Never quit. Reload.

Feature Article

Never Quit. Just  reload.

by Michael Riggs, M.Ed.

Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and Entrepreneur magazine are littered with stories of individuals that created, built, marketed, jumped, talked, wrote, designed, invested and developed their way into enormous personal and financial fortune. There is one flaw with most of these stories, though.

Like the last slide of a reel-to-reel movie, they only show the finished product. Most success stories are aglow with the image of the winner crossing the finish line, arms high in the air proclaiming victory.  Most success stories begin with the CEO, boldly projecting into the eager camera, record fourth quarter profits. Most success stories begin with the success. The truth, however, is that most success paths are strewn with failure; one after the other after the other.

Did you know that Babe Ruth spent his childhood years in an orphanage and struck out 1,330 times on his way to 714 home runs and baseball immortality?

Were you aware that Elvis Presley was fired from the Grand Ole Opry after only one performance and told by the manager, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. Better get y’all job back drivin’ a truck.”?

What would have happened if Oprah Winfrey, after getting fired from her television reporter’s job and being told, “You’re not fit for TV,” let go of her dream to become one of the successful women in television?

How different would the news industry be today if  Walter Kronkite, after failing an early audition in local radio, had believed the radio station manager when he said, “Son, you’ll never make it as an announcer.”?

Did you realize that that Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to reach the summit of  Mt. Everest, tried and failed three times prior?

There are times for us all — not just the famous TV personality, elite athlete, or Fortune 100 CEO — when our heartfelt attempts at success are crushed, chewed and spit out by the jaws of reality. We pour ourselves, every last droplet, into an idea that falls flat on its face. Or, we plan and plan and plan only to see our plans get blown away like a plastic bag in the wind. The throes of failure can be devastating. Failure is enough to bring the strongest man to his knees begging, pleading, and praying for a single taste of success. Failure has the ability to cause the most stalwart individual to question his ways and means and beliefs and methods and everything in between. Failure leaves the soul naked and exposed. Failure is… a necessary ingredient in the success recipe.

All great and successful people have fallen down…hard. But, the difference between the great and the rest is that, despite the bloodied face and bruised ego, they get up and take another step. At times, it is all they can do to take just one more step. But, they take it nonetheless. Great people absolutely refuse to quit.

History is littered with also-rans and blamers that couldn’t take the pain of failure and used it to justify the emptiness of quitting. History calls these people losers. History is right, because they lost their will to push on and learn and grow and work. There is no real shame in failure, if it is followed by renewed effort and vitality.  Failure is a step up the ladder to success.

The only difference between a winner and a loser is that, following defeat, the winner growls, and with quivering lip exposes his fangs and takes another bite. The loser, on the other hand, curls his tail, drops his head and whimpers back into the comfort of the shaded forest.

S² Tip

When you feel like quitting, call a good friend that has persevered and succeeded and ask for a pep talk. Then reload.

Success Story

Honestly? Congratulations to the success that Seth Goldman, founder of Honest Tea, is experiencing doing something true and honest… making tea for a purpose. Committed to fair trade and beverages that are genuinely good for the body, Seth is making a difference in the world!

In Another’s  Words…

“Big success is not built on success. It’s built on adversity, failure and frustration, sometimes catastrophe, and the way we deal with it and turn it around.”

–Sumner Redstone, Chairman of The Board, Viacom, Inc.