Under Construction

Many of the people we consider successful were not people with some particular talent, luck or privilege, but were hard workers who succeeded thru persistence.


Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln entered the Black Hawk War as a captain and finished as a private.
Lincoln began his political career in 1832, at age 23, with an unsuccessful campaign for the Illinois General Assembly.

Lincoln was elected to a term in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1846.
Lincoln later damaged his political reputation with a speech against the Mexican-American War.
Warned by his law partner, William Herndon, that the damage was mounting and irreparable, Lincoln decided not to run for reelection.

Lincoln said: "Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing."

Lincoln is ranked as one of the top 3 presidents in history.

Thomas Edison
Invented the light bulb after failing over 1000 times.

"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."

Milton Hershey
Came up with a recipe for a Chocolate bar after having gone bankrupt 4 times trying to manufacture hard candy.
Henry Ford
Ford failed first as a farmer in the 1880's. He went to Detroit to work as an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company.
In 1896 he build a petrol-driven motor car in a shed in his garden. In 1899 he raised enough money to start his own company. His first group of investors withdrew after Ford had spent $86,000 without producing a car that could be sold. His second attempt with some more investors ended in failure. In 1903 he found some more investors and eventually produced the Model A and by 1907 the profits reached $1,100,000. He decided to manufacture one type of car, the Model T. Initially it took 14 hours to assemble a Model T car. By improving his mass production methods, Ford reduced this to 1 hour 33 minutes, allowing him to lower the price from $1,000 to $360.
F.W. Woolworth
While working at a dry goods store, was not allowed to wait on customers because he "didn't have enough sense."
Walt Disney
A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney. Disney had, as the editor said, "no good ideas."
Sir James Dyson
A want-to-be artist, turned to industrial design.
It took 5,127 time-consuming, fully functional prototypes, over about 5 years, before he developed his best selling Dyson vacuum cleaner.
Eleanor Roosevelt
"Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway."
National Geographic Cover picture
In 1984, National Geographic editor, Bill Garrett, found a picture by Steve McCurry in a pile of rejects. He decided to use the picture of an Afghan girl on the cover. It became the most famous cover in the 125 year history of the magazine.
Scott Hamilton
When Scott was two years old he contracted a mysterious illness that caused him to stop growing. After numerous tests and several wrong diagnoses (including a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis that gave him just six months to live), the disease began to correct itself.

It is said that a special diet and exercise cured the problem. However, he grew to only 5-foot-2 and he weighed only 108 pounds during his peak skating years.
He won the men's singles ice skating gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics.

Hermann Maier
In 1987 as a 15-year-old at the Schladming ski academy, he was sent home after being told he wouldn't succeed because of his slight build, caused by growth impairments.
He returned home to his hometown of Flachau and his father's ski school, which remains Maier's home. He took up work as a bricklayer in the summer and a ski instructor in the winter.
Participating in local races, Maier became a multiple regional champion in Salzburg and Tyrol, but still was not able to gain a spot in the strong Austrian World Cup ski team. In 1966 as a forerunner, not participating in the actual competition, for a World Cup GS he recorded the 12th fastest time. They put him on the team. He won Overall world Cup titles in '99, 2000 and 2001. His leg was almost amputated after a near-fatal motorcycle accident in 2001. Told he would not race again, he went thru reconstructive surgery and rehab, winning the World Cup again in 2004.
Harold Connolly
Born with slightly withered left arm; took up hammer throw to strengthen it. Won the gold medal in the hammer in the 1956 Olympics; held the world record until 1960.
Lance Armstrong
In October 1996 he was diagnosed as having testicular cancer, with a tumor that had metastasized to his brain and lungs.
His cancer treatments included brain and testicular surgery and extensive chemotherapy, and his prognosis was originally poor. He went on to win the Tour de France each year from 1999 to 2005, and is the only person to win seven times.
In 2012 he was striped of his titles, because of substance abuse. None the less according to many, it was common in professional biking.
Károly Takács
Was a world-class pistol marksman, but denied a place on the Hungarian team for the 1936 Summer Olympics on the grounds that he was a sergeant, and only commissioned officers were allowed to compete. The ban was lifted and and Takács had expectations of success at the 1940 Summer Olympics. During army training in 1938, his right hand was badly injured and he could no longer shoot with it. In the spring of 1939 he won the Hungarian national pistol shooting championship shooting with his left hand. The Olympic Games scheduled for 1940 and 1944 were cancelled due to the Second World War, but Takács surprised the world by winning the gold medal at the 1948 Summer Olympics.
Jeremy Lin
Lin the son of Taiwanese emigrants was a star high school basketball player in Palo Alto, CA who was passed over by several Pac-10 Universities and went to Harvard where he was an Ivy League star.

Lin went undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft. He played for a while for his hometown Warriors, but eventually waived. He was picked up by the Houston Rockets but waived again.

In the off season Lin put himself thru a fitness program which, increased his weight, strength (adding 6 inches to his running vertical jump) and shooting.

The New York Knicks claimed Lin off waivers on December 27, 2012, but on January 17, he was assigned to the Erie BayHawks of the D-League. Lin was brought back and after newly signed gard Baron Davis suffered a setback, Lin was given a chance to play due to "desperation", according to experts.
On February 4, Lin outplayed All-Star guard Deron Williams and had 25 points, five rebounds, and seven assists--all career-highs in a 99-92 Knicks victory over the New Jersey Nets. He continued his outstanding play. He went on to score 38 points against the LA Lakers a few days later.
Lin became the first NBA player to score at least 20 points and have seven assists in each of his first five starts.
New York had a 7-0 record after Lin started receiving major playing time, 6-0 with him starting.
The media started using the term Linsanity, describing the excitement over the unheralded Lin. Bids for his rookie card exceeded $21,000 on eBay.
At the end of March he had a season ending knee injury. We'll have to wait till next year to see the rest of the story.

More at Jeremy Lin under people.

Bill Cosby once said, "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."

Christopher Morley (1890-1957) once said, "There is only one success -to be able to spend your life in your own way."

...this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down. -- Mary Pickford

"Luck is when preparedness meets opportunity." - Earl Nightingale

"Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning." - Mohandas Gandhi

Think not on what you lack as much as on what you have. Greek Proverb

Remember happiness doesn't depend on who you are or what you have; it depends solely upon what you think. Dale Carnegie

Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough. Oprah Winfrey

The opening essay in Tom Bissell's 2012 book "Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation" examines three 19th-century writers (Whitman, Melville, Dickinson) whose "critical woes" reversed only after posthumous resurrection. For example "Moby Dick", Melville's 1851 novel, had gone out of print and was forgotten until a writer browsing a used book store in the early 20th century picked it up and wrote an article which lead to it's revival and status as one of great american novels.

It was claimed that Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" ("Four score and seven years ago ...") was roundly panned by the contemporary press. The criticism was actually split along party lines. The Democrats knocked his speech as silly and ridiculous, while Republicans praised and reprinted it.

Accidental Inventions
Athletes Who Overcame Injury and Handicaps | Trivia Library: Part 1 | Part 2
Good People
Character vs Performance
The Secret to Success
Quotes on Success

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last updated 2 Nov 2012