Dr Seuss tried to publish his first book but was rejected by 27 publishing companies.  Today, he is a favorite of young and old alike.  
Babe Ruth of home run fame (714), held the record for strikeouts (1,300) for decades.  When asked about this he simply said, "Every strike brings me closer to the next home run."