This is the time of year we dream big, vow to make changes, create goals, and promise to transform into a new and improved version of ourselves. Then we allow life and other responsibilities, naysayers, doubt, and fear to veer us of course.
At times when you’re feeling frustrated by lack of progress, or the inevitable setbacks that come, I thought this might be a timely reminder to stay the course!
As you follow your bliss and explore your passions, draw inspiration from the following individuals who found success in spite of the odds against them:
- Fred Astaire. He sang and danced his way into our hearts on the silver screen, but his first audition for a major studio was a bomb. The executives were underwhelmed by his performance and offered this critique of Astaire: “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”
- Wayne Gretzky. Widely regarded as one of the greatest pro hockey players, Gretzky was considered too slow and too small at the start of his career. The popular opinion was he’d never be a success in the NHL.
- Sir John Gurdon. He is a pioneer in the fields of nuclear medicine, cloning, and cellular development. Among his many honors are a cancer research facility named in his honor and a Nobel Prize. Yet Gurdon finished last in his prep school biology class because his ideas about science were not aligned with the curriculum of that time.
- Im Dong-Hyen. This South Korean archer has won medals and set records. He even competed in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympics—despite being legally blind.
- George Lucas. There wasn’t a single studio in Hollywood interested in Lucas’ script for Star Wars. He endured four years of rejection before an executive at 20th Century Fox decided to give Lucas a chance—not because he liked the script, but because he liked Lucas’s film American Graffiti.