I recently received a note from the wife of a gentleman who attended one of my keynotes last year. After the program he and his wife were browsing our website, and she was drawn to one of our features, “When The Going Gets Tough.” She said she was attracted to the inspirational content and the brevity of each anecdote which allows her to fit it into her class schedule on a regular basis.
She noted that her students have enjoyed hearing and discussing these various accounts and found them a means of encouragement for those times when things simply aren’t going as well as hoped.
At one time or another we’ve probably all enjoyed telling our children or grandchildren how difficult it was growing up back in the day — walking to school in a snow storm, uphill, both ways; having to actually walk up to our TV sets and physically turn a knob to change channels or adjust the volume; having to cope with a party line or actually dialing our telephone; and having to use a camera rather than a cell phone to take pictures.
While things may have seemed tough as we look back, I shudder to think what today’s young people will have to deal with in the coming decades. A quick glance at our current media gives you an idea of how rapidly things are changing: we’re about to have our first black President, female President, or oldest President in our history; jobs are quickly becoming our largest export, our national debt is growing to unequaled heights, reality TV has taken over the airways, and more people voted for American Idol than they did in our last Presidential election! Makes my childhood snow storm look like spring break in Aruba!
Our young people are destined to fall from time to time. Probably more so than we did. Sometime they will be pushed down. Some will try to hold them down. Our message to them is simple: “Ya gotta get up!” That will be their key not only to survival but to attaining success in their chosen endeavors.
Today’s generation must study examples of those in our past who have fallen many times and managed to go on to fulfill their dreams. That what this series is all about. When you study successful people, you’ll see that they’ve made plenty of mistakes and experienced many challenges, but when they were knocked down, they kept getting up … again and again. For instance,
- Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book was rejected by 23 publishers.
- Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team as a sophomore — no potential!
- Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he finally succeeded.
- Apple Computer was rejected by Hewlett-Packard and Atari.
- Coca-Cola sold only 400 Cokes in its first year!
- Walt Disney was once fired by a newspaper. The reason? Lack of ideas!
- Beethoven’s violin teacher declared him hopeless as a composer!
- IBM, GE, and RCA all rejected the Xerox machine!
- Parker Brothers turned down Trivial Pursuit!
- Helen Keller, totally deaf and blind, graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College, and went on to become a famous author and lecturer.
- An MGM executive advised against investing in Gone With The Wind saying “Forget it. No Civil War picture ever made a nickel!”
- Another famous MGM memo emerged after the first showing of The Wizard of OZ … it read: “That rainbow song’s no good. Take it out!”
Everyone seems to enjoy and appreciate learning how well-known people from all walks of life have overcome obstacles to achieve their current level of success. On our web site, we currently offer a total of seven segments under the title: When The Going Gets Tough. Within those seven segments, you’ll find a total of 41 short, interesting, anecdotes that will certainly add a little inspiration and encouragement to your daily grind. There is much to be learned from observing the efforts of others as they strive to succeed. We feature snippets concerning both individuals and organizations.
In the future, all additions to this series will appear here on the blog for your convenience. Share these stories with your children and grandchildren as there is much to learn from the tribulations and triumphs of those who have attained great notoriety. Current and future leaders can also benefit from revisiting these interesting revelations.
Check our first blog installment as well as those on our website. We look forward to adding future examples as well.