What do Barack Obama, Eric Clapton, Bill Gates, and Micheal Jordan Have In Common?

“It’s fine to celebrate success, but it’s more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

Billy Gates is credited with that quote. I agree with him. It is in failure that our mettle, our very character is tested. Out of failure may spring the resolve of a personal mission. I am reminded of Barack Obama losing his congressional race in 2000. As he described it, “the sort of drubbing that awakens you to the fact that life is not obliged to work out as you planned.” (The Audacity of Hope). Thus I believe America’s next president is a great example of what may happen when failure is accepted, learned from, and utilized as a launching pad for one’s determination to work harder than ever before in their chosen field.

We all know Micheal Jordan was heartbroken having been cut from his freshman basketball team. I am also reminded of the many authors who have become famous and revered long after they had died, in many cases unaccepted by the literary circles of their day.

Consider that countless individuals have made an enormous impact on the world having lived through adversity and failure. Many brilliant, even genius minds, are considered to have learned to adapt and succeed by infusing their abilities with dyslexia, AD/HD, and Asperger’s Syndrome. Here’s a short list….Einstein, Charles Schwab, Micheal Phelps, Whoopi, and John Irving (one of my favorite authors—wrote The World According to Garp).

Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections and suffered a nervous breakdown before making a lasting mark on the very cultural fabric of American society. Thomas Edison was considered stupid by his past teachers who obviously didn’t see the light—bulb that is. Walt Disney was told by the newspaper he worked for that he had no original ideas. Eric Clapton was kicked out of art school. Imagine, Eric Clapton, the man who once inspired graffiti in London proclaiming that he was “God” was told his artistry wasn’t up to snuff.

In many cases, failure can ignite the fire to greatness, if not dismissed, and when it does not serve as an impetus to quit. So remember all these people I have mentioned when facing obstacles that may level you temporarily.  All the people who judged the respected names I mentioned were pathetically wrong. However, history may view them as a negative influence that prompted greatness, ingenuity, and a multitude of successes that will always be recalled. Hey, does anyone actually know the name of Micheal Jordan’s coach who cut him from the team? Or the dean at the art school that dismissed Eric Clapton? I didn’t think so.

3 Responses to “What do Barack Obama, Eric Clapton, Bill Gates, and Micheal Jordan Have In Common?”

  1. I too agree with Mr. Gates, we do have full right to celebrate success but failures too should be taken as a lesson not a punishment.

  2. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
    —Thomas Edison
    one of my favorite quotes 🙂

  3. your examples are of men of little worth. edison was a petty man that marketed the tallents of others. missing linkoln was a megalomaniac that killed a million americans. bill gates was a maketing rich boy that got rich off his mothers connections and pauls brain. an oh bummer is a pandering neo-profit hell bent on destroying the united states.

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