Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight

How many times have you had an idea or dream about doing something and before you can even process the thought, the laundry list of reasons why you can’t accomplish it pops into your head? If you’re like me, that list goes on and on and on. In reality, the underlying reason, that is masked by all those “what ifs,” is usually fear. Fear that you will fail. Fear of failure has dictated many of my actions for a large part of my life.

It wasn’t until recent years that I decided to face this demon head on and show it who’s the boss. What does it mean to fail? What is this thing that we fear so much?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, failure is defined as the omission of occurrence or performance; lack of success; a falling short.

When I look at this definition, I can’t help but wonder, what are the determining factors of failure, and by whose standards is failure measured? Is failure a self-imposed sentence or is there some great Failure Master in the universe that passes judgment? At what precise moment in time is one determined a failure? And if determined as such, what is the punishment that we receive? Is it so horrific and life ending that we should avoid following our dreams at all costs?

Not everything in life goes according to plan, in fact most things don’t, but the key is to reframe your thoughts to view setbacks as the opportunity to readjust and keep forging ahead. Sometimes in the journey, rejection leads to a better opportunity and instead of going from point A to B, you end up at point K. That doesn’t mean you failed.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish something (especially that voice inside your head). Don’t let anyone derail your mission. Hold on to the following examples of people that could have very easily given up on their dreams, but instead they held steadfast and kept plugging away. Thank goodness they did!

J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, was penniless, recently divorced, and raising a child on her own when she wrote the first Harry Potter book. She was rejected by 12 publishers.

Dr Seuss was rejected by 27 different publishers.

John Grisham’s first book was rejected 28 times, and Steven King’s Carrie received dozens of rejections.

Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC, was 65 years old when he drove around the country knocking on doors offering restaurant owners his chicken recipe, sleeping in his car, wearing his white suit. It is believed that he was rejected 1,009 times before someone said yes!

Walt Disney’s first animation company went bankrupt. He was fired by a news editor  because he lacked imagination. Legend has it that he was turned down 302 times before he got financing to create Disney World. Imagine Walt Disney being told he wasn’t  creative!

The great painter, Vincent Van Gogh, only sold one painting in his lifetime, and it was to a friend. Despite that he kept painting and finished over 800 pieces. Now everyone wants to buy them and his most expensive painting is valued at $142.7 million.

Steven Spielberg applied and was denied two times to the prestigious University of Southern California film school. Instead he went to Cal State University in Long Beach.

Everyone has setbacks along the way. Don’t let yours be the end of the road.

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