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What do Lucy, Ulysses S. Grant and Michael Jordan Have in Common?

You might wonder what Lucille Ball, Michael Jordan, Ulysses S. Grant and the Beatles have in common. They were all thought to be failures.  Lucy’s high school theater teacher thought she was too shy,  Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team and Grant failed so many times that, at 38, he finally went to work for his father. Lastly, the record company that listened to the Beatles thought guitar music was ‘on its way out’ when they turned them down.

These household names not only had talent, they also persevered. If you watch this video, you’ll find a source of inspiration. Feeling discouraged? Remember what each of these failures faced. The difference between them and a lot of other very talented people is that they did not say, “I give up.” They just kept going.

At a time when the world is moving faster and opportunities may seem elusive; it is important that we simultaneously lighten up and bear down. Remember the good inside you and decide that, as one of our most patient and famous Rochester forbearer’s, Susan B. Anthony, once said, “Failure is impossible.”

When I first saw this video, it was like listening to a wise friend.  Patricia Ryan Madson says, “Ready or not, scared or not…improvise your life, no matter what, don’t give up,” from ‘A Way of Life’.  I want to be a cheerleader for you and what you want to do. If you need some encouragement; I hope you’ll call on me. It’s your faith in me, your encouragement and kind words that keep me going.  Thank you!


4 Responses
  • wayne cerullo
    October 13, 2009

    Touche! In fact, one could say failures are the only ones truly qualified to lead! Most of the people who have shaped the world are not the ones who never faced adversity; rather, it’s those who overcame it!

  • Deborah
    October 14, 2009

    Billy Joel wrote a song with lyrics,”You’re not the only one who’s made mistakes. But they’re the only things that you can truly call your own.”(Second Wind) So whether it’s external adversity or stumbling about, it’s the facing down the challenge that separates the men from the boys. Thanks for your comment. If adversity builds character, I must be a real big character!

  • Deb –

    Great post! Sometimes it’s hard to look beyond a failure and recognize that the lessons learned provide one more step up in the stairway to success.

    Thanks for the inspiration!


  • Deborah
    November 7, 2009

    I love the energy and passion that all these people brought to their lives. I just listened to a video of Tom Peters talking to CEO’s about who to hire. He said,”Always hire enthusiasm. You can teach almost anyone, almost anything but you can’t teach enthusiasm.”
    I think of Lucy in the chocolate factory and know that if I can be that present in my life, I will succeed. Thanks for your comment.

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