Saturday, January 9, 2010


A newspaper editor once fired Walt Disney because he lacked imagination and he had no good ideas. He went bankrupt several times before Disneyland. Beethoven's teacher called him "hopeless as a composer." One of Albert Einsteins teachers described him as mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in foolish dreams." Dr. Seuss first book was rejected 21 times. I could go on. A few weeks ago I spoke to a group of teenagers about failure. A young man raised his hand and said proudly, "I've never failed at anything." I hesitated a moment. I smiled at him and asked him to share with us. "I'm really happy for you. Come and tell us some of the things you've accomplished." He shook his head and smiled his slow easy smile before continuing. "I've never really accomplished anything, but that's because my Mom told me I would never amount to anything anyway." Oh boy, did I have fodder. First of all, if you don't attempt anything you are a failure. You only fail when you don't try. Secondly you have to get off the "blame everyone else train." The one thing Walt Disney, Dr. Seuss, Albert Einstein and Beethoven all had in common was they didn't listen when someone thought they were a failure. They believed in themselves. And maybe the most important lesson we can learn from them is they never gave up. No matter what. Absolutely nothing stopped them. We don't often hear about some one's failures. We only hear about their success. I think it's pretty safe to say, just about every one famous failed at some point in their life. Don't give up. Believe in yourself.


Karen Lange said...

Keep moving forward, cause Jesus is in your tomorrows.

JaxPop said...

This one's hard to comment on Katt. I've failed at things but can't remember being afraid of failure.

I would ONLY be afraid of failure if I was jumping out of an airplane with a parachute that I packed.

Edison failed many times with his invention of the lightbulb. If not for him - we'd never have any ideas. Huh? Well, comic strip artists would have had a harder time drawing characters with ideas. How 'bout that?

Kathryn Neff Perry said...

Karen, so much truth in your statement!

Kathryn Neff Perry said...

Good one Dave---and again I laughed out loud at your comment about packing your own parachute! It's all about attitude too isn't it! Those people never gave up! It's hard sometimes--- Thanks for your comments!

Joylene Butler said...

This really touches a cord, Katt. My dear father once told me that I would never amount to anything. It took several years before I realized he didn't mean to cut me down like that, he was terrified for me. He knew what the world could be like. Strangely, though, I spent a great deal of effort trying to prove him wrong. LOL. So, maybe in the end it was the best thing he could have said. The point is, I quit judging him and grew to appreciate everything he tried to do.

Carol J. Garvin said...

Thanks for this, Katt. Believing in self can be hard for those who have grown up without a lot of self-esteem... which is one reason it's so important to remind children that they are worthy.

The "don't give up" message applies to all areas of life, and especially to writers who have dreams but must persevere to make the dreams become reality.


Kathryn Neff Perry said...

Joy, I have to comment. I grew up with the same thing. My Mother constantly told me I couldn't do it---I would never be able to do it. And it didn't matter what "it" was. Anything I tried she reminded me I would be a failure. I was in my 30's before I realized---one day I said to her, failing doesn't make you a failure---it means you're trying----thanks Joy for your comments.
Love you

Kathryn Neff Perry said...

Carol, isn't that the truth---never give up. Especially writers---I think we face more "failures" than other professions---but that gives us fodder to write blogs! :D
Love you Carol

JaxPop said...

My dad always told me there's no such word as can't.

He had a tough life - no parents etc. Then (@ 47) he was paralyzed in a fall & spent 27 years in a wheelchair. He was smiling (like always) when he passed away.

Failure = Giving up, not looking up.

Kathryn Neff Perry said...

Dave, Wow, what a testimony to your Dad. What a wonderful man he must have been! Wish I could have known him. By the way, now I understand why you're the way you are! :D