One of the crucial success lessons is about standing up every time life bashes you around. You might already know about this rhetoric. In fact, you might hear it so many times you became numb to the lessons of perseverance.
It’s very true that the majority of people never get handouts in life. For most, it’s just another dog fight, day-to-day. It revolves around countless failures and small wins. It gets you down more times than you feel elated.
I’m right there with you, hustling, struggling and pushing through. I won’t starve to death anytime soon, and it took me a long time to get here — longer than I ever anticipated.
When I was 16 I strongly believed I’ll succeed in anything I focus my mind on. I thought I had the master key to the universe. I had an idea that if I work hard and had clear goals, I’ll somehow make it. Then I turned 18 and first failed endeavors crept from behind.
Have you ever found yourself refusing to leave your apartment because you were ashamed? I know I was.
Do you know the feeling of bringing movies and TV-shows indefinitely, just to escape facing what happened with your last business? Well, I didn’t even change my clothes on those days.
The feeling of walls caving in on Friday afternoon, anyone? Huh, it still happens more times than I’d like to admit.
There is no success if you don’t get up after every lost battle.
But getting up is not an easy task, you can’t just say let’s go and you’re miraculously starting another Startup. On most down days it feels impossible to continue. Why should you bother anyway when you’re such a failure?
Success is making it work, no matter the obstacle.
Jan Koum — the founder of Whatsapp
Koum was born in Ukraine to a household without running water. The country was under the Iron curtain at the time. He experienced the real horror of Orwellian 1984 famine and thought controls. When Koum turned 16, his mother took him to the United States. They both left the Communist regime and ended up in a small apartment in Mountain View, California. They struggled on welfare and used food stamps to survive.
During the late high school, Koum thought himself about computers and coding. He would buy handbooks from local stores and then return them when he finished reading.
Koum was a troubled student in high-school and he barely graduated.
He enrolled in San Jose State University and had a series of securities testing jobs at big corporations like Erns&Young and Yahoo.
His lousy behavior leads to a court restraining order against him. The order was granted after a civil harassment claim from his ex-girlfriend.
“I have many retreats and things I wish I could go back and change, but I have also worked hard and tried to improve myself.” — Jan Koum
After leaving Yahoo, Jan applied for the position at Facebook. Ironically, he was rejected.
He was unemployed and aimless. During that time, he came to an idea that would let people see status updates on their phones. WhatsApp was incorporated on his birthday, February 24, in 2009.
The app witnessed an astonishing organical growth and was later purchased by Facebook for a whopping 19 billion dollars.
Jan Koum net worth is $9.6 billion according to Forbes. And WhatsApp is widely spread across the world, helping people communicate with ease.
Howard Schultz — chairman of Starbucks
Schultz grew up in New York City housing project. His early options were limited and he could hardly dream about starting an international business.
Chairman of Starbucks wrote in his autobiography “Pour Your Heart Into It” that he was raised in a working-class family where his father worked blue-collar jobs and his mother took care of the house.
In 1961, the whole family was left with no income because his father broke an ankle working as a truck driver.
Watching his father laying on the couch with his leg in a cast, Schultz decided to do something different in life. His father “never attained fulfillment and dignity from work he found meaningful.”
Schultz played football in high school and managed to secure an athletic scholarship to Northern Michigan University. He became the first college graduate in his family.
Shultz first job after finishing school was in sales at Xerox, where he was supposed to cold-call and pitch word processors. Then he took another job in sales at Hammarplast, a houseware business.
He wasn’t satisfied with any of these positions and he grew antsy.
Shultz first encountered Starbucks while still working for Hammerplast. He was struck by the passion of the founders Gerald Baldwin and Gordon Bowker and their courage in selling the product that would appeal only to a specific niche of coffee enthusiasts.
“I believe life is a series of near misses, A lot of what we ascribe to luck is not luck at all, it’s seizing the day and accepting the responsibility of your future. It’s seeing what other people don’t see and pursuing that vision.” — Howard Schultz
It took a whole year for Schultz to persuade Baldwin and Bowker to hire him as the head of marketing. The new position meant that Shultz is going to travel around the world and represent Starbucks.
His fate changed when the company sent him to an international housewares exhibition in Milan. Shultz had an epiphany when he saw the Italian espresso tradition. The people in Italy have a personal relationship with coffee.
Shultz came back to America with new ideas. He wanted to replicate Italian tradition in Starbucks. The founders felt differently. He then decided to leave Starbucks to start his own coffee company Il Giornale.
The new company caught on quickly. Eventually, Il Giornale managed to buy Starbucks. Schultz became the CEO of Starbucks Corporation and he is now-now of the wealthiest people on the planet. His net worth is $3.6 billion according to Forbes.
Colonel Sanders — founder of KFC
Sanders was born in 1890 in Henryville, Indiana. His father died when he was six years old, leaving Sanders to take care of his siblings. He dropped out of school and left home to work on a farm.
At 16, he faked his age and enlisted in the United States Army. He was honorably discharged a year later and started working as manual labor at the railroads. His temperament got the best of him when he lost his job due to fights with other colleagues. He also tried to study law, but his career was ruined by the constant fights he was getting into.
Eventually, Sanders was forced to move back with his mother. He found another job selling life insurance but was soon let go over insubordination.
He founded a ferry boat company that didn’t catch on. He also tried to cash that company to start the lamp manufacturing company. Unfortunately, he was run over by competitor selling a better version of his lamp.
It wasn’t until he turned 40 that he first started selling chicken at the gas station. His business turned to a violent brawl with a competitor and ended in a deadly shootout.
Years later, Sanders bought a motel which burned to the ground along with his restaurant. He was determined to succeed and he bought another motel, but he was forced to close it down in the midst of World War II.
“I was sixty-six years old. I still had to make a living. I looked at my social security check of 105 dollars and decided to use that to try to franchise my chicken.” — Colonel Sanders
After the war, Sanders tried to establish his fried chicken recipe on the market. He was rejected 1009 times before anyone took a second look at his Kentucky Fried Chicken. He pursued his dream to franchise KFC across the country.
It took him years of failures and misfortunes to build his KFC brand, but eventually, he hit the jackpot. Sanders sold his business for two million dollars and retired.
Sanders lived to see his restaurant become a global success. In 2013, there were an estimated 18,000 KFC locations in 118 countries.
Success is not going to be handed out to you on a silver platter. It’s going to be difficult, challenging and exhausting beyond imagination.
The path to success is hardly linear. You’re going to have to go through obstacles you never even knew existed before.
The only way to make it big is to persist in your endeavors. Don’t quit until you see your vision become a reality.
These three stories show that you are capable of anything if you don’t give up and believe in yourself.
Learn to push through your greatest fears to achieve your wildest dreams.