Both winners and losers have dreams. The difference that drives their opposing outcomes is that losers fantasize while winners are more pragmatic. Winners begin, do, finish. They are not defeated by adversity.


Steve_JobsSteve Jobs, at 30, was left devastated and depressed after being unceremoniously removed from the company he started.

Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan 1997Michael Jordan, after being cut from his high school basketball team went home, locked himself in his room, and cried.


Oprah_WinfreyOprah Winfrey was demoted from her job as news anchor because she “wasn’t fit for television”.

Malcolm-ForbesMalcolm Forbes, once publisher of Forbes Magazine, one the largest business publications in the world, did not make the staff of the Princetonian, his school newspaper at Princeton University.

Liv_UllmannLiv Ullmann, two-time Academy Award nominee for Best Actress, failed an audition for the state theater in Norway. The judges said she had no talent.

Barbara_JordanBarbara Jordan, U.S. Representative from Texas from 1972-1979, was defeated in an election for president of her freshman class at Texas Southern University. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as numerous other honors before her death in 1996.


So what happened here? What made these famous failures into the wildly successful people they ultimately became?


These noted achievers refused to be held back by defeat, failure, or negative advice. Instead they ventured forth boldly. They firmly believed that ‘when one door shuts, another opens…”


The solution to a crisis or a problem may not be easy to discover. However, a winner will relentlessly pursue new avenues and consistently experiment. In the final analysis, success may only be a matter of persistence.


Persistence is not taught, but modeled. Someone in their lives showed our “failures” above that setbacks are only temporary. We, as parents and teachers, must continuously demonstrate the need for beginning a difficult task, for hanging in there, and following through. This may be the most important attribute we assist our children in developing during their formative years.

And for those of us well beyond our early years, we can develop this persistent quality yet. By picking ourselves up when we fall, over and over if necessary, and with the dogged determination of a toddler, keep pushing ourselves on. Success can be just around the corner.

Does it help to know that those we know has huge successes actually failed, often many times, before they succeeded? Are there other qualities successful people bring to bear? How do you demonstrate persistence in your daily life? Tell us in the comments!

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The 7th International NexusEQ Conference is taking place at HARVARD UNIVERSITY in Boston, June 24-26, 2013. Please reserve the date, you can read more details about it here.

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