Failure Stories: Inspiring Stories of Failure to Fame
Issue Number 36
Welcome to Inspirations! Global Community For All sends out this e-zine filled with short, inspiring stories of love, healing, and empowerment once every three months. We share these wonderfully inspiring stories on love, failure to fame, and more to encourage and inspire each other to be the best we can be each day of our lives. Thanks for joining us, and may these words inspire us to ever deepen our commitment to love, heal, and empower; to open to divine guidance; and to choose what's best.
The four inspiring stories for this issue are:
Inspiring Failure Stories: Failure Turned to Fame – Jack Canfield and Mark V. Hansen
Victim or Creator: Which Do You Choose? – Fred Burks
Regaining My Humanity – Sgt. Camilo Mejia
What Really Matters in Life? – Author Unknown
Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he finally succeeded.
Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him hopeless as a composer.
Colonel Sanders had the construction of a new road put him out of business in 1967. He went to over 1,000 places trying to sell his chicken recipe before he found a buyer interested in his 11 herbs and spices. Seven years later, at the age of 75, Colonel Sanders sold his fried chicken company for a finger-lickin' $15 million!
Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas. Disney also went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland.
Charles Darwin, father of the theory of evolution, gave up a medical career and was told by his father, “You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat catching.” In his autobiography, Darwin wrote, “I was considered by my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard in intellect.
Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and didn’t read until he was seven. His teacher described him as “mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams.” He was expelled and refused admittance to Zurich Polytechnic School. The University of Bern turned down his Ph.D. dissertation as being irrelevant and fanciful.
The movie Star Wars was rejected by every movie studio in Hollywood before 20th-Century Fox finally produced it. It went on to be one of the largest grossing movies in film history.
Louis Pasteur was only a mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies and ranked 15 out of 22 in chemistry.
When NFL running back Herschel Walker was in junior high school, he wanted to play football, but the coach told him he was too small. He advised young Herschel to go out for track instead. Never one to give up, he ignored the coach's advice and began an intensive training program to build himself up. Only a few years later, Herschel Walker won the Heisman trophy.
When General Douglas MacArthur applied for admission to West Point, he was turned down, not once but twice. But he tried a third time, was accepted and marched into the history books.
After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the memo from the testing director of MGM, dated 1933, said, “Can’t act! Slightly bald! Can dance a little!” Astaire kept that memo over the fireplace in his Beverly Hills home.
The father of the sculptor Rodin [The Thinker Statue] said, “I have an idiot for a son.” Described as the worst pupil in the school, Rodin failed three times to secure admittance to the school of art. His uncle called him uneducable.
Babe Ruth, considered by sports historians to be the greatest athlete of all time and famous for setting the home run record, also holds the record for strikeouts.
Eighteen publishers turned down Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull, before Macmillan finally published it in 1970. By 1975 it had sold more than seven million copies in the U.S. alone.
Margaret Mitchell's classic Gone with the Wind was turned down by more than twenty-five publishers.
Richard Hooker worked for seven years on his humorous war novel, M*A*S*H, only to have it rejected by 21 publishers before Morrow decided to publish it. It became a runaway bestseller, spawning a blockbusting movie and highly successful television series.
When the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book was completed, it was turned down by thirty-three publishers in New York and another ninety at the American Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim, California, before Health Communications, Inc., finally agreed to publish it. The major New York publishers said, "It is too nicey-nice" and "Nobody wants to read a book of short little stories." Since that time more than 8 million copies of the original Chicken Soup for the Soul book have been sold. The series, which has grown to thirty-two titles, in thirty-one languages, has sold more than 53 million copies.
In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told Presley, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere… son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” Elvis Presley went on to become the most popular singer in America.
Dr. Seuss' first children's book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected by twenty-seven publishers. The twenty-eighth publisher, Vanguard press, sold six million copies of the book.
Never give up believing in yourself!!!
