No. 815



Have you ever heard of a prolific author by the name of Joey Green? To be honest, I had never heard of him until my friend Coach Dale Brown sent me some excerpts from one of his books titled “Famous Failures.”
With a little investigation, I learned that Joey Green was born in Miami, Fla., on May 26, 1958. He graduated with a BFA from Cornell University in 1980, where he founded the humor publication, The Cornell Lunatic, and had many literary honors. At this point in time, Joey Green has written more than 40 books, has been a guest on numerous television talk shows and has written numerous television commercials.
Coach Brown and I have a wonderful relationship because we have a common bond -- we both want to encourage others to be the best they can be. The book “Famous Failures” lists a plethora of well-known individuals in a wide variety of fields who were told by others that they would never make it, and later went on to become a household name because of their outstanding success. This brings me to a very important point. You and I have the final vote. No one, I repeat, no one, can tell us that we can’t succeed but ourselves. Failure is just a normal part of life and, when we don’t take it personally, we can get back up, dust ourselves off and get back in the game.
Most, or all, of the following names of people who achieved outstanding success will probably be well known to you, but maybe there is a story behind the story that will be both interesting and revealing. The most important thing in the life of each individual is that they did not quit when another person in authority sold them short.
Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, but was later named the greatest athlete of the 20th Century by ESPN. Marilyn Monroe was dropped in 1947 by 20th Century Fox after one year under contract because production Chief Darryl Zanuck thought she was unattractive.
The famous children’s author Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by 27 publishers, and Seuss considered burning the manuscript. The book that was eventually published sold six million copies. Barbara Streisand’s Broadway debut opened and closed on the same night. Humphrey Bogart was fired from a job reading radio playlets for laxatives. He then earned a living playing chess for 50 cents a round.
Walt Disney’s first cartoon production company went bankrupt. The Beatles were rejected in 1962 by Decca, Pye, Phillips, Columbia and HMV labels. And here is a shocker, Elvis Presley’s music teacher at L.C. Humes High School in Memphis gave him a “C” and told him he couldn’t sing.
In Joey Green’s book “Famous Failures,” the list is almost endless, but without the specifics here are other well-known names of individuals who failed one or more times before they achieved great notoriety: Lucille Ball, John F. Kennedy, Dustin Hoffman, Steve McQueen, Mick Jagger, Gen. Douglas McArthur, Albert Einstein, Wilma Rudolph, R.H. Macy, Henry Ford, Randy Travis, Rudyard Kipling and best-selling author John Grisham, whose first novel was rejected by 16 agents and a dozen publishers.
What this says to me is these people had more than talent and ability. They also had true grit and determination. A final question: Are you as successful as you would like to be?
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit www.bookcaseforeverychild.com. You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)