Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Maybe You Should Just Quit!

Every day I get emails from people telling me that what they're doing isn't working,
that they feel they'll never get to where they want, never achieve their goals and that,
if things don't turn around for them soon, that they're going to quit.

I understand.

EVERYONE has had thoughts of quitting at one time or another.

EVERYONE has felt like they're never going to make it.

EVERYONE has felt like the mountains are too high to climb and that the reward for the climb is uncertain.


But a few, a rare few, manage to ignore and overcome those feelings and thoughts and pursue their dreams despite the 'evidence' that life keeps showing them that they won't make it

This rare few include...

Abraham Lincoln

As a young man, Abraham Lincoln went to war a captain and returned a private. Afterwards, he was a failure as a businessman.

As a lawyer in Springfield, he was too impractical and temperamental to be a

He turned to politics and was defeated in his first try for the legislature, again defeated in his first attempt to be nominated for congress, defeated in his application to be commissioner of the General Land Office, defeated in the senatorial election of 1854, defeated in his efforts for the vice-presidency in 1856, and defeated in the senatorial election of 1858.

He later became the 16th President of the United States of America.

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill failed sixth grade.

He was subsequently defeated in every election for public office until he became Prime Minister at the age of 62.

He later wrote, "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never -in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.

Never, Never, Never, Never give up."

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud was booed from the podium when he first presented his ideas to the scientific community of Europe.

He returned to his office and kept on writing and the rest, as they say, is history.

Robert Sternberg

Robert Sternberg received a C in his first college introductory-psychology  class. His teacher commented that "there was a famous Sternberg in psychology  and it was obvious there would not be another."

Three years later Sternberg graduated with honors from Stanford University with exceptional distinction in psychology, summa cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa.

In 2002, he became President of the American Psychological Association.

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin gave up a medical career and was told by his father, "You care for nothing but shooting, dogs and rat catching." In his autobiography, Darwin wrote, "I was considered by all my masters and my father,  a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect."

Clearly, he evolved.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison's teachers said he was "too stupid to learn anything."

He was fired from his first two jobs for being "non-productive."

As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.

When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 4-years-old and did not read until he was 7.

His parents thought he was "sub-normal," and one of his teachers described him as "mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in foolish dreams."

He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.

He did eventually learn to speak and read. Even to do a little math : )

Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur was only a mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies and ranked 15th out of 22 students in chemistry.

Henry Ford

Henry Ford could not read nor write, failed and went broke five times in business before he succeeded and launched the most successful car company of all time.

R.H. Macy

R. H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York City caught on.

F.W. Woolworth

F. W. Woolworth was not allowed to wait on customers when he worked in a dry goods store because, his boss said, "he didn't have enough sense."

Alexander Graham Bell

When Bell telephone was struggling to get started, its owners offered all their rights to Western Union for $100,000. The offer was disdainfully rejected with the pronouncement, "What use could this company make of an electrical toy."

Try and find a person (even children) that doesn't own a phone today...

Robert Goddard

Rocket scientist Robert Goddard found his ideas bitterly rejected by his scientific peers on the grounds that rocket propulsion would not work in the rarefied atmosphere of outer space.

Vince Lombardi

An expert said of Vince Lombardi: "He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation." Lombardi would later write, "It's not whether you get knocked down; it's whether you get back up."

Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth is famous for his past home run record, but for decades he also held the record for strikeouts. He hit 714 home runs and struck out 1,330 times in his career (about which he said, "Every strike out brings me closer to the next home run.").

Hank Aaron

Hank Aaron went 0 for 5 his first time at bat with the Milwaukee Braves.

Stan Smith

Stan Smith was rejected as a ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because he was "too awkward and clumsy." He went on to clumsily win Wimbledon and the US Open...and eight Davis Cups.

Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh, and Jimmy Johnson accounted for 11 of the 19
Super Bowl victories from 1974 to 1993. They also share the distinction of having the worst records of first-season head coaches in NFL history - they didn't win a single game.

Jonny Unitas and Joe Montana

Johnny Unitas's first pass in the NFL was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Joe Montana's first pass was also intercepted. And while we're on quarterbacks, during his first season Troy Aikman threw twice as many interceptions (18) as touchdowns (9) . . . oh, and he didn't win a single game.

You think there's a lesson here?

Carl Lewis

After Carl Lewis won the gold medal for the long jump in the 1996 Olympic games, he was asked to what he attributed his longevity, having competed for almost 20 years. He said, "Remembering that you have both wins and losses along the way. I don't take either one too seriously."

Walt Disney

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.

Charles Schultz

Charles Schultz had every cartoon he submitted rejected by his high school yearbook staff. Walt Disney wouldn't hire him either : )

Fred Astaire

After Fred Astaire's first screen test, the memo from the testing director of MGM, dated 1933, read, "Can't act. Can't sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little." He kept that memo over the fire place in his Beverly Hills home. Astaire once observed that "when you're experimenting, you have to try so many things before you choose what you want, that you may go days getting nothing but exhaustion."

And here is the reward for perseverance: "The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it's considered to be your style."

