Just when you are about to give up and think it’s just all too hard and not worth the effort, think again. Giving up never helped anyone, re-evaluating, learning from our mistakes and having another crack has however proven to be a successful recipe. As Winston Churchill once said “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Not just throughout history but even right now there a people like you and I trying to succeed and coming up short, failing, coming up against external and internal barriers, and yet they keep on moving ahead knowing that the only way to succeed is to keep on going, or as Sir Churchill also said “NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, GIVE UP.”
We start with two Aussies:
Tovah Cottle is a 31-year-old former international model turned soon to be internationally renowned fashion designer. She began her modeling career at 14, and by 16 she was addicted to heroin, which stemmed from becoming addicted to opiates that she was prescribed at 14 to deal with migraines.
Her drug use led to many mistakes including a conviction of drug and armed robbery offenses in her early 20s. She spent 27 months in jail, but it changed her life for the better. While in prison instead of feeling sorry for herself she used her time and passion wisely and set about becoming a fashion designer. Tovah was mentored by a prison chaplain, who was also a former TAFE fashion teacher. This reignited her passion for the fashion industry and encouraged her to enroll in a fashion course.
In 2010 Tovah won the coveted Triumph Inspiration Award in Sydney, and travelled to London in September 2010 for the international round of competition.“It was all timing. I was really keen to stop. It was just going to jail at the right time. Jail wasn’t a negative experience for me at all.’’
Tovah’s inspirational story was recently shown on ABC’s Australian Story (May 2012)
Starting life in the Australian bush in New South Wales Gerry Harvey came from a family with money however he admits that his father got little of that money as he was "Scoundrel" who ended up broke resulting in his family struggling each week to survive.Living in a garage he left school at 15 only to go back after securing a scholarship. Working in a bank during the day and studying for University at night he very quickly worked out that this was not going to reward him enough. At the time the average wage was $8.00 a week.
The "Harvey Norman" retail store had its beginnings back in 1961 when Gerry Harvey and Ian Norman teamed up to start selling electrical goods. Business was good and the stores grew in number under the "Norman Ross" name until the infamous Australian businessman Alan Bond bought them out and in his infinite wisdom fired both the founders in the early eighties.
Harvey and Norman soon started again, by opening the first "Harvey Norman" branded store in 1982. Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd. became a publicly traded company in 1987 when it was listed on the Australian stock exchange.
Gerry Harvey remains the Chairman of Harvey Norman Holdings and continues to grow the business. The Australian billionaire is regularly featured on the BRW rich list in Australia. Harvey has an eclectic mix of business interests that include the "Byron at Byron" tourist resort and spa in Byron Bay and a stable of thoroughbred racehorses that number in the hundreds. He also owns a 50% share of the "Magic Millions" horse auction house that sells many of the most expensive yearling racehorses sold in Australia.And now for the rest of the world:
Abraham Lincoln: As a young man, Abraham Lincoln went to war a captain and returned a private. Afterwards, he was a failure as a businessman. As a lawyer in Springfield, he was too impractical and temperamental to be a success. He turned to politics and was defeated in his first try for the legislature, again defeated in his first attempt to be nominated for congress, defeated in his application to be commissioner of the General Land Office, defeated in the senatorial election of 1854, defeated in his efforts for the vice-presidency in 1856, and defeated in the senatorial election of 1858. At about that time, he wrote in a letter to a friend, "I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth."
When Bell telephone was struggling to get started, its owners offered all their rights to Western Union for $100,000. The offer was rejected with the pronouncement, "What use could this company make of an electrical toy."
Babe Ruth: is famous for his past home run record(and cigars, and drinking, and women), but for decades he also held the record for strikeouts. He hit 714 home runs and struck out 1,330 times in his career (about which he said, "Every strike brings me closer to the next home run
Carl Lewis: After Carl Lewis won the gold medal for the long jump in the 1996 Olympic games, he was asked to what he attributed his longevity, having competed for almost 20 years. He said, "Remembering that you have both wins and losses along the way. I don't take either one too seriously."
Walt Disney: was fired by a newspaper editor because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.
