A life of great achievement can be viewed as a series of failures punctuated by high points – successes for what many fail to realise is that the greater the level of success you achieve in your life then the more failures you will experience. And we have to have both – the failures as well as the successes – for how else would we be able to appreciate our success when it does finally arrive.
Jack Canfield said in an interview that Chicken Soup for the Soul (co-authored by Mark Victor Hansen) was turned down by 144 publishing houses.
“Nobody wanted it. They all said it was a stupid title, that nobody bought collections of short stories, that there was no edge – no sex, no violence. Why would anyone read it?”
Their agent gave up after the first 33 rejections New York publishers.
“Sorry boys, I can’t sell it.”
Quite frankly, could you blame him? After all, he didn’t have the same personal investment in this product as did Jack Canfield and his co-author Mark Victor Hansen.
But the “experts” were wrong.
Chicken Soup for the Soul became an international bestseller and inspired a whole series of over 100 Chicken Soup books with titles as obscure as Chicken Soup for the Scrapbooker’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Dog Food. Really!
In the long run, the agent’s lack of staying power turned out to be an advantage to Canfield and Hansen as they got to keep the agent’s 15% commission.
It takes a very special mindset to persevere seemingly against all odds – the mindset of a goal achiever, the mindset of a winner.
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen are not the only authors to have suffered repeated rejections for their literary efforts. John Grisham’s A Time to Kill was also repeatedly rejected. A Time to Kill was turned into a major film with a stellar cast including Samuel L Jackson, Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey. Alex Haley’s Roots was rejected about 200 times! Yet, the television serialisation of Roots took the world by storm. James Redfield’s The Celestine Prophecy was initially self-published. It was its underground success that made publishing houses sit up and take notice. The Celestine Prophecy is a testament to the power of viral marketing. It sold over a hundred thousand copies within months of its first printing primarily by word of mouth.
So you see if you truly believe in something, within reason of course, then follow it through. Keep trying different combinations and approaches and until you will find a way to bring your idea, your dream into fruition.
I was reading recently about Corey Rudyl, the Internet Marketing guru who turned a $ 25 investment into over $ 40,000,000 in online sales and, in the process helped thousands start their own Internet businesses. Corey died suddenly and tragically in a car accident last year. Corey loved car racing and he also loved the Internet business. He was just 34 when he died and it is a testament to his tenacity, perseverance and vision that the company he founded, the Internet Marketing Centre, continues to grow ever more profitable under the leadership of his protege, Derek Gehl.
Did Corey Rudyl make mistakes? Of course he did but he did not see them as such. He had the foresight to recognise that each ‘failure’ could be turned into a huge success if he simply applied the lessons he learnt from his mistakes.
However, perhaps one of the most famous men who would not give up in the face of repeated failures was Thomas Edison. When Napoleon Hill interviewed Edison he joked that if he hadn’t found the secret of the incandescent lamp that at that very moment he would be in the laboratory working on it instead
of wasting time talking to him! Edison also said:
“I had to succeed because I finally ran out of things that wouldn’t work.”
We now all benefit from Thomas Edison’s invention in ways that Edison himself may have found too numerous to contemplate. Or perhaps I’m being presumptuous.
Walt Disney was another great visionary who never gave up. When it was discovered that he was buying thousands of acres of swamp land in Florida folk thought he had gone mad but they didn’t have his vision. Walt Disney actually died before his dream could be fully realised.
Someone later remarked to an associate of Walt Disney that it was a shame that he did not see his theme park in all its splendour. The associate smiled and replied:
“Oh, he saw it.”
Perhaps Thomas Edison’s vision of how the incandescent bulb would illuminate our lives was far more detailed and expansive than I give him credit for. Who am I to talk? While I work on eliminating my limiting beliefs I don’t know that I would have had the staying power to do 10,000 experiments.
I guess my point is that if you learn from your failures and keep striving towards your goals or dreams you will achieve success because that which you seek is also seeking you. I’d like to leave you with this quote by Thoreau:
“If a person advances confidently in the direction of their dream, and endeavours to live the life they have imagined, they will meet with success unexpected in common hours.”