Consider This

Consider This

From A 5th Portion of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Consider This

All great achievements require time.

David Joseph Schwartz

Consider this:

Robert Frost, one of the greatest poets that America has produced, labored for twenty years without fame or success. He was thirty-nine years old before he sold a single volume of poetry. Today his poems have been published in some twenty-two languages and he won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry four times.

Albert Einstein, often said to be the smartest person who has ever lived, is quoted as saying, “I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.”

By the end of World War II, prominent CBS newsman William Shirer had decided that he wanted to write professionally. During the next twelve years he was consumed with his writing. Unfortunately, his books rarely sold, and he often had difficulty feeding his family. Out of this period, however, came a manuscript that was 1,200 pages long. Everyone—his agent, his editor, his publisher, his friends—told him it would never sell because of its length. And when Shirer finally did get it published, it was priced at ten dollars, the most expensive book of its time. No one expected it to be of any interest except to scholars. But The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich made publishing history. Its first printing sold out completely on the first day. Even today it remains the all-time biggest seller in the history of the Book-of-the-Month Club.

When Luciano Pavarotti graduated from college, he was unsure of whether he should become a teacher or a professional singer. His father told him, “Luciano, if you try to sit in two chairs, you will fall between them. You must choose one chair.” Pavarotti chose singing. It took seven more years of study and frustration before he made his first professional appearance, and it took another seven years before he reached the Metropolitan Opera. But he had chosen his chair and had become successful.

When Enrico Caruso, the great Italian tenor, took his first voice lesson, the instructor pronounced him hopeless. He said his voice sounded like wind whistling through a window.

Walt Disney was once fired by a newspaper editor for lack of imagination. Disney recalled his early days of failure: “When I was nearly twenty-one years old I went broke for the first time. I slept on cushions from an old sofa and ate cold beans out of a can.”

Scottie Pippen, who won four NBA championship rings and two Olympic gold medals, received no athletic scholarship from any university and originally made his small college basketball team as the equipment manager.

Gregor Mendel, the Austrian botanist whose experiments with peas originated themodern science of genetics, never even succeeded in passing the examination to become a high school science teacher. He failed biology.

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

Henry Ford

Henry Ford forgot to put a reverse gear in the first car he invented. He also didn’t build a door wide enough to get the car out of the building he built it in. If you go to Greenfield Village, you can see where he cut a hole in the wall to get the car out.

Dr. Benjamin Bloom of the University of Chicago conducted a five-year study of leading artists, athletes and scholars based on anonymous interviews with the top twenty performers in various fields, as well as with their friends, families and teachers. He wanted to discover the common characteristics of these achievers that led to their tremendous successes. “We expected to find tales of great natural gifts,” Bloom commented. “We didn’t find that at all. Their mothers often said it was another child who had the greater talents.” What they did find were accounts of extreme hard work and dedication: the swimmer who performed laps for two hours every morning before school and the pianist who practiced several hours a day for seventeen years. Bloom’s research determined conclusively that drive, determination and hard work— not great talent—were what led these individuals to their extraordinary achievements.

Deferred joys purchased by sacrifice are always the sweetest.

Bishop Fulton Sheen

Arthur Rubenstein once astounded a young inquirer with the statement that he practiced piano eight hours a day, every day of his life. “But, sir!” exclaimed the young man. “You are so good. Why do you practice so much?”

“I wish to become superb,” replied the master pianist.

A study of elite violinists showed that the number of hours spent practicing was the only factor that separated potential music superstars from others who were merely good. Following the careers of violinists studying at the Music Academy of West Berlin, psychologists found that by the time the students were eighteen, the best musicians had already spent, on average, about 2,000 more hours in practice than their fellow students.

A visitor once told Michelangelo, “I can’t see that you have made any progress since I was here the last time.” Michelangelo answered, “Oh, yes, I have made much progress. Look carefully and you will see that I have retouched this part, and that I have polished that part. See, I have worked on this part, and have softened lines here.”

“Yes,” said the visitor, “but those are all trifles.”

“That may be,” replied Michelangelo, “but trifles make perfection and perfection is no trifle.”

The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it.


One of the most beautiful speaking voices on stage and screen belongs to James Earl Jones. Did you know that Jones has long battled a severe stuttering problem? From age nine until his mid-teens he had to communicate with teachers and classmates by handwritten notes. A high school English teacher gave him the help he needed, but he still struggles with his problem to this day. Yet there is no finer speaking voice than his. He was recently listed among the ten actors with the most beautiful speaking voice.

Charles Darwin spent most of his adult life in pain, suffering from one mysterious ailment after another. Yet he made immeasurable contributions to the study of the origins of life.

Born prematurely and left in the care of his grandparents, Sir Isaac Newton was taken out of school early and became an inept farm boy. Now he is considered one of the greatest figures in the entire history of science.

Paul Galvin created Motorola out of the ashes of his own bankrupt company. In 1928 Galvin was able to piece together enough money to buy back a small division of a company he had owned that was on the auction block. From that division he built Motorola, a Fortune 500 company that has been highly successful.

Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.

Henry Ford

The Guinness Book of World Records records the true story of a man who ate an entire bicycle, tires and all! But he didn’t eat it all at once. Over a period of seventeen days, from March 17 to April 2, 1977, Michel Lotito of Grenoble, France, melted the parts into small swallow able units and consumed every piece.

There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals only with the help of others.

George Shinn

George MacDonald once noted that one draft horse can move two tons of weight. However, two draft horses in harness, working together, can move twenty-three tons of weight.

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

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