July 8, 2016

Fighting the Odds: Top Examples





Most of us have challenges to overcome. Some of us have trials that almost bury us in a pit of misery. To my mind, the only difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is determination. This essential characteristic can often take us further than intelligence, money, or connecting with the “right” people.

What is the dividing line between success and failure? What pushes some of us beyond the breaking point? When others would have given up long since, the truly committed individual sets his mind to overcome ANY obstacle:
  • Thomas Edison said that he didn’t fail at making a long-lasting filament for the light bulb thousands of times; he was given thousands of chances to learn how to do it right.
  • Henry Ford refused to accept “No” for an answer when his engineers told him it was impossible to build a four-cylinder engine for his first Model T automobile. When they hadn’t accomplished the feat after six months, he still refused to let them stop. He didn’t care how long it took, or how much money he had to pay them. In the end, I think it took his engineers almost a year to create what Ford wanted. Now, some race cars run on 12 cylinders.


 The Beatles circa 1964 (Ringo Starr is on the far right.)


Ringo Starr

If the name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, then the name of his iconic band, The Beatles, should. If you haven’t heard of them, you probably grew up in a cave somewhere. Ringo was the second, and most enduring, drummer for this most famous British rock band of all time. The other members of the Beatles include John Lennon, Paul McCartney (now Sir Paul McCartney), and George Harrison.

We hear more about the rocky relationship between the flamboyant main singers and songwriters in the group, Lennon and McCartney, than we do about the lower-profile musicians, Harrison and Starr.  That’s why I was surprised to learn that Ringo was the one with such precise rhythm that the whole group set their tempo by his drumbeats.

Ringo Starr’s Background

Fans are familiar with the casually charming, witty personality this entertainer displays. We also know his faultless drumming.  An article at neo-neocon.com shares the traumatic childhood he had to push through:
  • Grew up in poverty
  • Birth father was usually absent and/or drunk
  • Survived two serious illnesses
  • Didn’t attend school after the age of thirteen
  • Failed at jobs because he wasn’t motivated or disciplined (Only drumming interested him.)
  • Learned to drum on common household items due to lack of funds

My Conclusion

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”—1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Invention and creativity are always about breaking through borders. We are the only ones who decide what we’ll allow to hold us back. Overcomers like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Ringo Starr teach us not to be limited by the following:
  • Failure
  • Childhood tragedy
  • Mental challenges
  • Lack of education
  • The fact that “it” hasn’t been done before
Related Posts
Examples of Determination, part 3

For more about success through determination, please see my book, Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds

How are you defying the odds?