If at first…


Hello to my fellow bloggers, and I hope that your day has been productive and that you are feeling pleased with your outcome. I am still sorting through my old words and the work I put together for my past students as samples. I have to see a mother next week to do some home tutoring (hopefully) and I would really like her to see the diverse range of work I am capable of. I know that I have problems with my own mindset at the moment but I have always been great with damaged kids…I guess being one myself allows me to understand where they are coming from. Very often the ‘normal’ people in society do not know where some of our most outstanding icons came from, that it is the need to outcome that ‘shame’ that creates the motion to push yourself further.

In a normal set up and when life gets challenging, we have an inclination to quit. Why? Is it easier to walk away with our pride intact and as few as possible knowing we did not get it right? But why should we put not put it down to experience, look at why we failed and try again! When did it become a crime to try something and fail? When did society make it a crime to be different and that something you can see as possible.

  • Thomas Edison sadly had his teachers tell him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Joining the workforce did not make the problem any better as he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Thankfully Thomas did not give up but adopted the ‘try until you get it right’ method for success. He once responded when asked about his failures; “…If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward.” Without his perseverance, Edison would never have developed a system of electric-power generation or worked out how to get it into homes, businesses, and factories.  This was a crucial advancement for the modern industrialised world and the world as we know it.  Edison is still to this day, the fourth most prolific inventor in history, with 1,093 American patents in his name, and many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. He is accredited with numerous inventions that guaranteed the advances in mass communication, predominantly that of telecommunications. Some of these developments were the stock ticker; a mechanical vote recorder, battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures. Where would our world be if Mr Edison had ceased his work the first time he did not get it right?
  • Albert Einstein, as named by Time magazine, was Person of the 20th Century. Many of us link Einstein with science, physics and genius. Would it surprise you to know that he did not show any promise as a child? Albert did not speak until he was four (typical speech would be about 300 words by 3 years) and did not read until he was seven. Both his teachers and parents thought he was mentally disabled, slow and anti-social. This resulted in him being expelled from school and was denied admission to the Zurich Polytechnic School. However, Mr Einstein was made of sterner stuff and refused to listen to the expert evaluation of his abilities. His tenacity yielded results and end with him winning the Nobel Prize, changing the face of modern physic, in addition to the shape of our modern world.

Are we bored yet? The list is endless! Regular people who believed in their vision and themselves. Regular people who never gave up and end up changing our world. 

  • Charles Darwin: In his early years, Darwin gave up on having a medical career and was often chastised by his father for being lazy and too dreamy. Darwin himself wrote, “I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect.”
  • Walt Disney: Walt was fired by his newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Disney then attempted to start a number of businesses which ended with bankruptcy and failure. Did he quit? No!  Disney persisted and ultimately found his formula for success.
  • Henry Ford: Everyone knows of the Ford motorcar and the modern factory assembly line but you wouldn’t if Henry Ford had given up after his first or second failure. In fact, Mr Ford failed at his first five businesses but being broke did not dampen his enthusiasm. He went on to build the successful Ford Motor Company.

Yes, there are many women who have this ‘keep going until I get it right attitude’. Unhappily history does not teach of them. So as the token female representative I have selected a woman who uses her position of influence to enhance the lives of those less privileged. She is a great role model, a humanitarian and a successful businesswoman.

Oprah Winfrey: Most people know Oprah as one of the most iconic faces on television. She is one of the richest and most successful women in the world. Unfortunately, life was not always easy for Oprah with her having to endure a rough and often abusive childhood. Even her attempts to realise success within her career included the humiliation of being fired from her job as a television reporter because she was deemed “unfit for TV.” This did not discourage her, Oprah kept on until she gained what she set out to achieve.

The person I think of when I feel like quitting is a little old Greek philosopher, Socrates, and you are forgiven if you do not know him off hand. He was forced to take in own life in 339 BC (BCE for the PCs in the readership) but what he left as his legacy you will certainly know.

Socrates contribution to modern society is ‘to always question and never simply accept because you are told’.  The Socratic Method or Socratic debate is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoint, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. Socrates is one of the greatest philosophers and has influenced every era with his ideology. Wretchedly because of his new ideas, in his own time, he was called “an immoral corrupter of youth” and was sentenced to death. Socrates didn’t let this stop him and kept right on questioning and teaching up until he was forced to poison himself.  If he had not believed so strongly in what he was teaching or had stopped when he was asked, the world would be a very different place now.

As I close I included the picture that started me thinking today. ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ holds a special place in my heart. My daughter read this book unaided when she was 4 and to this day it remains one of her favourites. As I was net surfing I came across this interesting fact. It got me thinking, what would have happened if Dr Seuss had told his editor that he was right that there was no way one could write a story using only fifty words?

Next time you mess something up, stop, take a breath, and then look and see how you can make it work. After all, you have just found a way something won’t work, but you haven’t failed. You should not be discouraged as every wrong attempt discards a notion and is just another step forward.

Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel was a German-American author, political cartoonist, poet, animator, book publisher, and artist, best known for authoring more than 60 children’s books under the pen name Doctor Seuss.


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