Failure! If you’re human you have experienced it. Hopefully, even learned from the experience.

We are all familiar with the more famous success-after-multiple-failures stories like that of:

  • Babe Ruth, who struck out 1,330 times but also hit 714 home runs.                                                        “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”
  • Thomas Edison, who tried 6,000 materials before finding the one that worked.                      “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” 
  • Michael Jordan, who did not make the cut for his high school basketball team.


Here’s a few of the lesser known success stories.

  • In 1920, Professor Robert Goddard was lambasted by the press, including the New York Times for his scientific paper which suggested that space travel was possible. Flash forward 40 years to July 1969 when the Times printed an apology (better late than never) on the advent of the first Apollo moon mission.  Goddard is deemed the father of Modern Rocketry.
  • The memo from Fred Astaire‘s first screen test indicated he had no acting ability, could not sing, was a bit bald, but could dance a little.                                             “The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it’s considered your style.”
  • Besides failing 6th grade, Winston Churchill lost every office he ran for until he was elected Prime Minister at age 62.                                                                         “Never, never, never, never give up.”
  • Vincent van Gogh created more than 800 paintings. Sales? ONE.
  • Author of over 562 book in 28 languages, John Creasey  received 743 rejections before he was published.
  • Charles Goodyear experimented with rubber while in a debtor’s prison. His many unsuccessful attempts to find a formula, whereby the rubber could withstand heat, lead his family to poverty. Good thing he kept at it.
  • History buffs know this one: It took Abe Lincoln three tries to get elected to Congress. He was not reelected. He failed to be elected to the Senate and failed at being elected vice-president. Four years later he became the 16th president of the United States.
  • Farm worker J.W. Woolworth found a job at the local feed store but was told he didn’t have enough sense to help the customers.1,000 successful stores later his methods proved to be spot on.

Cultural proverbs about failure:

1. Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up ~Chinese

2. The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows ~Buddha

3. Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors ~African Proverb

4. It would not be better if things happened to men just as they wish ~Heraclitus

5. As a rule, adversity reveals genius and prosperity hides it ~Horace

6. Not everything which is bad comes to hurt us ~Italian Proverb

7. Our greatest glory is not in never falling but rising every time we fall~Confucius

8. Defeat isn’t bitter if you don’t swallow it ~Unknown

9. Fall seven times, stand up eight ~Japanese Proverb

10. God helps those who persevere ~ The Koran

Think uplifting thoughts!

Related Posts:  Ponder Worthy advice: If money were no object; Rules for a Good Life; More Rules for a good life;




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