By Henrylito D. Tacio
Some of the world’s most famous personalities have limitations to conquer before they hit the big time!
American basketball superstar Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
James Whistler, one of America’s painters, was expelled from West Point for failing chemistry.
In 1905, the University of Bern turned down a doctoral dissertation as being irrelevant and fanciful.
The young physics student who wrote the dissertation was Albert Einstein, who was disappointed but not defeated.
Sir Winston Churchill suffered financial ruin more than once while his political career was seemingly aborted on several occasions. Perhaps it was Churchill’s numerous failures that led him to define success as “going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
The life of Harry S Truman, before he became the president of the United States, was full of setbacks. He and his father both suffered bankruptcy. West Point rejected his application. In fact, he experienced so many failures as a young man that he once wrote to his sweetheart, Bess, “I can’t possibly lose forever.”
He was his party’s fourth choice for senator. He was the underdog in every election he fought. He was so poor that even after he was elected senator, he was forced to use a public health dentist and to sleep occasionally in his car while on the campaign trail.
Award-winning author Maya Angelou said it best: “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it.”
Before they become well-known authors, they have to beg publishers to print their books. Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book, And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 27 publishers.
William Kennedy had written several manuscripts, all of them turned down by numerous publishers, before his “sudden success” with his novel Ironweed, which was rejected by 13 publishers before it was finally accepted for publication.
In 1902, the poetry editor of the Atlantic Monthly returned the poems of a 28-year-old poet with the following note: “Our magazine has no room for your vigorous verse.” The poet was Robert Frost.
Earlier, in 1889, Rudyard Kipling got this rejection letter from the San Francisco Examiner: “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.”
Alex Haley got a rejection letter once a week for four years as a budding writer. Later in his career, he was ready to give up on the book Roots and himself. After nine years on the project, he felt inadequate to the task and was ready to throw himself off a freighter in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
As Alex was standing at the back of the freighter, looking at the wake and preparing to throw himself into the ocean, he heard the voices of all his ancestors saying, “You go do what you got to do because they are all up there watching. Don’t give up. You can do it. We’re counting on you!” In the subsequent weeks, the final draft of Roots poured out of him – and the rest was history.
A lot of famous personalities have some thoughts about determination – the will to succeed.
Vince Lombardi: “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.”
Roy T. Bennet: “It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down. All that matters is you get up one more time than you were knocked down.”
Margaret Thatcher: “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
Andy Warhol: “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”
Nelson Mandela: “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
An unknown poet, however, says it well: “When things go wrong as they sometimes will, when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill when the funds are low, and the debts are high, and you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
“When care is pressing you down a bit, rest if you must, but don’t you quit. Life is queer with its twists and turns, as every one of us sometimes learns, and many a failure turns about when he might have won had he stuck it out.
“Don’t give up though the pace seems slow – you may succeed with another blow. Success is failure turned inside out – the silver tint of the clouds of doubt, and you never can tell just how close you are; it may be near when it seems so far.
“So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit – it’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.”