Charles Schultz: had every cartoon he submitted rejected by his high school yearbook staff and Walt Disney wouldn't hire him. I guess we could claim that as a clanger on Walt’s part, but I bet he didn’t dwell on it for too long.
Fred Astaire: After Fred Astaire's first screen test, the memo from the testing director of MGM, dated 1933, read, "Can't act. Can't sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little." He kept that memo over the fire place in his Beverly Hills home. Astaire once observed that "when you're experimenting, you have to try so many things before you choose what you want, that you may go days getting nothing but exhaustion." And here is the reward for perseverance: "The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it's considered to be your style."
Sidney Poitier: After his first audition, Sidney Poitier was told by the casting director, "Why don't you stop wasting people's time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?" It was at that moment, recalls Poitier, that he decided to devote his life to acting.
Jerry Seinfeld: The first time Jerry Seinfeld walked on-stage at a comedy club as a professional comic, he looked out at the audience, froze. He stumbled through "a minute-and a half" of material and was jeered offstage. He returned the following night and closed his set to wild applause.
Norma Jean :In 1944, Emmeline Snively, director of the Blue Book Modeling Agency, told modeling hopeful Norma Jean Baker, "You'd better learn secretarial work or else get married." Norma Jean was better known as Marilyn Monroe.
Harrison Ford: his first performance as a hotel bellhop in the film Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round, the studio vice-president called him in to his office. "Sit down kid," the studio head said, "I want to tell you a story. The first time Tony Curtis was ever in a movie he delivered a bag of groceries. We took one look at him and knew he was a movie star." Ford replied, "I thought you were spossed to think that he was a grocery delivery boy." The vice president dismissed Ford with "You ain't got it kid , you ain't got it ... now get out of here."
Michael Caine: his headmaster told him, "You will be a laborer all your life."
Charlie Chaplin: initially rejected by Hollywood studio chiefs because his pantomime was considered "nonsense". Now described as the most creative and influential personalities of the silent film era and in 1999 the American Film Institute ranked him as the 10th greatest male screen legend of all time.
The Beetles: Decca Records turned down a recording contract with the Beatles with the prophetic evaluation, "We don't like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out." After Decca rejected the Beatles, Columbia records followed suit.
Elvis Presley: In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told Presley, "You ain't goin' nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck."
Beethoven: handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him "hopeless as a composer." Beethoven wrote five of his greatest symphonies while completely deaf.
Van Gogh: sold only one painting during his life, and this to the sister of one of his friends for 400 francs (approximately $50). This didn't stop him from completing over 800 paintings.
Theodor Seuss Geisel: 27 publishers rejected Dr. Seuss's first book, To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
John Creasey: an English crime novelist got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.
Henry Ford: While Henry Ford is today known for his innovative assembly line and American-made cars, he wasn't an instant success. His early businesses failed and left him broke five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.
F. W. Woolworth: Before starting his own business, young Woolworth worked at a dry goods store and was not allowed to wait on customers because his boss said he lacked the sense needed to do so.
Soichiro Honda: The billion-dollar business that is Honda began with a series of failures and fortunate turns of luck. Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation for a job after interviewing for a job as an engineer, leaving him jobless for quite some time. He started making scooters of his own at home using materials left behind and scavenged from the second world war and was asked by neighbors to make scooters for them.
Akio Morita: Founder of Sony. Sony's first product was a rice cooker that unfortunately didn't cook rice so much as burn it, selling less than 100 units. This first setback didn't stop Morita and his partners as they pushed forward to create a multi-billion dollar company.
Bill Gates: Gates didn't seem like a shoe-in for success after dropping out of Harvard and starting a failed first business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data. While this early idea didn't work, Gates' later work did, creating the global empire that is Microsoft.
Harland David Sanders: better known as Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, Sanders had a hard time selling his chicken at first. His famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it.
Albert Einstein: Einstein did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven, causing his teachers and parents to think he was intellectually handicapped, and anti-social. Eventually, he was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. It might have taken him a bit longer, but he caught on pretty well in the end, winning the Nobel Prize and changing the face of modern physics.
