founder of naked leader

“When do you finally accept defeat?”

Time to give up – now, next, or never (your choice)

These people chose, never:

7  J.K Rowling wrote Harry Potter after being sacked as a secretary for ‘day­dreaming’.   She then got rejected by not one, not two, but 12 publishers before Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone was finally accepted by Bloomsbury – and even then only at the insistence of the chairman’s eight-year-old daughter, Alice.

6  Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff. (By the way, Walt himself later rejected Charles Schultz).

5  The Bee. I know it’s not a person; however this insect is totally deluded, for bees actually believe they can fly! Bumble bees, according to the known laws of aerodynamics, should not be able to fly. Fortunately, bumble bees don’t read much about aerodynamics, so they don’t realise they are doing something they are not supposed to be able to do.

4  Babe Ruth: You probably know Babe Ruth because of his home run record (714 during his career), but along with all those home runs came a pretty hefty amount of strikeouts as well (1,330 in all). In fact, for decades he held the record for strikeouts. When asked about this he simply said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

3  After Harrison Ford’s first performance as a hotel bellhop in the film Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round, the studio vice-president called him in to his office. “Sit down kid,” the studio head said, “I want to tell you a story. The first time Tony Curtis was ever in a movie he delivered a bag of groceries. We took one look at him and knew he was a movie star.” Ford replied, “I thought you were supposed to think that he was a grocery delivery boy.” The vice president dismissed Ford with “You ain’t got it kid , you ain’t got it … now get out of here.”

2  Cameron Mackintosh decided to produce a musical about felines at a venue (The New London) that had never had a hit. Most people thought him mad, and certainly deluded. Yet, Cats became one of the longest running musicals ever. A few years later, clearly not having learned his lesson, he produced another show, wait for it, set in pre-revolutionary France, featuring poverty, death and despair. How entertaining is that? It opened to very small audiences at The Barbican in London and almost every critic hated it.  Cameron would surely finally accept defeat, wouldn’t he?   I’m afraid not. Les Misérables is now the most successful musical in the world. The recently released film version has eight Oscar nominations.

1  You. Please, whatever you are doing right now, revisit what you most dream, desire and deserve. Perhaps it is new; perhaps it is an old wish, dusted off anew. It may be personal; it may be reconnecting with your partner or your children. It may be forgiving someone in your family, after many years. It may be to do with your organisation, work or career.  Whatever it is – please go for it, and if you want to know the first thing to do – ask here.

And as you do, always remember, it will be those people who tell you that you are deluded, that will be the first to tell you, when you achieve your dream, “I always knew you would be successful”

When do you finally accept defeat?

Whenever you so choose

Share your story, or favourite example of persistence below

With my love and best wishes



17 Responses to “When do you finally accept defeat?”

  1. I love your question. I love your 7 examples, especially No.1. And I love the following thoughts from my Buddhist teacher Daisaku Ikeda, explaining resilience:

    1.You decide to achieve something
    2.You have a setback
    3.You redetermine once more
    4.You fall flat on your face
    5.You decide yet again to go for it
    6.You get another knock-back
    7.You re-determine to win

    The secret of success? “Never give up on an even number.”

    And I love the fact that this is another list of 7 🙂

    David Hare
    The Buddhist Life Coach

    PS. You may like a book called ‘The Undefeated Mind’ by Dr. Alex Lickerman

  2. Reminds me of possibly my favourite quote:

    “…this thing that we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” …. Mary Pickford

  3. In this month’s The Leader Board, the monthly Naked Leader newsletter, I have mentioned a quote from Sarah Taylor, the England women’s cricket wicketkeeper, who may get a chance soon to play men’s cricket for the Sussex second XI, therefore making history.
    “If I can’t find a way, I’ll make a way,’ is her motto.
    Loved that positive attitude. She will do it, whatever it takes. Good on her.

  4. Team GB rower Steve Williams OBE, winner of two Olympic gold medals, quoting the last words of his coach Jurgen Grobler before the Athens 2004 final:

    “It will get so dark and hurt so much that you will cry out for your mother and for your father, but you will win on the last stroke.”

    (And they did, by 0.08 of a second.)

    One of my favourite questions with clients: “How badly do you really want it?”

  5. In answer to the last two posts, a certain Lance Armstrong wanted it badly and he ‘made’ a way to do it.
    Oh, hang on a minute!

  6. Failure has never been an option for me, either.
    I believe you can go and do something if you put your mind to it.
    Hate the word ‘try’. Don’t try, do.

  7. Trying isn’t really trying. It’s trying. I agree, doing is doing.
    If you say you are going to try to do something you aren’t really trying hard enough, otherwise you would do!

  8. I’m TRYING to understand that word ‘yoda’ without looking it up but however hard I TRY I can’t think what it can mean!

  9. The list of people rejected seems endless.
    Amazing that in many instances, all you need is a piece of luck.

  10. I do!!
    It’s like I a marriage ceremony. You don’t have the vows ‘I Try’, it’s I Do, as it should be.
    Trying is for people who aren’t really willing to Do. They are my sentiments too.

  11. Watched Andy Murray this morning and his determination in the face of adversity was incredible to watch.
    He came up against a brick wall in Djokovic but still went for it and gave his all.
    You can do that and still not win. Winning is not a given even if you try your hardest.

  12. I am determined now to get a novel re-drafted and published and although I need to know how to approach and contact a publisher and writing group for advice, I will continue to persevere until it is published. I bet the feeling is really great when you achieve something that others do not think that you will be able to do, then they look at you a little differently.

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