By Henrylito D. Tacio
DO you consider yourself a failure in life? Don’t be! Failure, a cloud that floats between man and success, “is the line of least persistence,” to quote the words of W.A. Clarke. After all, a person who has never failed has never tried.
Of course, no one wants to fail in life. But failure is part of who we are and what we are doing. Charles Kettering points out, “I can take any group of young people any place, and teach them to be inventors, if I can get them to throw off the hazard of being afraid to fail. You fail because your ideas aren’t right. You shouldn’t be afraid to fail, but you should learn to fail intelligently. By that I mean, when you fail, find out why you failed, and each time you fail it will bring you up nearer to the goal.”
Thomas Alva Edison, for instance, tried more than 200 different substances in attempting to find a filament for his incandescent bulb. Someone once said to him, “You have failed more than 200 times; why don’t you give up?” His answer was, “Not at all. I have discovered more than 200 things that will never work. I will soon find one that will.”
William A. Ward claims that failure is just the first step in the ladder of success. How come, you may wonder? He explains, “From failure can come valuable experience; from experience – wisdom; from wisdom – mutual trust; from mutual trust – cooperation; from cooperation – united effort; from united effort – success.”
If you think being poor, handicapped, or can’t read and write are obstacles to success, you’re wrong! Some of the world’s most successful personalities experienced what you are currently struggling with. But they have proven that they can become successful.
“Many people fail in life because they believe in the adage: If you don’t succeed, try something else. But success eludes those who follow such advice. Virtually everyone has had dreams at one time or another, especially in youth. The dreams that have come true did so because people stuck to their ambitions. They refused to be discouraged. They never let disappointment get the upper hand. Challenges only spurred them on to greater effort.” That’s what Don B. Owens said.
From various sources, I found out that some of the world’s famous celebrities started as a failure, but it didn’t deter them from pursuing their dreams. Consider the following:
· Alexander Graham Bell — yes, the inventor of telephone! — was educated by his hearing-impaired mother until the age of ten. She taught him the manual alphabet to facilitate communication. He attended school for five years but was an undistinguished student.
· Television personality Oprah Winfrey was born out of wedlock and was given to her grandmother’s care shortly after birth. At nine, she was sent to live with her mother. She was repeatedly raped by a teenage cousin and later sexually abused by other family members. In 1985, she told the public: “I was, and still am, severely damaged by the experience. I unconsciously blamed myself for those men’s acts.”
· Thomas Alva Edison started school when he was eight years old, but he did not respond well to the harsh methods of the schoolmaster. After three months, he overheard the teacher refer to his mind as “addled.” He stormed out of the schoolroom and never returned.
· When he was still a little boy, classmates teased Greg Louganis about his reading disability. So, instead of going to the library, he spent his leisure time working out at a gym and a dance studio. There, he learned some of the techniques that helped his development as an Olympic diver.
· Theodor Seuss Geisel is known throughout the world as Dr. Seuss. His first children’s book, ‘And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street,’ was rejected by 27 publishers. The 28th publisher, Vanguard Press, sold 6 million copies of the book.
· William Kennedy is noted for his American novels, many of which feature the interaction of members of the fictional Phelan family. He had written several manuscripts, all of which were rejected by numerous publishers. Then, he hit it big time when his novel, ‘Ironweed,’ earned the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Curiously enough, the novel was rejected by 13 publishers before it was finally accepted for publication.
· In 1889, English writer and Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling received the following rejection letter from the ‘San Francisco Examiner’: “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.”
· Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in Kentucky. He obtained his elementary education by the light of the fireplace. Later, he worked at the hardest type of labor as a farm hand and rail splitter.
· Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the greatest composers in the Western tradition, was not very good on the violin because he preferred playing his own compositions rather than working to improve his techniques. His teacher told him, “You are hopeless as a composer.”
· Italian dramatic tenor Enrico Caruso had parents who wanted him to become an engineer. They were motivated by his voice teacher, who said, “He has no voice and cannot sing.”
As they say, winners never quit; quitters never win. Sounds a cliché, but it is still true.