Sir Isaac Newton: He never did particularly well in school and when put in charge of running the family farm, he failed miserably, so poorly in fact that an uncle took charge and sent him off to Cambridge where he finally blossomed .
Socrates: Despite leaving no written records behind, Socrates is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the Classical era. Because of his new ideas, in his own time he was called "an immoral corrupter of youth" and was sentenced to death. Socrates didn't let this stop him and kept right on, teaching up until he was forced to poison himself.
Thomas Edison: In his early years, teachers told Edison he was "too stupid to learn anything." Work was no better, as he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Even as an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”
Orville and Wilbur Wright: These brothers battled depression and family illness before starting the bicycle shop that would lead them to experimenting with flight. After numerous attempts at creating flying machines, several years of hard work, and tons of failed prototypes, the brothers finally created a plane that could get airborne and stay there.Winston Churchill: Nobel Prize-winning, twice-elected Prime Minster of the United Kingdom struggled in school and failed the sixth grade. After school he faced many years of political failures, as he was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister at the ripe old age of 62.
Oprah Winfrey: Most people know Oprah as one of the most iconic faces on TV as well as one of the richest, successful, and generous women in the world. Oprah has gone on to be a success despite enduring a rough and abusive childhood as well as numerous career setbacks including being fired from her job as a television reporter because she was "unfit for tv.
Fred Astaire: In his first screen test, the testing director of MGM noted that Astaire, "Can't act. Can't sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little." Astaire went on to become an incredibly successful actor, singer and dancer and kept that note in his Beverly Hills home to remind him of where he came from.
Jeanne Moreau: As a young actress just starting out, this French actress was told by a casting director that she was simply not pretty enough to make it in films. Moreau went on to star in nearly 100 films and win numerous awards for her performances.
Lucille Ball: During her career, Ball had thirteen Emmy nominations and four wins, also earning the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors. Before starring in I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball was widely regarded as a failed actress and a B movie star. Even her drama instructors didn't feel she could make it, telling her to try another profession. She, of course, proved them all wrong.
Oliver Stone: This Oscar-winning filmmaker began his first novel while at Yale. A project that eventually caused him to fail out of school. This would turn out to be a poor decision as the text was rejected by publishers and was not published until 1998, at which time it was not well-received. After dropping out of school, Stone moved to Vietnam to teach English, later enlisting in the army and fighting in the war, a battle that earning two Purple Hearts and helped him find the inspiration for his later work that often center around war.
Steven Spielberg: he was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times. He eventually attended school at another location, only to drop out to become a director before finishing. Thirty-five years after starting his degree, Spielberg returned to school in 2002 to finally complete his work and earn his BA.
Stephen King: The first book by this author, the iconic thriller Carrie, received 30 rejections, finally causing King to give up and throw it in the trash. His wife fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit it.
J.K. Rowlings: before she published the series of Harry Potter novels she was nearly penniless, severely depressed, divorced, trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel. Rowling went from depending on welfare to survive to being one of the richest women in the world in a span of only five years through her hard work and determination.
Michael Jordan: a man often described as the best basketball player of all time was actually from his high school basketball team. Jordan didn't let this setback stop him from playing the game he loved and winning 6 Championship rings with the Chicago Bulls (3 with Aussie and Perth boy Luc Longley) and he has 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."
Being successful and having the life you want and deserve is not just for some, but for everyone, and for anyone willing to stick their neck out have a go, not give up, not look for excuses and battle on no matter the odds. The thing is you will find that there will always be people out there to give a helping hand especially to those willing to help themselves. Those who are at where you want to be will always being willing to help out, because they know what it’s like to be in the same position and somewhere along the way they have no doubt had a helping hand. Be willing to ask and even more so to accept help and advice from those who have the credibility to do so.
"Remember you will not always win. Some days, the most resourceful individual will taste defeat. But there is, in this case, always tomorrow - after you have done your best to achieve success today."
Maxwell Maltz: was a motivational author and creator
of the Psycho-Cybernetics
of the Psycho-Cybernetics
Expect the best for yourself, because you deserve the BEST!