Wednesday, June 10, 2009

There Are No Failures in Life, Only Those Who Quit Before Success

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”-Abraham Lincoln

A lesson everyone must learn is the need to persist when it is difficult. When we experience defeat and rejection, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit, but the successful have learned to persist.

Christopher Columbus
Before Christopher Columbus was recognized as one of the greatest explorers, he was rejected by numerous people for 20 years until finally Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand agreed to support his venture. Columbus wrote of his struggle, “Those who heard of my [adventurous enterprise] called it foolish, mocked me, and laughed.” (Jacob Wassermann, Columbus, Don Quixote of the Seas, (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1930) p. 19–20) On the evening of August 3, 1492, Columbus left from Spain with three ships, the NiƱa, Pinta, and Santa Maria. On October 10, 1492, 68 days after leaving Spain, Columbus’ crew began to lose hope of ever reaching their destination. Frightened that they would die at sea, his officers and crew demanded that they turn back and return to Spain. Columbus’ crew threatened to kill him if he did not consent to their request. Columbus urged them to reconsider and proposed a compromise. Columbus suggested that if land was not found after two more days, they would turn back. The officers and crew accepted the compromise. On October 11, they spotted land birds and other signs of nearing land and at 2 a.m. “. . . on October 12th, with the Pinta sailing ahead, the weather cleared. In the moonlight one of the sailors on the Pinta, Juan Rodriquez Bermejo, saw a white sand beach and land beyond it. After his shout of ‘Land! Land!’ the Pinta’s crew raised a flag on its highest mast and fired a cannon.” (William D. Phillips, Jr. and Carla Rahn Phillips, The Worlds of Christopher Columbus, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992) p. 152–153) Columbus achieved a grand victory because he had the courage to press forward when all others had lost faith.

Colonel Sanders
Before Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) was one of the world’s largest restaurants, Colonel Sanders drove all across the country from restaurant to restaurant cooking batches of chicken for restaurant owners and their employees looking for someone willing to purchase his chicken recipe. Colonel Sanders persisted through 1,009 rejections until he got a ‘yes.’ (Anthony Robbins, Unlimited Power, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986) p. 14) After his first ‘yes,’ his franchising idea began to take off. By 1964, at age 74, Colonel Sanders had more than 600 franchised outlets for his chicken in the United States and Canada, and he sold his interest in the U.S. Company for $2 million ($13 million in 2006 dollars). KFC now does billions in sales each year and serves millions of customers daily in over 13,000 restaurants in 80 countries.

Sylvester Stallone
Before Sylvester Stallone was a famous writer and actor, he was rejected by over 600 casting agents and was unable to sell his first 8 screen plays. In 1975, Stallone saw a fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner in which Wepner was a 30:1 underdog. Inspired by this fight, Stallone began developing the Rocky screenplay. The script was purchased by United Artists and opened in theaters on November 21, 1976. Rocky took in $117 million ($389 million in 2006 dollars) in U.S. box office sales, with Stallone making more than $5 million ($16.6 million in 2006 dollars).

There are no failures in life, only those who quit before success. Failure is a part of learning. The formula for success is trying until you succeed. If you give up during the struggle, you will never experience the victory.