Perseverance is the Key to Success

December 10, 2019

Mike Wilcox
Mike’s Musings Columnist

Good things come to those that persevere. If there is one word of wisdom I could pass along to younger generations it is the power of perseverance. Too many want it or need it now and end up with nothing but heartache.

As an example of perseverance I point to none other than Col. Harlan Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Sanders was accustomed to failure and tragedy at an early age. Finally in his 40’s he founded a successful chicken restaurant only to have it go bankrupt twenty years later when I-75 was built through southern Kentucky and his restaurant which enjoyed steady clientele because he was on the main highway was relegated to secondary status because he was no longer in a convenient location.

So the now sixty-plus Sanders took to America’s expressways and began selling his fried chicken recipe to any restaurant in any state that would buy it. Uniquely he didn’t ask for a standard price for the chicken recipe. No, his formula was that he would take four cents for every leg or thigh that was sold in a particular restaurant.

Again his success did not come overnight. He spent many nights homeless, sleeping in his car and begging for food wherever he could get it. He didn’t give up however, he persevered, selling his recipe, collecting four cent residuals and getting an odd job as a cook here and there.

Amazingly restaurant patrons took a liking to his fried chicken. Restaurant owners clamored to not only purchase the recipe, but become franchisees of the colonel’s new business plan- Kentucky Fried Chicken. He was in his 70’s when Kentucky Fried Chicken took off, and before he could reach 80 in age, he was a millionaire many times over with hundreds of successful franchises.

The colonel’s life story is extreme. Very few people endured the hardships thrown at Sanders. Very few people continue to follow their dream in to their 70’s, but many who do persevere, continue to do so in to middle age.

Here are more examples of late bloomers:
-Louise Bourgeois did not become a famous artist until the age of 78.
-Grandma Moses didn’t begin painting successfully until the age of 76.
-Morgan Freeman kicked around Hollywood for what seemed an eternity, finally getting his big break at age 52
-Samuel L. Jackson was only six years younger (46) when he was awarded his first major movie role.
-Stan Lee of Marvel fame, didn’t release his first comic book until age 40.
-Vera Wang, failed to make the Olympic figure skating team, didn’t get the Editor-In-Chief position at Vogue, but persevered and designed her first dress at age 40.
-At age 30, Harrison Ford was a carpenter. At that same age Martha Stewart was a stockbroker
-At age 28, J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter author, was a single parent living on welfare, having attempted suicide more than once.
These examples persevered. They had a dream, and even if they encountered dire straits in their early 20’s they went on to incredible accomplishments year’s later.

Never tell yourself you’re too old to make it.

Never tell yourself you missed your chance in life.

Never tell yourself that you aren’t good enough.

You can do it. All it takes is perseverance.

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