It’s a fact, success eludes most people. And chances are high it’s even eluded you once or twice too.
Tragically, success is especially elusive for people always in search of a silver bullet. It evades, dodges, and ducks away from any person who thinks success is something that “happens to them”.
Sadly, its those most eager seekers who are always on the hunt for the newest tricks, fads, formulas, and shortcuts, that rarely find what they’re after.
The goddess of success is smarter than we think…and she can’t be fooled.
Truth is, it’s only the truly committed who will ever discover true success. These “lucky few” eventually reach their aim because they discover the qualities that must be possessed before they can win the game. Qualities such as high effort, courage, and self-discipline.
But most importantly, they’ll discover success because they learn how to master the most difficult success quality of them all.
So what is this one thing that causes success to escape most people’s grasp?
Believe it or not, it is staying power.
Staying power; otherwise known as determined persistence and never giving in, is what seals the fate of most people’s pursuits in the end.
There’s No Magic Pill
Now, if there were a magic pill I could give you to help you become a human battering ram, the type of battering ram that hammers away on the doors of success until it gets through, I’d give it to you. But, no such pill exists.
But what I can give you is this; a stronger belief that you will succeed, if you will but persist.
And that’s what I have for you today my friend. 10 short motivational stories to help you strengthen your staying power. 10 stories to help you win.
So, if you want to give those doors of success a real scare, read these 10 strive stories with the utmost care.
10 Motivational Stories on Staying Power
1. Paulo Coelho:
When ‘The Alchemist’ was first published some 30 some years ago, no one noticed. A bookseller in the northeast corner of the country told the author, Paulo Coelho, that only one person purchased a copy during that first week when it was released. Un-phased by the silent reception, Paulo Coelho confidently waited for those next few sales to come in. And he would wait a long time too, as it took six more months before his second copy was sold—and it was sold to the exact same person who bought the first!
By the end of that first year, Paulo Coelho’s publisher lost hope in his book and so decided to cancel his contract and cut him loose.
But, Paulo Coelho didn’t let that demoralizing rejection paralyze him. Instead of quitting like many would at this point, he decided to be steadfast, and continued to pursue his vision. So, he looked for another publisher. He looked, and looked, and looked until he finally found one. And with it, he found his second chance.
Once his book was published again, it slowly started to sell by word of mouth. His persistence started to pay off, as he eventually sold three thousand books, then six, then ten. Month over month year over year his book sales started to grow. And now… ‘The Alchemist’ has sold over 150 million copies across the world.
It’s a good thing Paulo Coelho had staying power. Had he quit, he wouldn’t be who he is today, a literary legend.
2. Michael Jordan:
Most people don’t know this, but when Michael Jordan was a sophomore in high school, he was eager to prove himself as a great basketball player. As such, he tried out for the Varsity squad. But guess what? Things didn’t go as planned. Jordan got cut from the team.
Considering he had such big dreams as a star basketball player, that rejection hit him really hard. In fact, it hit him so hard that he went home, locked himself in his room, and cried.
Now Jordan cried, cried, and cried, but he didn’t quit. He picked himself up and decided to at least crush it on the JV squad. And crush it he did. He also decided to train his ass off in the off season. He even grew four inches. And then that next year, Michael Jordan did what all winners do….he tried again.
This time, however, he made the team, and quickly became the school’s best player. By the time he was a senior, he made the McDonalds’ All-American team. Then he went off to play in college…and the rest is history.
Michael Jordan didn’t quit. Instead he transformed his failure into fuel for future success. He then used that fuel to become “The Michael Jordan”. The man who would score 32,292 points in his basketball career, acquire 6 NBA championships, collect 5 MVP titles, and come to be known to many, as the GOAT (Greatest of all time).
Clearly, no, doesn’t mean never.
3. Steven Pressfield:
Steven Pressfield is a professional hero of mine, and I am sure he is to countless other authors as well. Here’s why….
It took Steven Pressfield 17 years before he made his first dollar as a writer. He wrote for 27 years before he got his first novel published (The Legend of Bagger Vance).
During that time, Steven worked at 21 different jobs in eleven states. He taught school, drove tractor-trailers, worked in advertising and as a screenwriter in Hollywood, he worked on offshore oil rigs, and even picked fruit as a migrant worker, but he never gave up. Sure, he had to go back and work for “the man” from time to time, but he kept his eye on the prize; his dream.
This is why his pursuit of his passion is the epitome of staying power.
Now, Steven is the author of over 16 books and is a source of inspiration for authors and creative people around the world.
Art is war, and so is finding success in general. So, if your dreams are slow to come don’t lose heart, just remember Steven Pressfield, and be willing to fight long and hard for your art.
4. Lionel Messi:
If you keep up with soccer, then you’ve heard of Lionel Messi. At age of 11, Messi was cut from his soccer team because he was too small. He was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency which made him much smaller than most kids his age.
However, Messi didn’t let this stop him. Instead, week after week after week, every day, before going to sleep, he would inject growth hormones into himself. Messi would do this for seven days in one leg, then seven days in the other, for six long years.
Fortunately, Messi’s foresight and persistence paid off. Now, he is one of the highest paid soccer players, having a net worth of over 400 million, is considered one of the best soccer players of all time, and has won soccer’s greatest achievement, ‘The Ballon d’Or’ five times.
Even when it seems nature is against you at first, she bends to those with a strong will and staying power.
