Succeed against the odds!

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“If you are going through hell, keep going” – Sir Winston Churchill

It can’t be said any better in the simplest way. Just keep going, do not stop, turn back, deviate, or give up, but just keep going until you get out of it. Many of us are faced with many heart breaking or disappointing situations in our lives. It is how life works. Perhaps it is a necessary evil in our lives that makes us value happiness and appreciate our other blessings in life. Also I do understand that how people act or react to each situation is unique to their individual personalities and experiences and thus I am not generalizing any set universal solution or approach to help stop a self-destructive process due to any given incident.

I have experienced this type of behavior first hand a few times in my life and struggled with this phase myself with all that I could to get out of it. I did loose a huge part of my life, emotions, peace, mental balance, and valuable time doing so, but I survived. Now that I am out of that in my life, I can’t help but see it as an escape from a high security prison, where I was being incarcerated for something I never did or deserved this punishment for. But now that I have cried my way out of it, dug the deepest trenches, crawled out of the darkest tunnels and after immense struggle I see the light of day and freedom, I feel it has been an experience I need to share. I have come across many people while I was going through my difficult times and many after my struggles that I see are still caught in their shock, sorrow, and disbelief of being in a situation as such and finding it very hard to see what they can do to get out of these situations in life.

I have learned several lessons in the process and learned firstly to analyze and understand my actions and reactions to each and every situation in life. I learned that I may not be able to understand why others did what they did and how can they be so in humane and ruthless in their actions. But the only thing I had full and exclusive control over is my actions, reactions, determination, persistence to succeed, ability to think and my will to defend myself from such things and recover from a fall. This further led me to see each and every single option I had at my disposal that I could have chosen to avoid these incidents from happening. But if only I had the wisdom, and smarts to separate my emotions from my rationality I could have avoided a lot of problems in my life. It is strange how life finds a way to warn you about things that could go wrong and we somehow see it but never realize it in good time. I have spoken to many others who have experienced hardships and betrayal in their lives or even those who have taken wrong decisions in life and if they too where able to see the signs of warnings but were blinded by their emotions. And to my surprise almost each and every person did see these signs and chose to avoid and ignore them as they let their emotions override their rational thinking and common sense. And there were those who saw such sings but still chose to continue because they places a very high level of trust in luck, goodness within people and fate.

But I realized that when we face such difficult times, we let our emotions take over our intelligence. We begin to feel sorry for ourselves and take the situation as though it was a failure on our part. But I also realized that it was absolutely okay to fail in our lives. It only takes such failures and set backs for us to build ourselves stringer and go further in our lives. Failure is nothing but often the first step to success. If you never fail, you will never succeed truly. The best of horsemen have often broken a bone or two. But they became the best because they chose to get back on that horse as soon as they fell. It is in the darkest of hours and times that the best things in life were created and the brightest ideas were born. And what is more amazing is that the simplest and most ordinary of men came up with these greatest ideas and creations. But the fact remains that it was often from the darkest of times and the severest of hurdles, obstacles and criticisms the most ordinary of men came through with the greatest of creations, inventions and ideas.

I am listing a few famous failures below. At one point the idea of these people reaching the heights they have reached would have seemed absurd, but they too faced their share of hardships and many of their ideas, spirit and courage were born out of these hardships. Many didn’t just fail, they failed in spectacular fashion and they failed several times. They didn’t for once accept the negative and give up saying that are imperfect human beings, but instead they took pride and had belief in their capabilities, abilities, drive, courage, and the will to stand up again and fight till they got what they wanted. They were persistent to succeed, had the patience to keep failing, learning from their failures, holding on to their hope, keep trying and wait for their time to come and then some more to succeed, and be determined regardless of consequences. 


Abraham Lincoln – One of the most amazing and often referred to. Former US president Abraham Lincoln, lost his fiancé, had a nervous breakdown, first went into politics at the age of 23 when he campaigned for a seat in the Illinois General Assembly and failed. He was defeated in 8 elections. He once also opened a general store which failed after only a few months.


Robert M Pirsig – His well known book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” was rejected by 121 publishers. Since finally being published in 1974 it has gone on to sell millions of copies in 27 languages.


Michael Jordan – A well publicized and well known fact about the most famous name in basketball was actually cut from his high school basketball team.


 John Wayne – Before his successful acting career he was rejected from the United  States Naval Academy.


Steven Spielberg – This household name dropped out of high school and applied to attend film school three times but was unsuccessful due to his C grade average.


Beethoven – His music teacher once told him that he was a hopeless composer.

