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Five Tales of Disappointment

Updated on January 25, 2010

Failure before success is not an unusual occurrence. Here are five stories of people that turned the tables on disappointment and went on to make history.

1. A lousy treasure hunter

Did you know that If Samuel Clemens had been successful at silver prospecting; we would never have had some classic literature. Works like the Tom Sawyer novels, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, would have never come about.

No one would have read the “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”. The pen name of Mark Twain would mean nothing. And we would not be privy to some very memorable quotes like:

  1. “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
  2. Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”
  3. A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read.”
  4. Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

2. A very dejected man

Do you know who once wrote this? "I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth. Whether I shall ever be better I cannot tell; I awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better, it appears to me.”

That was Abraham Lincoln writing a letter to law partner John Stuart in 1841. His depression could be traced to numerous failures in his past. And he would have many more before becoming President.

Lincoln had already failed in business and went bankrupt. His fiancée, Ann Rutledge had died. He had a nervous breakdown. He lost his bid for state legislator. He failed to become an elector.

After he wrote that letter, he lost two out of three Congressional elections. He lost his senatorial election. And he failed in his bid to become Vice President. All of this happened before he became President.

3. Not a grade school scholar

Then there was a man who did poorly during his early education. In fact, he failed the sixth grade. He claimed that it took him many years to overcome a speech impediment.

He lost election after election and the only one he won was to be elected Prime Minister of Great Britain. However, Winston Churchill went on to make a major impact on world history in the twentieth century.

4. Not a good farmer

In the late 19th century, his father gave him 40 acres to start his own farm. Within a few years, he was a complete agricultural flop.

His first business venture after the farm met with disappointment. The same happened with his second endeavor. But on his third attempt, this man did pretty well.

In fact I have a vehicle outside, with his name on it (over a hundred years later). It is a “Ford” pickup truck.

5. His future had much in store for him

In 1843 this man opened a dry goods store in Massachusetts. It failed, so he tried again. His second store did not make it either. In fact, between 1843 and 1855, this happened four times.

Then in 1858 he finally got it right. He opened a new store in New York City. After that R.H. Macy, did pretty well for himself.

Ford truck

32 years old and still running strong!
32 years old and still running strong!


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    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 7 years ago from Michigan

      Greg, a great motivational hub reminding us of the value of never quitting ... grave depression isn't the end ... when one door closes another opens. I loved this hub! Thanks for sharing.

    • Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

      The IGNITER vs Corrupted Governments 8 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

      “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

      Oh this is so true!!

      This was a great hub!! Thanks! Many things that I had no idea! I learn many new things each day!! Is this your 32 year old vehicle that is still running?? WOWZIE Greg!!!