“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”
– Henry Ford
Behind every success story, you will find struggle, it’s part of nature’s process. Whether it’s the chick ready to face the world, struggling to free itself from the hard shell that protects it while it grows, or the actor struggling to make ends meet, slinging burgers before her big break, or the student who fails the entrance exam several times before becoming the top of his class, the struggle is often a necessary step on the road to success.
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That is the case for many now-famous people who overcame challenges and faced rejection before they made it big. Here are three such examples.
In 1973, Stephen King was working as an English teacher in Maine and selling short stories on the side to make ends meet. That same year, after being rejected 30 times by publishing houses for his first novel Carrie, he decided to give up on the book, and threw it in the trash. He did end up finishing it and getting it published. Now, King is one of the best-selling authors of all time and his books have sold over 350 million copies and have been made into countless major motion pictures.
Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC started his dream at 65 years old. He got a social security check for only $105 and was mad. Instead of complaining he did something about it. He thought restaurant owners would love his fried chicken recipe, and he’d get a percentage of it. He traveled across the country, cooking batches of chicken from restaurant to restaurant, striking deals that paid him a nickel for every chicken the restaurant sold. The Colonel’s chicken was rejected 1009 times before he got his first sale. And today, KFC automatically comes to mind when someone says “fried chicken”.
Sidney Poitier was rejected by the American Negro Theater for his Bahamian accent and difficulty reading. He became a dishwasher as he practiced his accent and reading. Six months later, he was accepted by the theater and went on to be the first black man to win an Oscar. Today, he is a revered actor, and a symbol of excellence in cinema.
The following story illustrates how important struggle can be to your ultimate success:
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon.
The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that at any moment the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.
Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were life’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. Remember nature needs no help, just no interference. There are processes of life, things we all go through. The struggles are a part of our journey and are preparing us for what awaits. They are preparing us to fly.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!