Everyone loves an underdog, and for good reason. When faced with hardships, they don’t give up. They don’t retreat to the couch with a tub of ice cream and binge-watch Netflix (not that any of us do that!) They persevere, stay focused, and in this case, inspire millions. Edison, Disney and Lincoln: three people from different worlds with one commonality: they failed their way to success.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865): Our 16th president had a rough start to life. At 7 years old, he was forced to work to support his family. By the time he was 9, his mother died. As he got older, things didn’t look up too quickly. Lincoln had not one, but two businesses fail and went bankrupt. He lost 8 elections and suffered a nervous breakdown for six months, refusing to get out of bed.
Despite these setbacks, Lincoln persevered, he picked himself up by his bootstraps and became one of the most adored Presidents of the United States.
Take it from Abe- setbacks in business aren’t the end of the world. They key is to keep grinding towards your goal. In the words of the man himself: “whatever you are, be a good one.”
Thomas Edison (1847-1931): Although he’s most famous for inventing the lightbulb, phonograph and early versions of the camera, Edison failed thousands of times on his way to success.
“I have not failed 10,000 times,” he said. “I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
When life hits you with setbacks (even when they come again and again), take this lesson from Edison. You know what isn’t working, so find the path that does.
Walt Disney (1901-1966): At age 22, Disney was fired from a newspaper for “not being creative enough.” His first animation company went bankrupt, and he couldn’t pay his rent. At one point, he was forced to eat dog food just to survive! When he first pitched Micky Mouse, he got rejected. Apparently, MGM studios thought a giant mouse on TV would “terrify women.”
Luckily, Disney persevered. Instead of letting setbacks suffocate his dreams, he used them to learn. He continued to take bigger and bigger risks which led to over two dozen Academy Awards and all our favorite Characters.
When you think about quitting, remember this lesson from Disney: “All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
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