Too short. Too fat. Too dumb. No Imagination. No creativity. No skills. Face for radio. Voice for print. Too macho. Too Wimpy. Too lady-like. Too butch. Too bald. Too much fuzzy hair. Wrong color. Wrong race. Wrong sex. Out of his depth in a parking lot puddle. Neanderthal brain in a Cro-Magnon body. And … just who in the “H-E-doubLe-hockey-sticks” do you think you are?


Ever heard of any those no’s? I’m not saying I’ve heard them all … but even if I had, would I tell you?


What would the world would be like right now if everyone folded after being told no? It’d look something like this.


He forgot to put a reverse gear on his first automobile. This was after his first two businesses failed. – Henry Ford


Didn’t walk until he was 4 years old. Didn’t speak until he was 7 years old. Flunked math. His teacher told him “You will never amount to anything!” His parents were told he might be mentally retarded. ( I share this  in common with big Al) – Albert Einstein


Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, this young man aspired to be a film-maker (some people might not know this, but it’s fairly challenging to have a film-making career in Cincinnati). He applied to U.S.C. film school and was rejected  – three times. So he taught himself. – Steven Speilberg


She was considered a failed actress. At best a B-grade wannabe. Her drama instructors told her to try another profession. Thirteen Emmy nominations, four wins and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honor later … maybe they were wrong? – Lucille Ball


She was dropped from a film contract at 20th Century Fox because she was “too unattractive.” One of her agents said she should really consider being a secretary. – Marilyn Monroe


When he was a boy, this young man was told “You’re too stupid to learn anything.” – Thomas Edison,  inventor of the light bulb and a gazillion other things.


When he was younger he was fired by a Kansas City Star newspaper editor for  lacking creativity. But he had this friend  – in his mind – who was sorta mousey, and that helped him succeed later in life. In fact he succeeded so well he bought the newspaper that fired him. – Walt Disney


He was tried and sentenced to death for being an “immoral corrupter of youth.” – Socrates


As a sophomore he was cut from his high school basketball team. No talent. Too ordinary.

“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan


As a musical composer his teacher called him “hopeless.” But, when totally deaf, he composed an Ode that still brings much Joy to many listeners hundreds of years later. – Beethoven, composer of “Ode to Joy,” and a couple other tunes along the way.


He tried out for the glee club and failed. He was fired from the Grand Ole Opry after just one performance. The manager told him, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” – Elvis Presley


Turned down for a recording contract by Decca  Records because “Don’t like their sound … and guitar music is on the way out.” – The Beatles


After his first film audition the testing director noted, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” – Fred Astaire


The first time he walked out on stage he froze, then was booed and jeered off the stage. – Jerry Seinfeld


A poor student – failed the 6th grade – with a speech impediment. Couldn’t learn. Couldn’t speak. – Winston Churchill


In his entire life he sold just one painting. And that was to a friend – for a pittance. – Van Gogh


Now of all the no’sin the world, this might possibly be the most devastating from my perspective. Every cartoon he submitted to his High School Yearbook staff was rejected. So he applied to Walt Disney, and was promptly rejected. Lucky for him a Snoopy little dog inside him told him not to quit.

Sometimes I lie awake at night, and ask, ‘Where have I gone wrong?’ Then a voice says to me, ‘This is going to take more than one night.’ – Charles Schulz


She was penniless, depressed, divorced, on welfare, and  trying to raise her child while going to school and writing a novel. That’s a whole lot of no’s going on (to paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis). It worked out though. She’s one of the richest people in the world now. – J.K. Rowling,author of  Harry Potter


Born into poverty, he was the ultimate winning loser.

  • Went to war a Captain and came back a Private. (I did that too, but I would never let anyone know.)
  • Borrowed money for a business and went bankrupt.  Started another business and failed again. Had a nervous breakdown.
  • Ran for State Legislature – and lost.
  • Sought to be Speaker of the State Legislator – and lost.
  • Ran for Congress – and lost.
  • Ran for the United State Senate – and lost.
  • Was the Vice-Presidential nomination of his party – and lost.

(This is wearing me out – writer’s note to himself.)


Was elected President of the Unites States of America. – Abraham Lincoln Anywhere along the line Lincoln could have said yes to the no’s and disappeared from history. He didn’t. After each no he picked himself up and gave it another go. With no real formal training he became a lawyer and perhaps one of the greatest leaders and writers of all time. His letter to Congress, one month before the Emancipation Proclamation,is a timeless, elegant call for freedom for all mankind – for all history. Who thinks or writes like this anymore?

The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country. Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We — even we here — hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.


President Lincoln, hatless, is pictured in the center of the platform moments after delivering the Gettysburg Address. It is the only known photograph of Lincoln at Gettysburg. – Libray of Congress

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


Abraham Lincoln said no to no. All the others above did too.  Had they not, they would all be unknowns. And what type of world would this be right now?


My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.  – Abraham Lincoln

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.  – Confucius

Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm. ~ Sir Winston Churchill

Ambition is the last refuge of the failure.  – Oscar Wilde