My friend Maria and I got our degrees at the same time – hers in Engineering, mine in Mathematics. These subjects, in case you aren’t aware, are tough! There were classes we really had to struggle with, fight to get through, and survived only by digging our fingers in with everything we had. Along the way, many of the people who started at the same time we did dropped out, changed majors, etc. They quit. Maria and I didn’t and we have degrees to show for it.
Maria and I came up with a saying, “We’re not quitters, we’re failures!” We’d rather fail a class three times and eventually pass it than quit and resign ourselves to the idea that we “just can’t get it.” That kind of sob-story defeatism has to be expunged from your mind. While there ARE things that you can’t do – like flying via pixie dust – most of the things you want in life you CAN have, but only if you treat failure as a part of the learning process. If you see failure as an end, that makes you a quitter.
You can’t succeed at anything if you quit. Don’t be a quitter, be a failure. Nick Horton
1. 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
2. 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!
3. 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
4. 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