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A Better You
by Jo Ann Fore

Believe and Achieve

Replete with failures, maybe Walt Disney should have stopped taking chances – maybe he should’ve just quit.

He tried to enlist in the military and was rejected because of his age. His small business venture in commercial art fell bankrupt. When he initially tried to distribute Mickey Mouse, he was told it would never work – ‘A giant mouse on the screen would terrify women.’

The most ironic failure, to me, was when he was hired to work at the Kansas City Star newspaper and ended up being fired for ‘lack of creativity.’


Years later, his company – The Disney Company – purchased ABC, which owned the Kansas City Star. Initially, Walt Disney was fired and told he wasn’t creative enough. Yet it was his creative animated classics that bought him the very company from which he was fired. (

History books are stocked with failure-turned-success stories. Many who choose to examine their mistakes, and learn from them eventually taste the sweetness of success. Walt Disney, creative legend, understood this.

Be Willing to Fail

Dale Carnegie also understood the importance of being willing to press on in spite of your failures. He shared, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

Failure can be a price of admission, of sorts, to success. It often prepares us for what lies ahead. Successful people are sometimes the people who just kept failing until they finally succeeded.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Steven Spielberg dropped out of high school in his sophomore year.

What if Walt Disney, Michael Jordan, or Stephen Spielberg had quit when they failed? The world, as we now know it, would be different.

We have to be willing – when things go wrong – not to quit. If we fail, and quit, the effort we have invested was a waste. When we press through to success – it all becomes worth it.

But how do we keep going in the face of failure?

Attitude Often Determines the Outcome
Thomas Edison said, “Success is 90% attitude and 10% knowledge.” It’s simple: Our attitude influences our success. We have to learn to guard the attitudes of our mind.

Here are some general things to keep in mind as you learn to make a difference in your attitude:

1. Focus on the positive not the negative
Do you automatically think the worst? Work on eliminating negative dialogue from your mind. Seek out the positive in the situation. A negative outlook is toxic.

2. Along with your thoughts, learn to change your emotions
After you learn to draw on positive thoughts, it’s important to learn to change your emotions. Positive thoughts will help change your mood, but it isn’t necessarily an automatic response.

Emotions are reactions, not feelings. We can learn to control them.

3. Don’t act on impulse
Learn to think things through objectively. What are the facts? Do your personal feelings distort your interpretation? Delay your reaction until you have thought things through completely.

4. Visualize success
Focus on your desired outcome. See it. Taste it. Feel it. It might sound a little silly – but it works. Preparation is important, but it won’t carry you to the finish line.

5. Understand we can’t always do everything right from the start
Perfection is a stressful, often unrealistic goal. Things are going to happen. Learn from your mistakes.

Remember: We become what we watch, read and think about. We tend to emulate the stories we are most drawn towards. If we want to be a successful person, we need to be spending time – even through television, movies and books – with successful people.

What goes in our minds comes out of our mouths into our lives. Failures can turn to success if we believe – and stick it out.

Jo Ann Fore welcomes your comments about this article or suggestions for material you would like to see in future articles. Email her at: A Better You is published every Saturday.


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