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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- John Creasy got 753 rejection slips before he published
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.