Victim or Creator: Which Do You Choose? – Fred Burks
It's What You Do With It
It is not what happens to each of us that determines how much we enjoy life, but rather our reaction to what happens. Though we may have no choice in unexpected events that happen to us, we most certainly have choice in how we interpret what happens, and in what we choose to do about it. We can always choose to be either a victim or a creator. This key choice makes all the difference in how much joy we experience in life.
Neither does what we own play a major role in how much we enjoy life. One person with all the money and possessions in the world may have a miserable life, while another in the lowest income bracket may absolutely love their life. It is what we do with what we own that affects our level of satisfaction and joy in life. It's not what you possess or what happens to you in life that matters, but rather what you do with it.
Each of us is faced with challenges every day of our lives. And with each challenge, we make choices in how we react. By choosing to become more conscious of how we react to challenges, we can shift our actions towards creating what we really want in our lives. Rather than following habitual, reactive patterns which cause us to behave like victims, we can recognize and transform old habits to create the life we really want. Yet to do this, we must first find the courage to look at some of the disempowering, often unconscious patterns which cause us to play the victim role, and then choose instead to empower the creator in ourselves.
Transform Yourself From Victim to Creator
You are given many opportunities in life to choose to be a victim or to be a creator. When you choose to be a victim, the world is a cold and harsh place. "They" did things to you which caused all of your pain and suffering. "They" are wrong and bad, and life is rotten as long as "they" are around. "They" might be one or more individuals in your family or community. It might be the terrible politicians or your boss or the evil cabal of the power elite that rules the world. Or you may blame yourself for all your problems, thus internalizing your victimization. The essence is that victims feel a need to blame someone for all their problems, whether it is themselves or others, because that someone is ruining their lives and world. And the truth is, your life is likely to stay that way as long as you feel a need to blame and make yourself or others wrong.
Those who choose to be creators look at life quite differently. They know that there are powerful individuals and groups who might like to control their lives, but they don't let this get in the way. They know that they have their weaknesses, yet they don't blame themselves when they fail. Creators feel no need to blame anyone as they know that whatever happens, they have choice in the matter. When Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. were put behind bars, they used that opportunity to meditate and pray, to write letters and books, and to inspire their communities to stand up and make a difference in the world. They prayed not only for themselves and their supporters, but even for those who jailed them and despised their work. They were unstoppable, powerful creators who continued to have joy and meaning in their lives until the day they died.
Victims relish in anger, revenge, guilt, and other emotions and behaviors that cause others – and even themselves – to feel like victims, too. Creators consciously choose love, inspiration, empowerment, and other qualities which inspire not only themselves, but all around them to continually create the lives and world they want to live in. Victims and creators live in the same physical world and deal with many of the same physical realities, yet their experience of life is worlds apart. From the perspective of enjoyment of life, they hardly live in the same world. Yet whether they know it or not, both victim and creator always have choice in each moment to determine the direction of their lives through what they choose to do with what they are given.
In reality, all of us play the victim and all of us play the creator at various points in our lives. Yet few people realize just how much choice we have in which role we play at any given time. One person, on losing a job or a special relationship, may feel as if it is the end of the world and sink into terrible suffering for months, years, or even a lifetime. Another with the same experience may choose to first experience the grief, yet then accept the loss and in a relatively short amount of time move on to be a powerful creative force in their life. In every moment and every circumstance, we can choose to play an active role in creating our own destiny.
Choosing to Create a Life Filled With Joy and Meaning
By choosing to see and inspire the creator not only in yourself, but in all you meet, you can create powerful transformation in your life and world. If you have spent a lot of time in victim mode, it may not be easy to make the shift, but it is entirely possible. By exploring your core challenges and working to transform them, and by choosing to stop the need to place blame and instead take responsibility for how you interpret your life, you can make the shift. There will most certainly be times where you slip back into old patterns. But by continually reminding yourself of your intention to be a creator, you can transform your life.
None of us is perfect. We all have made and will continue to make mistakes and bad choices in our lives. When we fail, there is no need to blame ourselves or anyone else. We can choose to simply accept that we didn't do what we had intended and then work to understand why, so that we might do better the next time. Notice when you find yourself blaming yourself or others. Then stop for a moment. Take a look inside and ask, is it really empowering you to place blame, even if you believe it is very well deserved? Is this really how you want to live, or is there something better and more fulfilling?