Sidney Poitier

After his first audition, Sidney Poitier was told by the casting director, "Why don't you stop wasting people's time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?" It was at that moment, recalls Poitier, that he decided to devote his life to acting.

Lucille Ball

When Lucille Ball began studying to be actress in 1927, she was told by the head instructor of the John Murray Anderson Drama School, "Try any other profession."

Jerry Seinfeld

The first time Jerry Seinfeld walked on-stage at a comedy club as a professional comic, he looked out at the audience, froze, and forgot the English language. He stumbled through "a minute-and a half" of material and was jeered offstage. He returned the following night and closed his set to wild applause.

Harrison Ford

After Harrison Ford's first performance as a hotel bellhop in the film Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round, the studio vice-president called him in to his office. "Sit down kid," the studio head said, "I want to tell you a story...

The first time Tony Curtis was ever in a movie he delivered a bag of groceries. We took one  look at him and knew he was a movie star." Ford replied, "I thought you were supposed to think that he was a grocery delivery boy." The vice president dismissed Ford with "You ain't got it kid , you ain't got it ... now get out of here."

Michael Caine

Michael Caine's headmaster told him, "You will be a laborer all your life."

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin was initially rejected by Hollywood studio chiefs because his pantomime was considered "nonsense."

The Beatles

Decca Records turned down a recording contract with The Beatles with the evaluation, "We don't like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out." After Decca rejected the Beatles, Columbia records followed suit.

Elvis Presley

In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told Presley, "You ain't goin' nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck."


Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him "hopeless as a composer." And, of course, you know that he wrote five of his greatest symphonies while completely deaf.

Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh sold only one painting during his life. And this, to the sister of one of his friends, for 400 francs (approximately $50). This didn't stop him from completing over 800 paintings.

Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy flunked out of college. He was described as both "unable and unwilling to learn." No doubt a slow developer.

Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, was encouraged to find work as a servant by her family.

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson had only seven poems published in her lifetime.

Richard Bach

18 publishers turned down Richard Bach's story about a "soaring eagle." Macmillan finally published Jonathan Livingston Seagull in 1970. By 1975 it had sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S. alone.

Richard Hooker

21 publishers rejected Richard Hooker's humorous war novel, M*A*S*H. He had  worked on it for seven years.

Dr Seuss

27 publishers rejected Dr. Seuss's first book, 'And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street'.

Woody Allen

Woody Allen: "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to  achieve it through not dying. Eighty percent of success is showing up."

It's easy to think that somehow things are tougher, harder or 'different'
for us but, as this list of notable achievers shows, that's simply not true.

Yes, things can be tough, VERY tough even, but that doesn't give you
the right to resort to rationalisations, justifications or outright excuses
about why you can't be, do or have the things you want in life.

Come to think about it, maybe, just maybe, there's one thing that
we should all, each and every one of us, quit immediately...

...Telling ourselves why something can't be done!

Truth, joy and love

Dax Moy

You can start your own MAGIC Hundred journey today for just $4.95. Once you do, you'll never think of quitting again!

P.S - Thanks to Kalpesh for the email this evening that sparked this post : )


Anonymous said...

Been through this recently and came out the side with even more resolve.

Just look up 'The Hero's Journey'.

I came across this whilst writing (and still finishing) my first novel, but it equally applies in the realms of non-fiction.

It may give people some hope out there in realising exactly how far they've come to get to this point of 'testing'.

You will go through this more than once, so embrace it.

Daniel Iversen said...

Wow, Dax.

I fully believe that the company we keep has a profound effect on us.

I had to upgrade from "friends" who were losing life...

To ones who loved life and were successful types who had failed time and again, but persevered.

You've given me another 40 to surround myself with...if only virtually.

People often believe that successful people have something they haven't got.

But the unglamorous truth is: they simply persevered.

And never, never, never, never gave up.

Cheers to another killer post!

Daniel Iversen

DaxMoy said...

I'm writing a hero's journey section in the book revamp right now... : )

Jiten said...

Cheers Dax,
this is been a great uplifter, im finding things are falling into place, some are taking longer than others, im still finding that time creeps away slowly and that people closest to us arent always as open minded or as positive, this post has really helped lift me up!


Jo said...

I feel like a winner now...!!

And will never, never give up

Thanks for the inspiration!


Stephen Cooper said...

That's an impressive list!

Anonymous said...

What a list. What inspiration. Most definitely the cure for feeling overwhelmed.

Jeff said...

Dax this is perfect timing for me!

What a list is right! But if success is handed to you do you enjoy it as much or do you take it for granted? The hardest thing is to not get swallowed by your negative thoughts when you are down!
I work primarily with young athletes and when the going gets tough i look at them and help them succeed. That keeps me on the right path.

Jeff Patten

Dan Grant said...

exactly what I needed to hear.

Thanks Dax!

Dan Grant

shawns711 said...

I loved your post!!! Awesome! It was very encouraging but I can think of one more honorable mention, on someone that didn't give up. Thomas Edison.

He was considered addled in school. His mother pulled him out of school and home schooled him. He was speech impaired.Thomas Edison didn't give up and look at the things he accomplished.

I just couldn't help but add to the list.