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Failure & Facing Adversity
Grow Through What You Go Through
“Out of adversity comes opportunity.” -Benjamin Franklin
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. We have all heard similar adages growing up, but it’s a much harder concept to employ in our own lives than one might think. As an entrepreneur, you may think your idea or project is imaginative and innovative and will change the world. But the world may not agree right away … and maybe not at all.
So how can you find ways to overcome adversity as you navigate your way to success as an entrepreneur? How can you turn the failures of your business into the fuel needed to continue moving forward? The answers may be simpler than you think.
What do Benjamin Franklin and J.K. Rowling have in common? At first glance, they may not seem similar, other than the fact that both are quite famous and were/are successful in their own way. What you may not realize, though is that they share similar stories of overcoming obstacles on the path to achieving their dreams.
One way we can learn to overcome our own setbacks is by learning from other successful individuals. There are many examples throughout history of people who set out on their journey to success only to be thwarted for one reason or another. Instead of giving up, they decided to double down. After all, no one said success comes easy.
In this article we will learn a little about two key players in history and see what their example can teach us about succeeding as they did.
Benjamin Franklin hardly needs any introduction. He is both a Founding Father and a well known leader of industry. He was an inventor, author, and innovator, and extremely early American “influencer” who helped draft the Declaration of Independence in 1776. His face is even on the hundred dollar bill. However, despite his fame and success, Ben Franklin came from very humble beginnings.
Born into a family of nine kids, Franklin was forced to leave school at a young age to work to help support his family. He was an avid reader though, as well as a proficient writer. After a brief apprenticeship working for his older brother at a local newspaper, where he secretly published essays under a pseudonym, he went on to get a job at a publishing business. He used his wit and his intellect to go on to open his own printing company, then eventually his own newspaper in Philadelphia in 1729. He authored numerous books and articles, created several inventions such as the bifocals, was the postmaster for Philadelphia, and established the first library, hospital, college, and fire brigade there … all before he ever even got into politics!
Needless to say, Franklin lived his life to the utmost and wasn’t afraid to step out of the box to pursue his dreams. He never let the lack of a formal education keep him from achieving his goals. So never let the hand you’re dealt keep you from doing great things. Do not be afraid to try. Like Benjamin Franklin was famously quoted, “If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing”.
J.K. Rowling has garnered international fame and recognition for authoring the Harry Potter series, which follows the adventures of a young wizard. The first novel in the series made its debut in June of 1997. According to Scholastic, as of 2018, Rowling has sold over 500 million copies of the series worldwide, making it one of the best-selling book series in history.
With that level of literary success, some may assume her talent was recognized from the start. In fact, though, twelve publishers actually rejected her book before Scholastic finally gave her a chance. Purportedly, the only reason she even took the time to write the series is because she was fired from her job as a secretary. She was also going through a divorce and dealing with some severe life changes at the time, but her severance check allowed her the time and a means to support herself while writing the first Harry Potter book.
After being fired, she no doubt questioned her value and her work, but that firing ended up being a huge opportunity for her. She eventually even got a more lucrative offer for her book series after several other publishers passed her over. Some people may take bad experiences and think, “woe is me”. Rowling, however, took all these obstacles as an opportunity and didn’t give up. She followed her heart, which lead to her eventual success. J.K. Rowling gave one of the most important characters in her series this poignant quote: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
Life will always find a way to throw unforeseen obstacles in your path, and it will be up to you to decide how to react to them. It is important to consider examples of other highly successful individuals who did not let life get them down. We can learn from their experiences and employ positive forward thinking in our own businesses. Persistence is key. You have to be relentless in pursuit of your dreams. At the Archangel Group we are here to help you achieve greatness, through both good times and bad.