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The Failure List

Are you really down because your plans have hit a wall or your efforts aren't paying off?  Are obstacles keep you from realizing your goals?   Do you fell like a failure?   Don't let circumstances and other's opinions stop you.   (For possible explanations for many of the following, see Aspergers Syndrome.)

  • Albert Einstein was 4 years old before he could speak.  He was 7 years old before he could read. A teacher described him as "mentally slow, unsociable and adrift in foolish dreams."  He hated school and dropped out of high school at 15 years of age.
  • Isaac Newton did poorly in grade school and was considered "unpromising".
  • When Thomas Edison was a youngster, his teacher told him he was too stupid to learn anything.  He was counseled to go into a field where he might succeed by virtue of his pleasant personality.  He also failed his first college entrance exam.  His writing skills were poor throughout his life.
  • Werner Von Braun flunked ninth grade algebra.
  • Louis Pasteur was rated as "mediocre" in chemistry when he attended the Royal College.
  • Ludwig Von Beethoven's music teacher once said of him, "As a composer, he is hopeless".
  • Enrico Caruso's music teacher told him, "you can't sing... you have no voice at all".
  • The director of the Imperial Opera in Vienna told Madam Schumann-Heink that she would never be a singer and advised her to buy a sewing machine.
  • Fred Waring was once rejected from his high school chorus.
  • Writer Leo Tolstoy flunked out of college.
  • Louisa May Alcott, author of "Little Women"  was told by an editor that she could never write anything that had popular appeal.
  • Agatha Christie couldn't write and had to use a Dictaphone to transcribe her mysteries.
  • Dr.Suess (Ted Geisel), producer of the famous children's stories,   tried to publish his first work and got rejected by 27 publishers.
  • John Creasy got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.
  • Writer Steven Spielberg dropped out of high school in his first year.   He was persuaded to come back and placed in a learning disabled class.  He lasted a month, then dropped out of school, never to return.
  • Actor Tom Cruise is unable to read even today due to severe dyslexia.   He never even finished High School.  Never the less, he has the ability to memorize his lines and perform on both the stage and screen.
  • As a child, actor, director and producer Henry Winkler  was called stupid and lazy in the classroom.  He was in the bottom 3% in the country in math.
  • George Washington was unable to spell throughout his life and his grammar usage was very poor.  His brother suggested that perhaps surveying in the backwoods might be an appropriate career for him.
  • Abraham Lincoln entered the Black Hawk War as a Captain and came out as a Private.
  • President Woodrow Wilson was called backward and didn't learn to read until he was eleven.
  • Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade and had to repeat it because he did not complete the tests that were required for promotion.  He was a wildly impulsive, distractible student.
  • Admiral Richard E. Byrd had been retired from the Navy as "unfit for service" until he flew over both poles.
  • F. W. Woolworth got a job in a dry goods store when he was 21, but his employer would not permit him to wait on customers because he "didn't have enough sense to close a sale".
  • R. H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on.
  • A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas".
  • Computer genius Philip Emeagwali dropped out of school in Nigeria at age 14.
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
  • Hall of Famer Bob Cousy of the Boston Celtics was also cut from his high school basketball team.
  • Baseball legend Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times-- a major league record.   He also hit 714 home runs.
  • Olympic decathlon champ Bruce Jenner barely got through school.   He was diagnosed as dyslexic.

Do you think this list doesn't apply to your situation?  Think again.  These people had one thing in common:  they kept on trying.    And whether because of their shortcomings, or despite them, they succeeded.  I take this personally, too.  In Jr. High School, I was flunked out of typing and Spanish after one semester of each.  I touch-type a mile a minute, and very few English-speaking Americans are as fluent in Spanish as I am today!  

Here's the message:  don't worry about failure.  Worry instead about the chances you miss when you don't make the attempt.  Embrace your failures and learn from them; they're one of life's best teachers.

The Sneaky Kitchen
Web Site by Bess W. Metcalf   Copyrightę April 1999 - 201

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