j a n u a r y 2016 Eri c J ohn s on FROM THE PUB L I SHER UPS, DOWNS AND UNEXPECTED TURNS Well, how did things turn out for you this past year? Did everything turn out the way you wanted? Did you meet all of your goals; succeed in everything you set out to accomplish? You don’t have to tell me—I know the answer. I’m not sure why it is so hard to remember that if not for anything else, failure and set-backs can be powerful motivators; that adversity is the fertile ground where progress and eventual success is spawned. The longer one lives, the more we come to understand that life is not a rail line through some Midwest prairie; it is the Big Dipper at the boardwalk—a flat track punctuated by a series of ups, downs and unexpected turns. As good as it is to try and remember this in an academic way, it helps to hear the stories of others who experienced setbacks or were told they’d “never make it”—some who eventually rode their coaster back up to the top. Here are some “failures” you may recognize… Henry Ford failed in business five times before founding the Ford Motor Company. Colonel Harland Sanders was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant bought his famous chicken recipe. Walt Disney was once fired by a newspaper editor because, "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." He then started a number of businesses that failed and ended with bankruptcy. The Beatles were rejected by numerous record labels including Decca Records, which said, “The Beatles have no future in show business.” Steve Jobs was fired from Apple. He failed with NeXT computers and the Lisa computer. J. K Rowling was divorced, bankrupt and on welfare when she wrote the first Harry Potter book. A dozen publishers rejected her first manuscript before one finally published it. Steven Spielberg dropped out of high school and applied to attend film school three times but was turned away because of his C grade average. Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven. His parents and teachers considered him mentally handicapped and antisocial. He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. Thomas Edison was told by his teachers that he was "too stupid to learn anything." He was fired from his first two jobs and made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Oprah Winfrey was once fired from her job as a TV reporter because she was "unfit for TV." Harrison Ford was told by movie executives that he “didn't have what it takes to be a star.” In 1954, the manager of the Grand Ole Opry fired Elvis Presley telling him, "You ain't goin' nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck." As we look forward to 2016, I can predict with one hundred percent certainty that you (and I) will have setbacks. We will face challenges, some of which may appear insurmountable. But when your coaster is rocketing down a slope with no end in sight, recall this list and know that you are in good company. Do your best to enjoy the ride, and rest in knowing that you’ll be headed back up before you know it.
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