For those who blame themselves more than others, consider exploring how this serves you. Some are drawn to abusive relationships or habits as a way of unconsciously punishing themselves. Many times deep, unconscious processes are behind this behavior which can be uncovered by setting a strong intention to understand the root causes, and by holding to a deep intention to transform the places which keep you from being a powerful creator. Shifting from victim to creator does not mean shifting the blame from yourself to others, but it may mean getting out of abusive relationships or habits so that you can then move with greater awareness and commitment to create positive transformation in your own life and in those around you.
At times in this process, you will look back and realize that you let yourself be the victim again. Even when you fail at making the shift from victim to creator, you can be gentle with yourself. Judging and blaming yourself is just as disempowering as directing it towards others. You can accept and forgive yourself for not following your intention, and then do your best to learn from what happened. And there may even be times when, for whatever reason, you feel a need to play the role of victim for a while. If so, get into it and play the role fully. But remember while doing so that you are choosing this, and that you can just as easily choose to be a creator again as soon as you are ready. There's a time and place for everything.
One common trap which easily pulls people into victim mode is attachment. When we are strongly attached to anything, the possibility of suffering and loss is magnified. When the victim loses something to which they are attached, they easily become depressed or angry and blame others or themselves for what happened. When creators realize they had attachment to something lost, they welcome the transformative power of letting go and work to understand and then release the attachment. One of their key life intentions is to experience each precious moment of life to its fullest, without the need for the security provided by attachment. They know that even the most difficult experiences can be powerful teachers for us if we allow them to.
By accepting the past and allowing the future to be a great, unknown, infinite potential, creators trust that their dance with each sacred moment of life is a gift. They know that in the long run, every experience can bring more meaning and deeper connection. They understand that storms are a natural part of life which can bring the rain needed for emotional and spiritual growth. Creators also know that by choosing to nurture and inspire all around them to shift from victim to creator, life becomes better not only for themselves, but for all whose lives they touch. You can have a fuller, richer life right now by setting a clear intention to transform the victim within, and by inviting and welcoming into your life the powerful creator that you are.
Regaining My Humanity–Sgt. Camilo Mejia
I was deployed to Iraq in April 2003 and returned home for a two-week leave in October. Going home gave me the opportunity to put my thoughts in order and to listen to what my conscience had to say. People would ask me about my war experiences and answering them took me back to all the horrors – the firefights, the ambushes, the time I saw ... an innocent man decapitated by our machine-gun fire. The time I saw a soldier broken down inside because he killed a child, or an old man on his knees, crying with his arms raised to the sky, perhaps asking God why we had taken the lifeless body of his son.
I thought of the suffering of a people whose country was in ruins and who were further humiliated by the raids, patrols and curfews of an occupying army.
And I realized that none of the reasons we were told about why we were in Iraq turned out to be true. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. We weren't helping the Iraqi people and the Iraqi people didn't want us there. We weren't preventing terrorism or making Americans safer.
Coming home gave me the clarity to see the line between military duty and moral obligation. I realized that I was part of a war that I believed was immoral and criminal. I realized that acting upon my principles became incompatible with my role in the military, and I decided that I could not return to Iraq.
By putting my weapon down, I chose to reassert myself as a human being. I have not deserted the military nor been disloyal to the men and women of the military. I have not been disloyal to a country. I have only been loyal to my principles.
When I turned myself in, with all my fears and doubts, I did it not only for myself. I did it for the people of Iraq, even for those who fired upon me – they were just on the other side of a battleground where war itself was the only enemy. I did it for the Iraqi children, who are victims of mines and depleted uranium. I did it for the thousands of unknown civilians killed. My time in prison is a small price compared to the price Iraqis and Americans have paid with their lives. Mine is a small price compared to the price humanity has paid for war.
Many have called me a coward, others have called me a hero. I believe I can be found somewhere in the middle. To those who have called me a hero, I say that I don't believe in heroes, but I believe that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.