Harry S. Truman – This former USP resident was rejected by the US Military & Naval Academies due to his poor eyesight. At one point he was a clerk in a newspaper mailroom, and also an usher in a movie theater.


Babe Ruth – This baseball legend struck out 1,330 times.


Henry Ford – The Ford Motor Co was Henry Ford’s third business, the first two didn’t work out.


Winston Churchill – This former British Prime Minister did poorly in school and had a speech impediment in his early years.


Marilyn Monroe – Marilyn Monroe spent much of her younger years in foster homes. One of her first jobs, during the Second World War, was inspecting parachutes. Producer told her she was “unattractive” and could not act.


Walt Disney – He was fired by the editor of a newspaper for lacking in ideas.


Soichiro Honda – The founder of Honda was turned down for an engineering job by Toyota after World War Two.


Charles Darwin – His father told him he would amount to nothing and would be a disgrace to himself and his family.


Albert Einstein – He learned to speak at a late age and performed poorly in school.


Thomas Edison – As a boy he was told by his teacher that he was too stupid to learn anything.


Isaac Newton- He failed at running the family farm and did poorly in school.


The Vice President of Columbia told this actor that he was never going to make it in the business. The actor? – Harrison Ford


Turned down by a recording company saying “We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out” They were talking about the Beatles


Were told by Publishers that “anthologies didn’t sell” and the book was “too positive” Rejected a total of 140 times. The book? Chicken Soup for the Soul. It now has 65 different titles and has sold over 80 million copies all over the world.


Was not allowed to wait on customers in the store he worked in because “he didn’t have enough sense” – F. W. Woolworth


Auditioned for All My Children and got rejected – Julia Roberts


Received 30 rejections and the author threw it in the trash. Luckily his wife fished it out again and encouraged him to resubmit it. The book was Carrie – the author Stephen King

So, what do we learn from these examples? Should life throw a curve ball at us, do we accept defeat and let ourselves sink?  It is very important for us to learn to accept defeat and failure as a part of our lives.

We will be defeated in love, work, school, sports, relationships, trust, faith and almost everything that we lean on. It is absolutely possible and expected for a person to be betrayed, cheated, let down, hurt etc. We are dealing with many such imperfect people who have chosen the negatives over the positives and live their life based on negative facts. They may have chosen and given up on becoming better human beings and the will, drive, desire and decency to question themselves and their actions. They may prefer to blame the world, weather, and the dog for their choice and lack of actions. Do they inspire you? Are such people of any value to anyone? Are they valuable to themselves? Would you want to be like them?

It is okay to fail, fail, and fail again. But what is important is that you tried. And what is even more important is that you either correct yourself, analyze your reason to fail and try it again after you correct it, or stop doing the same mistake over and again. As they say, one of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. This is true and applicable in almost every aspect in your life. Especially in relationships that usually is one of the main factors that suck out the best out of our lives. Instead of dwelling over a failed relationship and taking out the anger on the world or yourself, or even blaming yourself for something you have or have not done, stop that process. Instead, analyze, realize you’re a human being, correct yourself, learn from your mistake and move on. The importance and absolute emphasis is NOT TO BE AFRAID OF FAILURE! I can’t stress enough of this one single factor. Every single great and successful persona will tell you this as they too have only succeeded after having failed. The reason they succeeded is because they failed, fell hard, picked themselves up, dusted themselves, nursed their wounds and moved forward again. They kept trying, learning from their failures and kept moving forward until they succeed. In work, at home, in business, in relationships, in love, in ambition and life they kept moving forward until they achieved success and then took great pleasure to cherish and enjoy their resulting rewards.

But if you were wronged and your set back or failure is a result of someone who hurt you or cheated you? Do not be petty minded, and low in your thinking by wanting to hurt the other person in return. Revenge is a weak and cowardly act. This is one of the major factors many young people waste and destroy their lives in, taking revenge or spite someone as a comeback. Instant retaliation is a sign of weakness. The need for instant retaliation is an act of those who are small in thinking and they do it as an immediate need to nurse their hurt ego.

Learn to recognize your positive attributes, your smartness, your ability, your skills, your successes and count your blessings. Look around at the people who love you, care about you, and genuinely wish well for you. If you reach out for a stranger, even he or she will lend you a hand. Believe in good and fairness. It does exist. Look back at the things you have done in your life that had gained you recognition, appreciation and love. Realize that was you the same person today. Each of us has some skill or ability that is unique to us. Identify and develop yours. Give, be generous, and smile. One of the first things I did when I got divorced was to sponsor a child in a war-torn country. It was a very gratifying act knowing that I too could be valuable and helpful to someone.

