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Too often we fall into the trap of “my situation is unique.” We believe the lie that we are the only ones facing these odds, feeling rejection this consistently, and that no one else can know what it’s like to lose like I do. Wrong.
Don’t believe the lie. Some of the world’s most successful people have encountered what seemed like insurmountable odds, only to continue pressing forward until they reached victory. And did they ever reach success. Take these six people for example.
Steve Jobs The founder of Apple was both a college dropout and fired from his own company. He was left with his head in hands at age 30 after being fired from Apple – only to be hired back years later and not only revive the Apple brand, but take it to extraordinary new heights.
“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” – Steve Jobs, Stanford 2005
Malala Yousafzai Malala Yousafzai is a Nobel Price laureate and made international headlines after being shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for the right to women’s education. She has since gone on to “become a global advocate for human rights, women’s rights and the right to education.” (Biography.com) Yousafzai would not let fear or terror prevent her from fighting for what she knew to be right.
“Dear sisters and brothers, we realize the importance of light when we see darkness.” – Malala Yousafzai
Louis Zamperini The inspiration behind the 2014 movie, Unbroken, is the human embodiment of the word “perseverance.” Zamperini, a US Olympian, endured having his flight shot down during WWII, 47 days at sea, & one of the most torturous Axis commanders to survive the war. His unbreakable spirit inspired by the book and movie. Despite facing some of the worst physical hardships ever, Zamperini refused to give up.
“That’s one thing you learn in sports. You don’t give up; you fight to the finish.” – Louis Zamperini
Stephen King The king of horror writing had his first book, “Carrie,” rejected 30 times. King would submit manuscripts while doubling as an English teacher & part-time short story writer. He’d all but given up when, after being urged by his wife to give it one more try, “Carrie” was accepted. The rest is history, as King has sold over 350 million copies of his books.
“The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there… and still on your feet.” – Stephen King
Theodor Seuss Giesel I grew up on Thoedor “Dr. Seuss” Giesel’s works, as I imagine many of you did as well. Did you know his first children’s book was rejected by 23 publishers? Don’t worry, the twenty-fourth publisher finally said “yes” – and went on to sell six million copies.
“You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.” – Dr. Seuss
Michael Jordan Everyone knows the story of Jordan being cut from his high school basketball team, then going on to becoming the greatest player of all-time. What made Jordan great – or the greatest – was his determination. He truly refused to accept losing and would fight, no matter how big the odds, until he won. We all struggle with our memories, believing that #23 never missed a game-winning shot. In fact, he missed over 26 times. But what made Jordan special was that he kept shooting. He refused to let those 26 stop him from making the 25 game-winning shots his career is known for.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
Don’t let the failures right before you overshadow the victory that is waiting just up the road. Continue to Compete. Take notes from the lives of these five and persevere. Today is yours for the taking. Compete for it.