5. Steven Spielberg:
Steven Spielberg was rejected from USC film school three times. But that didn’t stop him, instead, he just tried a different school. He applied to Cal State, Long Beach, and got into their film program. And while still a student a Cal State, he landed an unpaid internship at Universal Studios. It was a fortuitous gig that soon led his dropping out. It was a calculated move that would allow him to rub elbows with movie makers at Universal Studios to shortening his path to fulfilling his dream.
Unfortunately, his internship didn’t last long enough for him to break into the movie business like he had planned. But, undeterred, Steven would still sneak in to the studios, pretending to work there so he could learn more about movies until he could catch his break.
Legend has it, that he had an 8 mm film that he knew the studio executives would love, if only they would watch it. He found a way to get it into their hands, but they flip flopped on him, and then said they would only watch it if he shot it on a 16-mm film. So, Steven went out and rented a 16-mm camera and reshot the whole movie. When he brought it back to the executives, they told him not to come back until it was on a 35-mm film. Undeterred, he jumped through their hoops and reshot the movie on the 35-mm film.
Finally, the executives decided to relent and gave his movie a look. And the rest is history. The movie went on to win a prize at the Atlanta film festival and helped Steven lock in a 7-year contract directing movies with Universal.
No doubt, If you keep looking for your break, the day will come when you find it.
6. Walt Disney:
Everyone knows who this legend is. But, did you know before Walt Disney was “The Walt Disney”, he had once been fired because his boss thought he lacked imagination and had no good ideas?
I know, it’s crazy to think that he would ever be considered the opposite of what he ended up being so great at.
Fortunately, Walt Disney didn’t listen to his critics, and pressed on to create his own cartoon animation company. Now, just because he pressed on doesn’t mean he hit it big right away. He would go on to experience a few additional failures along the way (along with few small successes), but ultimately, he kept on pressing forward, innovating, and improving on his love for animation.
And, well…he eventually smashed through those doors of success and went on to become the creator of the household name that we’ve all come to know and love.
Truly, every success, at some time or another, has had to learn how to believe in themselves when no one else on this big blue planet is willing to hold the same belief. And the chances are high you’ll have to do the same.
So, when someone tries to halt your vision, just remember good ole Walt Disney. Ignore your critics, believe in yourself, and get yourself back into the game.
7. Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen:
The authors of the now famous ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ series of books faced massive obstacles when first starting out. Some publishers said their books would never sell. Others said that their title was stupid, and that nobody bought collections of short stories.
Undeterred, this dynamic duo went on to reach out to publisher after publisher. They suffered through 123 rejections before things started to look up for them.
Fortunately, they didn’t take no for an answer, because they eventually found stratospheric success with their books, and as a result have sold over 500 million books across the world.
If it wasn’t for their staying power and dogged perseverance, they never would have become the founders of one of the most successful publishing franchises in the world today.
8. Stephen King:
Before he was the king of horror, Stephen King was essentially a starving artist. Money was so scarce in his early writing days, that he and his wife had to live in a trailer, couldn’t afford a telephone, had to borrow clothes for their wedding, and worked multiple jobs to support their family and keep the lights on.
But, the pull of his dream to write was greater that his economic plight.
On top of the financial challenges Stephen King faced, he, like most authors, experienced lots of rejection. In fact, he received 60 rejections before selling his first story, “The Glass Floor” for a measly $35. But, he kept on writing, striving, and struggling, until he eventually sold his next story. And fortunately, his next story would set him up to write full-time, forever. What was the name of that book? “Carrie”.
Having published over 200 short stories, 58 novels, and selling over 350 million copies, Stephen King is not just the king of horror, he’s also the king of staying power.
9. Robert Kiyosaki:
The man behind the extremely successful ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ brand, Robert Kiyosaki is a prime example of persistence in action.
His first business sold those cool looking velcro wallet’s that were all the rage in the 80’s. Unfortunately, he didn’t protect his product with patents and eventually went bankrupt after competitors snatched up most of his market share.
But he persisted, and soon after went on to start another company that sold licensed apparel for heavy metal bands, unfortunately, that company would eventually flounder as well.
He kept pressing forward though, seeking his one-way ticket out of the rat race. While working for the Xerox company to pay the bills, he kept striving to build a business. Eventually, he found success when his first financial education company took off. Soon after, he then sold that company and leveraged his new-found wealth to become the wealth guru and best-selling author he is today.
Robert Kiyosaki didn’t know the how, because hardly any of us do. But, he knew the where. He knew where he wanted to go, and kept moving forward, failure after failure until he got there.
10. Howard Shultz:
Thanks to the persistence and tenacity of Howard, today we can enjoy a delicious Starbucks coffee as we work at our computers in just about every city in the United States of America.
Most people don’t know this, but when Howard Shultz was just starting out, he was finding it very difficult to convince investors to write him a check. It would take more than 214 rejections before he found someone who believed in his idea enough to help him fund it.
Now that’s staying power. But that’s not all. In it’s infancy, his company also incurred losses for three straight years. And on one of those early years, 1989 to be exact, he incurred more than $1 million in losses alone.
Howard Shultz was a beast! Thank goodness too, else I wouldn’t be able enjoy this pumpkin spice macchiato, as I finish up this piece.
No does not mean never, and the struggle won’t last forever, but if you lack staying power, success will inevitably evade you altogether.
The road to success is filled with no’s, rejections, mishaps and failures along the way. But, despite all the obstacles, you must decide to keep going, every single day.
So, if you’ve learned anything from this post, I hope it is this: That there are only two rules when it comes to success. Rule number one, never give up. Rule number two, never forget rule number one.
Till next time,