Understand that bad things happen to every single person on this earth. From the richest people to the poorest. Some times the poorest have to cope with the severest of tragedies as well. It is a natural occurrence since life began on this planet. One can learn from history that kingdoms, great cultures, and many great individuals have been devastated by bad things happening to them. Even what seems to us a fairytale wedding, some of those couples end up in broken marriages, and natural disasters wipe out whole families or cities. Compare your life with them and see how blessed you are still. Don’t dwell on the tragic things that happen to you, you are not the only nice person suffering, there are several more like you. Look towards your future, and progress. Learn to take bad things in stride and be aware. Be watchful, try to develop your ability to expect and defend yourself from such happenings in life. Be prepared and smart at all times.  

Take control of your behaviour and actions. Control yourself and your urge to become a lesser and disgraceful human being by acting like one. Try to grow up and take a mature and graceful stance on matters in life. Do not stoop low to a level of a person who acts poorly. Remember that often silence and control is a much smarter way to respond to situations. We seldom have to respond immediately, but it sure can always be polite and we can always ask or take time to react after thinking. Responding in rage, anger, harsh words and stooping to the other person’s level often will lead you to self-destruction and actions that you surely will eventually regret.

So, when you see yourself in an auto self destruct mode, or being wronged, or failing in your trials to achieve or accomplish something that is important to you, please take efforts to do the following and it is only in your own ability and will to do it:

Realize you are destroying yourself, your future, and your life for the amusement and entertainment of others who do not care about you but at the expense of your loved ones and yourself.

Know that at times what you think is betrayal or a loss when someone walks away from you; it could actually be for your own good as they secretly know something about themselves are too ashamed to share it with you for your own good.

Do not question or try to analyze the motives of others when you are wronged. Only they truly know their motives, reasons and let them justify it with their poor reasoning abilities or suffer from eventual guilt.

Analyze your actions, reactions and mistakes. Think of the warning signals you ignored, your reactions to them, your action, your mistakes that you could have avoided or controlled and learn from them. Remember them, and do not repeat them.

Do not indulge in revenge, retaliation, and petty behavior. Show class, decency, pride, and maturity. Walk away, be calm, know in your heart that nature will surely teach them a lesson and you may or may not see it. There is a very good chance they will come back to you and apologize. Forgive them but never forget your mistakes.

Do not indulge in negativity. Be positive and choose to move ahead in life for better things. Know that bad things happen to everyone. Be it a president, a millionaire, a poor person, a celebrity or an unknown. Each move on. They pick themselves up, dust themselves, learn from their fall and move on only to become stronger and smarter next time and win more respect and admiration for how they handled their situation.

Choose action. Others can tell you things all you want to hear There are good friends, family, professionals etc all to advice you on how to rebound or what to do. Many a times you yourself know what needs to be done and what are the right things to do. The challenge is to CHOOSE to do it. To get up and take action.

Always remember that it is absolutely normal and okay to fail. Not just once, but twice or three times. But learn from your mistakes and correct yourself. You need to stop yourself from failing. You do it in video games; you do it in love, friendship and many tasks that interest you. You just have to choose, stop, refocus and make genuine efforts to win and succeed.

Be human. Be humble; recognize others are human beings too. People are usually product if their experiences and circumstances and so are you. But the decision to let those affect you negatively is yours. And the reaction is your choice. Be it positive or negative it is your choice and you will face the consequences of your choice.

Word hard to develop and carry the attitude to succeed, accomplish, do great things, and achieve greater goals and do greater deeds in life. Have the attitude and aptitude to inspire, lead, protect, defend and shine in your life as good, decent, and fantastic human being.

Solidify your ability to endure, persevere and keep trying with just one unwavering goal and aim to accomplish your desire and the resulting rewards. Be it to get a qualification, a degree, an exam, a profession, a task in a job, an ambition, a deed for your loved ones, or even being patient for the sake of your loved ones happiness. 

Above all, aspire to win. Inspire others by winning against the odds. Show them how it is done and do it well. Motivate others by setting an example on how to come out of the darkness. Share your successes and see it help others.

Remember this always: If you fail in one thing it doesn’t mean you are bad in everything. You could be great or the greatest in one particular thing in life if you wish. And you are always lot more worth than you think of yourself to be. Take on a simple commitment like adopting or sponsoring an innocent poor child who could be a victim of poverty, war, or a natural disaster. Realize the simple great things you can do every day in your life and make it worthwhile.

Your life is nothing more than the choices you make in your reactions to everyday events!


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