Failure can prove to be a tough lesson on the road to discovery and innovation. Especially in an age when we see companies, such as Instagram, go from zero to $1 billion in the short span of two years. With the rapid spread of news, it seems these companies simply develop overnight. However, if we were to dig deeper into the life residing behind such advances we would be hard pressed to find a story lacking in failure, risk, discouragement, diligence and – the crucial ingredient – initiative.
With that in mind, take a moment to enjoy some inspiration to keep your Monday motivated. Begin by taking a look at some of the difficulties residing behind these once unfamiliar names and innovations:
The telephone. Western Union originally rejected the telephone, saying in an internal memo in 1876, “The device is inherently of no value to us.”
The automobile. In 1903, the president of Michigan Savings Bank advised Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Company. “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad.”
The radio. In response to David’s Sarnoff’s urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s, his associates said, “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?”
Man on the moon. In 1957, Lee De Forest, the man who pioneered radio and invented the vacuum tube, said, “A man-made moon voyage will never occur regardless of all future scientific advances.”
Satellites. In 1961, T. Craven, the FCC commissioner said, “There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television or radio service inside the United States.”
Thomas Edison. Edison himself said, “I don’t know now what it was, but I was always at the foot of the class. I used to feel that the teachers never sympathized with me and that my father thought that I was stupid, and at last I almost decided that I must really be a dunce…One day I overheard the teacher tell the inspector that I was ‘addled’ and it would not be worthwhile keeping me in school any longer.”
Fred Astaire. In his first screen test, the testing director of MGM noted that Astaire, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”
Walt Disney. He was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure.
Orville and Wilbur Wright. These brothers battled depression and family illness before starting the bicycle shop that would lead them to experimenting with flight. After numerous attempts at creating flying machines, several years of hard work, and tons of failed prototypes, the brothers finally created a plane that could get airborne and stay there.