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Goal Setting Success Stories

February 20, 2013

These are stories of succeeding against the odds, persisting in the face of doubt, Imagepossessing true grit, focusing and maintaining determination to never quit until the goal is reached.

Thomas Edison, an American inventor, had more than 1,000 U.S. patents to his name.  However, as a young boy in school, his mind often wandered and his teachers told him that he was “too stupid to learn anything”.  He was eventually home-schooled by his mother.

Edison’s greatest accomplishment is the light bulb.  He was most famous for the following quote in regards to his persistence in developing the light bulb…

“I have not failed.

I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Walt Disney was fired from his first job because he was told that he lacked imagination.  He had 300 banks turn down his Walt Disney theme park idea.  At one stage, he was bankrupt.  He maintained determination and focused on what he wanted to achieve.  Today, his movies, merchandise and theme parks are worth billions.

“To some people, I am kind of a Merlin who takes lots of crazy chances,

but rarely makes mistakes.

I’ve made some bad ones, but, fortunately,

the successes have come along fast enough to cover up the mistakes.

When you go to bat as many times as I do,

you’re bound to get a good average.”

Walt Disney

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen wrote the book “Chicken Soup for the Soul” which was rejected by over 140 publishers who didn’t believe it would be a bestseller.  When it was eventually published, it sold more than 100 million copies and launched the Chicken Soup series, making both of them rich and famous.

“You have to believe it’s possible and believe in yourself.

Because after you’ve decided what you want,

you have to believe it’s possible,

and possible for you,

not just for other people.

Then you need to seek out models, mentors, and coaches.”

 Jack Canfield

Michael Jordan is known as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.  In his sophomore year, he failed to make the varsity basketball team due to his height.  Michael was 5 ft. 11 in (1.80 m) and classed as too short to play at that level.

Michael developed the attitude of persistence.  “Whenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ought to stop, I’d close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it and that usually got me going again.”

Jordan didn’t make excuses; instead, he practiced hard perfecting his game.  His burning desire to be the best, his refusal to quit, to persevere, to practice, to do more than the minimum eventually led to him being one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

J.K. Rowling went from depending on welfare to being one of the richest women in the world. Her first book, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was rejected by a dozen publishers.

Bloomsbury, a small London publisher, only published it because the CEO’s eight-year old daughter picked up the manuscript and started reading it and loved it so much she begged her father to print the book.

Colonel Sanders had over a 1000 knockbacks in a two-year period for his Kentucky Fried Chicken Recipe, which he developed at the age of 65.

“I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could.

And no hours, nor amount of labour,

nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me.

And I have done that ever since,

and I win by it. I know.”

Colonel Sanders

Orville and Wilbur Wright, better known as the Wright brothers, were mocked, put down and laughed at for their idea to “fly”.  After an incredible number of attempts, tons of failed prototypes and many years of experiments they were successful in developing an aeroplane that could fly.

“If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true,

then there would be little hope for advance.”

Wright brothers

Ludwig van Beethoven is famous for many of the best loved symphonies of all time.  Five of these were composed when he was completely deaf.  His teachers thought that he was hopeless and that he would never succeed as a composer or at the violin.  Beethoven persisted and maintained his passion.

Elvis Presley is best known as the ‘King of Rock and Roll’.  However, as legend tells us, when he was still unknown, he got fired after one performance.  His manager, Jimmy Denny, told him, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son.  You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

Winston Churchill struggled at school and failed sixth grade.  He was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister at the age of 62.

“I am an optimist.

It does not seem too much use being anything else.”

Winston Churchill

Donald Trump is a well-known television personality, a property magnet and author.  He is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having engineered the biggest financial turnaround in history.

In the early 1990s, Donald owed billions of dollars and many people thought he was finished.  He never lost faith in himself and refused to give in to the negative circumstances.  He said, “I didn’t believe I was finished even when the newspapers were saying so. I refused to give up. Defeat is not in my vocabulary.”


Pick one of these for your inspiration when things are getting too difficult or you are feeling overwhelmed then remind yourself about their focus, attitude and never giving up on their dream.

Thank you and I look forward to sharing more tips, strategies and skills to support you to be more organised so that you too can create a better life.

“Be an inspiration to yourself and

you will be an inspiration to others.”


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