What is Failure? – Part II

July 12, 2009

Failure is part of the journey toward success…persistence, (particularly when combined with earnest prayer in my view), will powerfully alter the outcome of your objectives — enabling success to emerge onto the landscape.

A few notable examples may be seen below:

Abraham Lincoln
As a young man, Lincoln went to war a captain and returned a private. Later on, he was a failure as a businessman. As a lawyer in Springfield, he was considered too impractical and temperamental to be a success. When he turned to politics he was defeated in his initial attempt 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.

Albert Einstein
Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and did not read until he was seven! 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 did, of course, eventually learn to speak and read…and even learned a bit of math)!

Henry Ford
Mr. Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded.

Sidney Poitier
After his first audition, Sidney Poitier was told by the casting director, “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?” It was at that moment, recalls Poitier, that he decided to devote his life to acting.

Robert Goddard
As a rocket scientist, Goddard’s vision and ideas were harshly rejected by the scientific community on the grounds that “rocket propulsion would not work in the rarefied atmosphere of outer space.”

Fred Astaire
After Astaire’s first screen test, the memo from the testing director of MGM, dated 1933, stated the following: Can’t act… Can’t sing…Slightly bald… Can dance a little. He kept that memo over the fire place in his Beverly Hills home.

John Milton
Milton wrote Paradise Lost 16 years after losing his eyesight!

Enrico Caruso
Caruso’s music teacher said he had no voice at all and could not sing. His parents wanted him to become an engineer.

Walt Disney
Mr. 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.

Lucille Ball
When “Lucy” began studying to be actress in 1927, she was told by the head instructor of the John Murray Anderson Drama School, “Try any other profession.”

The Beatles
Decca Records turned down a recording contract with the Beatles with the un-prophetic evaluation, “We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out.” After Decca rejected the Beatles, Columbia records followed suit.

Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him “hopeless as a composer.” And, of course, you know that he wrote five of his greatest symphonies while completely deaf.

Confucius observed, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling … but in rising every time we fall.”

Thomas Edison stated, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

John A. Fallone - TRAININGURU

John A.  Fallone

From my own life, I can think of countless examples where persistence made the difference and paid off.

Has persistence worked for you?

Let us know!

John A. Fallone

Founder, President & CEO


Office:   1-203-274-6098

Mobile: 1-203-536-1093







Twitter: Follow me at: http://twitter.com/Traininguru




2 Responses to “What is Failure? – Part II”

  1. Marie Gunter Says:

    Thank you for these timely insights and especially the remarkable collection of quotes you’ve included; I can certainly relate! As someone who has experienced both large success and failures – and in fact now literally “starting over” – your blog posts are much appreciated. I find solace in the fact that I’ve learned a tremendous amount through it all, and though feeling exasperated at times, strong in my resolve to ultimately succeed. My new blog adventure is providing a wonderful vehicle for learning and sharing with like-minded entrepreneurs. Please feel free to drop by and share with/follow our new community. 🙂

    Marie Gunter
    Enriching Lives / Building Businesses

  2. D. Levy Says:

    John, thank you for this great post on overcoming failure and persistence. With all of the sad and tragic messages out in the world today, it is good to see something positive and uplifting.

    Thanks again,
    Doris Levy

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