In education, as in life, the road to success must be paved with conviction and determination
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
- Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States (1872 - 1933)
One of the biggest secrets people keep have to do with their failures. What students need to realize is that it is only by failing that you can succeed. Basically, you have to fall flat on your face in order to figure out how to pick yourself up. As one MIT professor asserts, failure is a far more common experience than success. However, upon examination, the people who have achieved great things - without the help of others - all did so by showing great fortitude and determination. Here are some examples:
• Winston Churchill failed sixth grade. He was subsequently defeated in every election for public office until he became Prime Minister of England at age 62. He later wrote, "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never, Never, Never, Never give up." (If it weren't for Churchill's power of conviction one must question if his country could have withstood the nightly bombings by the Germans during World War II. He may have truly altered the course of history simply by his perseverance.)
• Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded. He famously advised, "Whether you think you can or you can't you're right."
• Michael Jordan and Bob Cousy (of the Boston Celtics) were each cut from their high school basketball teams. Jordan once observed, "I've failed over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed."
• Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.
• Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him "hopeless as a composer." He later wrote five of his greatest symphonies while completely deaf.
• Van Gogh sold only one painting during his life - and the buyer was the sister of a friend. That did not stop him from completing over 800 paintings.
• The manager of the Grand Ole Opry fired Elvis Presley after one performance and told him, "You ain't going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck."
• Decca Records turned down a recording contract with the Beatles with the unprophetic evaluation, "We don't like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out."