Overcoming Setbacks

Fall down seven times, get up eightIn light of my hoped-for launch date being abandoned it’s rather easy to fall into a deep well of despair. Hard work, opportunity and the chance to connect with others in this niche seem to have been wasted.

At times like this it’s always helpful to look for some inspiration, some rays of hope that help lift you off your knees and get you moving again.

The following are some examples of authors, musicians, entrepreneurs and scientists who faced setbacks, but persevered until they were successful.

George Orwell – When Orwell sent the manuscript for Animal Farm to an American publisher he was told it was impossible to sell animal stories in the USA. In the first four years of its publication it sold 600,000 copies in the US alone and today it has been translated into 70 languages and sold millions of copies worldwide. Just a few years later Orwell believed he had ruined 1984 but luckily sent it to his publishers anyway.

C.S. Lewis – Lewis is believed to have received about 800 rejections before one piece of his writing was accepted. He went on to write the Chronicles of Narnia which has sold over 100 million copies.

Robert M. Pirsig – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was rejected by over 121 publishers before it was finally accepted.

Stephen King – His first book, Carrie, was rejected thirty times before finding a publisher willing to give it a chance.

The Beatles were told guitar groups were “on the way out.”

Lady Gaga was dropped by her first record label after only 3 months.

Bill Gates‘ first attempt at business was called Traf-O-Data, but failed. He tried again and named the business Microsoft.

Steve Jobs was fired from his own company.

Soichiro Honda was turned down by Toyota when he applied for an engineering job. He went on to build scooters to make some money and started his own business.

Sixty five year old Colonel Saunders had his secret chicken recipe rejected over 1,000 times before a restaurant finally gave him a chance.

Thomas Edison famously faced setback after setback whilst trying to invent the lightbulb. Less well known is that years before he was fired from Western Union after spilling acid during an experiment.

And there are plenty more examples in other fields; Walt Disney was told he lacked imagination, Fred Astaire was told he could “dance a little”, and Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime, and that was to a friend.

What really matters is how you respond to setbacks. So if you feel like you’ve met a stop sign or even a brick wall, try to regard the experience as a rite of passage that you have to get through to be successful, not an end to your hopes and dreams.

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