A wise man wins a brand new car. His friends say to him “you are so fortunate to have won such a beautiful car!” The man replies simply “Perhaps.” A few weeks later the man is enjoying a joy ride in his new car and another driver crashes into him severely injuring him. The man’s friends come to the man’s side and proclaim how bad it was that he was injured in the car wreck. The man simply replies “Perhaps.” While recovering in the hospital one night there is an earthquake and a tree falls on the man’s house crushing his room and his bed where he sleeps. His friends come to his bed side telling him of the damage to his house and how lucky he was to have been in the hospital to which the man grins and replies once more “Perhaps.” Has there ever been a point in your life that everything in your favor appeared to be working against you?
Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” If Edison would have stopped at his 999th attempt, we would be sitting in darkness.
As a young man, Abraham Lincoln went to war a captain and returned a private. Afterwards, he was a failure as a businessman. As a lawyer in Springfield, he was too impractical and temperamental to be a success. He turned to politics and was defeated in his first try for the legislature, again defeated in his first attempt to be nominated for congress, defeated in his application to be commissioner of the General Land Office, defeated in the senatorial election of 1854, defeated in his efforts for the vice-presidency in 1856, and defeated in the senatorial election of 1858. At about that time, he wrote in a letter to a friend, “I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth.” In 1864 he was elected President of the United States… for the second time.
Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 4-years-old and did not read until he was 7. His parents thought he was “sub-normal,” and one of his teachers described him as “mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in foolish dreams.” He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. He eventually learned to speak, read, and his math changed reality as we know it.
Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff. City officials have since changed their views on this.
In 1944, Emmeline Snively, director of the Blue Book Modeling Agency, told modeling hopeful Norma Jean Baker, “You’d better learn secretarial work or else get married.” I’m sure you know that Norma Jean was Marilyn Monroe. Now, who was Emmeline Snively?
After Harrison Ford’s first performance as a hotel bellhop in the film Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round, the studio vice-president called him into his office. “Sit down kid,” the studio head said, “I want to tell you a story. The first time Tony Curtis was ever in a movie he delivered a bag of groceries. We took one look at him and knew he was a movie star.” Ford replied, “I thought you were supposed to think that he was a grocery delivery boy.” The vice-president dismissed Ford with “You ain’t got it kid , you ain’t got it … now get out of here.” Ford gave up and became a self-taught professional carpenter working in the Hollywood Hills area to better support his then-wife and two small sons. Proving that reality is stranger than fiction, George Lucas hired Ford to build cabinets in his home. Ford’s work as a carpenter landed the actor his biggest role to date as Han Solo in Star Wars.
How will they tell your story?
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