Do you remember the titles bestowed upon your friends and fellow students during your last weeks of school? One Most Likely to Succeed, Best Sportsman, Humanitarian, Awards for Science, Languages or History or any other official or unofficial tag.
Now look forward 20, 30 or 40 years from there. Did these people fulfill their title? Did the best sportsmen at school become international champions? Did the most awarded academic go on to change the world for the better through their work? Did the beauty queen become an ugly person inside because they thought that their outside beauty was the only thing that was important?
On the other side, what about the “Average Joe?” The person who no matter what did his best at any task. It may not have been THE best, but it was HIS best. It is interesting to see the difference in the years following school.
George E Allen had a great saying about this subject which fits in very well with this post: “People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit. Most men succeed because they are determined to”.
The following list are of people who didn’t know when to quit. Wouldn’t it have been a shame to humanity if they gave up earlier:
- Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketballers of all time tried out for his varsity basketball team during his sophomore year, but was told he was too short to play at that level. He was determined and motivated to prove his worth, and history tells his story.
- The first book written by Dr Seuss was rejected 27 times
- After his first audition, Sidney Poitier was told to stop wasting people’s time and get a job as a dishwasher
- Walt Disney was fired from a Newspaper because he lacked imagination and had no good ideas
- Isaac Newton dropped out of school as a teenager
- Beethoven was a poor music student and was told by his teachers he was hopeless as a composer
- Robin Williams was voted least likely to succeed in High School
How many times will you get up and continue doing your best to turn your failures into successes? Or will you give up, and believe what you have been told? When you feel you aren’t quite up to the task or start believing when people tell you “it can’t be done”, remember the people listed above. This is just a small number of thousands of successful people who “didn’t know when to quit”.
Success comes in all forms – it may not be fame, but that success is something only you can measure. Be determined and don’t let the fear of failure hold you back.