To those who have called me a coward I say that they are wrong, and that without knowing it, they are also right. They are wrong when they think that I left the war for fear of being killed. I admit that fear was there, but there was also the fear of killing innocent people, the fear of putting myself in a position where to survive means to kill. There was the fear of losing my soul in the process of saving my body, the fear of losing myself to my daughter, to the people who love me, to the man I used to be, the man I wanted to be. I was afraid of waking up one morning to realize my humanity had abandoned me.
I say without any pride that I did my job as a soldier. I commanded an infantry squad in combat and we never failed to accomplish our mission. But those who called me a coward, without knowing it, are also right. I was a coward not for leaving the war, but for having been a part of it in the first place. Refusing and resisting this war was my moral duty, a moral duty that called me to take a principled action. I failed to fulfill my moral duty as a human being and instead I chose to fulfill my duty as a soldier. All because I was afraid. I was terrified; I did not want to stand up to the government and the army – I was afraid of punishment and humiliation. I went to war because at the moment I was a coward, and for that I apologize to my soldiers for not being the type of leader I should have been.
I also apologize to the Iraqi people. To them I say I am sorry for the curfews, for the raids, for the killings. May they find it in their hearts to forgive me.
One of the reasons I did not refuse the war from the beginning was that I was afraid of losing my freedom. Today, as I sit behind bars I realize that there are many types of freedom, and that in spite of my confinement I remain free in many important ways. What good is freedom if we are afraid to follow our conscience? What good is freedom if we are not able to live with our own actions? I am confined to a prison but I feel, today more than ever, connected to all humanity. Behind these bars I sit a free man because I listened to a higher power, the voice of my conscience.
In March of 2004, 28-year-old Sgt. Camilo Mejia turned himself in to the U.S. military and filed an application for conscientious objector status. On May 21st, he was sentenced to one year in prison for refusing to return to fight in Iraq. He was released from prison on Feb. 15, 2005. The above letter was written while he was in prison. For excellent, highly revealing information on the deeper reasons behind this and other wars, please visit: https://www.WantToKnow.info/warinformation
What Really Matters in Life? – Author Unknown
A vacationing American businessman was standing on the pier of a quaint coastal fishing village in southern Mexico when a small boat with just one young fisherman pulled into the dock. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.
"How long did it take you to catch them?" the American casually asked.
"Oh, a few hours," the Mexican replied.
"Why don't you stay out longer and catch more fish?" the American businessman then asked.
The Mexican warmly replied, "With this I have more than enough to support my family's needs."
The businessman then became serious, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"
Responding with a smile, the Mexican fisherman answered, "I sleep late, play with my children, watch ballgames, and take siesta with my wife. Sometimes in the evenings I take a stroll into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, sing a few songs..."
The American businessman impatiently interrupted, "Look, I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you to be more profitable. You can start by fishing several hours longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra money, you can buy a bigger boat. With the additional income that larger boat will bring, you can then buy a second boat, a third one, and so on, until you have an entire fleet of fishing boats.
"Then, instead of selling your catch to a middleman you'll be able to sell your fish directly to the processor, or even open your own cannery. Eventually, you could control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this tiny coastal village and move to Mexico City, or possibly even LA or New York City, where you could even further expand your enterprise."
Having never thought of such things, the Mexican fisherman asked, "But how long will all this take?"
After a rapid mental calculation, the businessman pronounced, "Probably about 15-20 years, maybe less if you work really hard."
"And then what, senor?" asked the fisherman.
"Why, that's the best part!" answered the businessman with a laugh. "When the time is right, you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions."
"Millions? Really? What could I do with it all?" asked the young fisherman in disbelief.
The businessman boasted, "Then you could happily retire with all the money you've made. You could move to a quaint coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, play with your grandchildren, watch ballgames, take siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could play the guitar and sing with your friends all you want."
The moral of the story is: Know what really matters in life, and you may find that it is already much closer than you think.
All the darkness of the world cannot put out the light of a single candle.
Thanks for sharing in these inspiring stories with us. We wish you lots of love, inspiration, and all the very best in the months ahead.
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