Failure IS an option
Some believe that to fail is bad, shameful and should be avoided at all cost. Well I disagree.
Here are a few examples of failures that made good to keep you inspired to keep failing and never quit.
1. J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter novels was waitressing and on public assistance when she was writing the first installment of what would become one of the best selling series in history. The book was rejected by a dozen publishers. The only reason it got published at all was because the CEO's eight year old daughter begged him to publish it.
“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential.” - J.K. Rowling
Now, if that isn't a great Zen line, I don't know what is!
2. Michael Jordan
It might come as a shock, but the man who became what many would call the best basketball player of all time didn't make his high school basketball team.
“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.” - Michael Jordan
3. Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison was both hearing impaired and fidgety. He only lasted three months in school where his teachers said he was "too stupid to learn anything." He eventually was home schooled by his mom. In talking about his invention of the light bulb, he said:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that do not work.” - Thomas Edison
4. James Carville
When I was a kid I was obsessed with political campaigns the way other kids were obsessed with sports. During the 1992 Presidential campaign there was no greater superstar-whacko than Clinton's political operative, James Carville. With his shaved bald head, snake-like facial features, and his deep Louisiana accent he seemed like a man out of the Twilight Zone!
He's now considered to be one of the greatest political operatives of a generation. But, before he ended up on that fateful campaign in his early 40's he was dead broke, had won only a handful of elections, and had never even been approved for a credit card. On paper, he looked like a complete failure. By not giving up he ended up in the White House.
"No one will ever accuse James Carville of taking himself seriously." - James Carville
5. Ludwig van Beethoven
His early skills at music and the violin were decidedly less than impressive. His teachers thought him hopeless. It was his father who saw the potential in him and took over his education. Beethoven slowly lost his hearing throughout his life and yet, four of his greatest works were composed when he was completely deaf.
"Beethoven can write music, thank God, because he can't do anything else!" - Ludwig van Beethoven
6. Christopher Reeve
The man who played Superman becoming a quadriplegic was more than ironic - it was tragic. He never learned to be happy about his situation - who could? But, he did learn to live with it.
“In the morning, I need twenty minutes to cry. To wake up and make that shift, you know, and to just say, 'This really sucks,' to really allow yourself the feeling of loss. It still needs to be acknowledged.” - Christopher Reeve
Then, he'd say, "And now...forward!"
He had to take a moment everyday to acknowledge where he was, what the reality of the situation was. But, he didn't allow that to stop him. He traveled widely doing public speaking on behalf of people with spinal injuries, tirelessly raised money for his own and other foundations, and even became a movie director. He took what he had and tried to help others in the best way he could.
7. Oprah Winfrey
Her childhood was frightful and filled with horrible abuse and abject poverty. But, like most successful people, Oprah doesn't dwell on stuff like that.
"I don’t think of myself as a poor deprived ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who from an early age knew I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good." - Oprah Winfrey
Oh, what the heck, I'll give you another! You can never have enough inspirational stories to keep you going.
Vincent Van Gogh
The man was a manic depressive. He could barely function half the time. He never saw success in his lifetime, but his work is often regarded as the greatest painting ever done by any human on earth. Because of this, his name has become a war cry for artists around the world who have been repeatedly rejected and sidelined.
"Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again." - Vincent van Gogh
I'll close with another quote by Michael Jordan.
"Some want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen." - Michael Jordan
This week don’t listen to the critics, don’t focus on all the reasons why your dreams don’t make sense or all the work it will take…. This week go make something happen.