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By Daniel O. Wilson, Ph.D.

As the old adage says if at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. As you may know, life is not easy. Life by many can be described as a traveler journeying through many hills and valleys. And, while you may experience your share of highs and lows, it may be your lowest points that may tempt you to give up on this journey called life.  However, life is not designed to be easy. As a matter of fact, it was the low points that have enabled some of the most influential people to be successful in our society. When we read stories about famous individuals such as Michael Jordan, who was once cut from his varsity basketball team or Walt Disney who was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor felt he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas or Oprah Winfrey, who was once fired from one of her first jobs in TV because her producer said she was “unfit for television”, you must remember, when life has knocked you Down, the only way to go is Up. Below you will find five quotes from five influential people who have used their lowest points as a way to “Go Up” and ultimately become successful in our society.

  • Thomas Edison. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up, the most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time”. Thomas Edison, one of America’s most famous inventors was famously known for creating the light bulb. However, before Edison successfully created the light bulb, he had failed 1,000 times before being successful. In life, you may have a dream or a goal that you are trying to accomplish, and while you may have failed to reach this dream or goal, always remember what Thomas Edison once said, “the most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time”. Who knows, the next time you try to reach your dream or goal, may just be the time you are successful at reaching it. Keep trying!
  • Babe Ruth. “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run”. Babe Ruth, arguably one of the most dynamic baseball players in Major League Baseball history, was known for hitting over 700 home runs in his baseball career. However, what many may not know is that he had approximately 1,330 strikeouts in his career. Ruth said it best, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run”.  In your life, you may have many doors closed in your face, however, always remember, when one door closes, that is just opportunity for another one to open. Be ready to embrace and capture the next opportunity that will come your way. Keep swinging!
  • Bill Gates. “Life is not fair, get used to it”. Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world is known for building one of the world’s largest software businesses known as Microsoft. While Gates is famously known for creating a software company worth over $600 billion dollars, he also failed miserably when starting up his first company called Traf-O-Data. Gates and business partner Paul Allen created a device that could read traffic tapes and process the data. When Gates and Allen tried to sell it, the product would not even work. They failed miserably. Gates did not give up, however, he said it best “life is not fair, get used to it”. Gates and Allen went on to eventually build the world’s largest software business, known as Microsoft through technological innovation and keen business strategies. In this life, failure is inevitable. However, do not let your failures overtake your success. Life will knock you down and throw you a curve ball every now and then, but use those setbacks as motivation to push forward. Keep going!
  • Arianna Huffington. “But you have to do what you dream of doing even while you’re afraid”. Arianna Huffington, as denoted by Time Magazine is one of the world’s most 100 influential people. Arianna Huffington is known for founding the Huffington Post and Thrive Global. Before founding one of the world’s most famous news and blog sites, she was rejected by 36 publishers during the start of her career. Huffington said it best, “do what you dream of doing even while you’re afraid”. While being afraid is natural, remember, fear is only temporary. Do not be afraid of failure or rejection. Embrace your failures as you can learn from them and it is the failures that will equip you with the knowledge you will obtain that will allow you to be successful. Keep dreaming!
  • Katy Perry. “If you’re presenting yourself with confidence, you can pull off pretty much anything”. Katy Perry is arguably one of the world’s most iconic singers, songwriters, and actresses, and is also known for her catchy and relatable songs. However, Perry was not always one of the world’s most influential singers. As a high school dropout and seen as a failure for being dropped from three major record labels, Perry could have easily given up.  However, with a strong will and confidence, she was able to eventually become one of the world’s most popular singers. Perry said it best, “if you present yourself with confidence, you can pull off pretty much anything”. Confidence is one major key factor in being successful. Marcus Garvey, an African American nationalist once said, without confidence, you are twice defeated. In life, find ways to build and maintain your confidence. You can do anything you put your mind to. Keep believing!

Nobody said your path to success would be easy. Success is not a place you magically appear, however, it is a journey you must travel in order to successfully arrive. It will take a lot of determination and persistence. And, while on that journey, prepare yourself to trek over many hills and through many valleys. However, while you are in your valleys, embrace everything that comes with being there as the only place to go from there is up. Keep believing in yourself, keep chasing your dreams, and never give up in fighting for success.

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