“Energy and persistence conquer all things” – Benjamin Franklin.
You may not believe it but every man or woman who ever became anything has a story of failure somewhere, sometime in his or her life. Henry Ford, the great American inventor and automobile builder, forgot to put a reverse gear in his first car. Albert Einstein who came up with the theory of relativity, one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in the entire history of mankind, actually failed his university entrance examinations on his first attempt and he never went to a university!
Perhaps, you have heard of Benjamin Disraeli. He was one of the ablest men to come out of England. When he first attempted to speak in the British Parliament for the first time, he was laughed down. Fellow members even hissed him into silence. As he humbly took his seat, his pride sorely stung, he said, “Though I sit down now, the time will come when you will hear of me.” Disraeli rose to become one of the greatest ever Prime Ministers of Great Britain.
Macy’s of New York is one of the largest retail stores in the world, ranking with prestigious and renowned competitors like Harrods and Selfridges of England. Yet the founder, R.H. Macy, failed seven times before he could establish the business. I am sure you know of the brand of tyres called Goodyear.
And I am sure you know that it is a world-renowned brand. You probably know too that it is named after its founder, Charles Goodyear. And do you also know that he is one of America’s ten great industrial inventors? Fine. Well, now, hear this: Mr. Goodyear spent many a bad year in debt, penury, bankruptcy and prison before he found his Goodyear miracle!
Thomas Alva Edison gave mankind its modern electric bulb light. He made a total of 1,099 other inventions. But he also failed many many times before he found success. Of course, you know the famous evangelist Billy Graham. He has preached to at least one hundred million people face to face in every continent and in countless countries all over the world. Yet when he went to school at Bob Jones College, he was declared a failure by no less a judge than the great founder of the college, the very reverend Bob Jones himself!
And, now, let me tell you a story, the story of the world’s all-time classic on failure. Yes, I know you have heard of Abraham Lincoln, the great American President during the American civil war. You remember him chiefly for his famous quotations and, perhaps, for his dogged perseverance as well. But do you really know the details of that perseverance? Do you really know the depth of his doggedness? I am Sure you know how great a President he was. But do you know how great a failure he had been before he became President? Let us just look at a brief sketch of his life:
At age 22, he failed in business
At age 23, he ran for legislature
At age 24, he again failed in business
At age 25, he was elected into the state legislature
At age 26, his sweetheart died
At age 27, he suffered a nervous breakdown
At age 29, he was defeated for Speaker
At age 31, he was defeated for Elector
At age 34, he was defeated for Congress
At age 37; he was elected into Congress
At age 39, he was defeated for Congress
At age 46, he was defeated for Senate
At age 47, he was defeated for Vice President
At age 49, he was again defeated for Senate.
At this stage, many people will quit. They will simply give up and go home and wait for decay and death. Oh, very many would not even have come this far. And we can very well sympathise with Mr. Lincoln and help him to pack up his few miserable belongings so that he can go home and rest from his bruising defeats. Unkind people will even berate him for being so foolish as to have continued to waste his time, energy and money. Even his integrity.
Did Mr. Lincoln go home after so many knock outs and knock abouts? Oh, yes, he did. But did he give up? Oh, no, never. Not Abraham Lincoln. He did not give up! If he had, you and I would never have heard of him. No, he did not give up. He merely went home to rearm. And two years later, at the age of 51, Abraham Lincoln finally became Abraham Lincoln – President of the United States of America!
That’s right. Every story of success has its paragraphs of failure. Every fabric of promotion has its threads of pain woven into it. Every road to victory has its own milestones of defeat. And every path to achievement is marked with bloodstains from the bruised knees and elbows of the champions in the moments of their fall. The bright lights of gain makes sense only against the darkness of loss. Sweet wine is twice more delightful to the tongue that has known the taste of a bitter brew.
So, don’t give up! As someone said, “falling down doesn’t make you a failure, but staying down does.” Are you presently down on your fortunes? Is your business failing? Are you on the brink of bankruptcy? Are you jobless? Have you been told you are a failure? Are you a student with problems in your studies? Are you finding it impossible to pass your exams? Or are you wondering where you are going to get funds to finance your further education? Or, perhaps, you are on the verge of expulsion from the school?
Whatever your case is, don’t give up! I have written this little book to challenge you with stories of people who have braved all odds to find success and achievement. As you read these wonderful cases of men and women who have gone before, my hope is that this little book will help you on your way to victory. Yes, there is victory ahead of you because whatever you are going through now, it is only for the present. It will not always be so. Grab hold of this little bit of truth and you are already on the way to your victory. Accepting that truth is the first step on that way.
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” – Oliver Goldsmith.
This inspiring motivational piece was written by Scott Simon, 66, an American Journalist and the host of Weekend Edition Saturday on National Public Radio. In March 2015, he also published a best-selling memoir about his mother titled:- “Unforgettable: A Son, A Mother and the Lessons of a Lifetime”
– Nyaknno Osso , Editor-in-Chief, BLERF