Recently at my son's school they taught the Character Development of Perseverance and since I was the coordinator and class parent I was to send out the information to the parent volunteer who was going to teach on the subject in the class. Here is a Success or Failure "test" taken right out the Character Development lesson.
- Politician: Ran for political office seven times and was defeated each time.
- Cartoonist: All he wanted to do was to sketch cartoons. He applied with a Kansas City newspaper. The editor said, "It’s easy to see from these sketches that you have no talent." No studio would give him a job. He ended up doing publicity work for a church in an old, dilapidated garage.
- Writer: His first children’s book was rejected by 23 publishers.
- Inventor: In the first year of marketing his new soft drink, he sold only 400 bottles.
- Actor: He went to Hollywood as an 18 year old, and after a couple of parts was unemployed for two years. As he ran out of money, he sold off his sectional couch, one section at a time, and lived on macaroni. He had no phone. His office was a phone booth at Pioneer Chicken.
- Athlete: As a baseball player, he struck out more than any player in the history of baseball: 1,330 times.
- Politician: Flunked the sixth grade. As a sixteen-year-old in Paris, a teacher had written on his report card, "Shows a conspicuous lack of success." He wished to become a military leader, or a great statesman. As a student, he failed three times in his exams to enter the British Military Academy.
- Athlete: As a high school student, he felt so unpopular with the girls that he thought he might never be able to find a wife. That's why he took a cooking class. He thought he might never have anyone to cook for him.
The answers to the test? Whether you answered success or failure, you all made a 100%! Each of these people were both failures and successes.
- Would you have given up on politics if you had been defeated 7 times in your run for political office? Any guesses as to who it was? I’m glad that Abraham Lincoln didn’t give up. He was defeated for legislature, defeated for speaker, defeated for nomination to Congress, defeated for Senate, defeated for nomination to Vice Presidency, defeated again for Senate. Yet he hung in there and succeeded in becoming the 16th, and one of the most respected, presidents of the United States.
- And what about the cartoonist whom no one would hire? The one who was told that he had no talent? The old garage he worked in was in such bad shape that it had mice. One day, he sketched one of those mice. Any guesses as to the name of that mouse? The mouse one day became famous as "Mickey Mouse." The artist, of course, was Walt Disney.
- The writer whose children’s book was rejected by 23 publishers? Take a wild guess…. Dr. Seuss. By the way, the 24th publisher sold six million copies.
- The soft drink that sold only 400 bottles its first year? Coca Cola.
- The 18-year-old actor who couldn’t land a part for two years and lived off macaroni? He finally got a part with a popular, long-running show called "Family Ties." I’m glad he didn’t give up. Can you imagine "Back to the Future" without Michael J. Fox?
- The baseball player who held the strike-out record? He also held, for many years, the home run record. His name is Babe Ruth.
- The student who showed a "conspicuous lack of success" on his report card? Who failed three times to enter the British Military Academy? Many of us would have given up after one rejection. But Winston Churchill stubbornly refused to accept defeat and became one of the greatest men of the 20th Century. Though he was rejected many times by the voters of Great Britain, he finally became the Prime Minister, standing between Hitler and the free world.
- The athlete who was so unpopular with the girls that he took a cooking class in case he never found a wife? The one who was cut from the Varsity team his sophomore year? The cut may have been the best thing that ever happened to him. Angry and embarrassed, he began to get up early each morning to practice with the Junior Varsity coach. Eventually he not only made the Varsity team, but became the most popular athlete in the world: Michael Jordan. (Sports Illustrated, Kids Edition, Aug/Sept, 1998)
I love this list! It is so encouraging and such a great reminder that the road to success is not always charmed or easy. This lesson for elementary kids really spoke volumes to me.
On top of all that, my friends and family are not bloggers and my blog is having a difficult time getting off the ground. I know people are reading it out there, but I have often wanted to just quit posting. I have to keep on writing, finding out what people are interested in, being frankly more honest than I want to be (because the title is "Let's Get Real" and everyday life and honesty is what this site is based upon), and just pursuing my goals I have set out for myself.
The lesson on perseverance suggests that the volunteer concludes the discussion with these words:
There are two things we can learn from these people:
1) Don’t be discouraged by your failures. Remember, the road to success is paved with failures.
2) In order to succeed in life, you’ve got to endure.
I’ll leave you with the words of Winston Churchill, the one who had written on his report card, "shows a conspicuous lack of success," the one who failed the test three times to enter the British military academy, but the one who became one of the greatest men of the 20th century. One day he was invited back to his old school to give the commencement address. This great, eloquent man stood before them and said simply this: "Never give up. Never give up. Never, never, never give up." And then he sat down. "Thank you. "