5:00 AM on Sunday and I awaken to puppy whines, again. Sigh. However, there’s some hope of grabbing a few more hours of sleep. He’s let out and then brought to bed to curl up to sleep a little longer.
6:54 AM. Really? Can’t make it a full two hours? OK, out he goes again and then my plan is to pull the same curl-up-in-a-warm-bed trick again. Squirming. More whining. Yep, we’re up.
In those moments when I was trying to calm him down for the second round, my theme for the week became clear: perseverance. Thank you, little Moose.
While few can seem more perseverant than a puppy or a small child – or a teenager, for that matter – the most successful entrepreneurs also have stories riddled with examples of their perseverance. Many of these, like Thomas Edison and Walt Disney, are woven into the fabric of the American story to such a degree that quotes like “I haven’t failed, I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work,” (Edison) and “If you can dream it, you can do it,” (Disney) are said so often that you perhaps didn’t even know where they came from. Yes, perseverance is at the heart of the American dream.
These American dream stories can be found with current main characters as well: Oprah – J. K. Rowling – Steve Jobs – Lance Armstrong – Justin Bieber.
If you are at all like me, you hear these stories and think a couple of things. First, I’m thinking that perseverance is all well and good, but don’t have a Light Bulb or Mickey Mouse kind of dream. What on Earth would I go after with such tenacity? Next, I think that failure stings a bit. You don’t have to go too far into my posted writings to see examples of when failure set me back and I didn’t get back up swiftly. What I want answered in these success-peppered-with-failure stories is this: how long was Walt’s recovery time after being fired from the Kansas City Star? Did he want to give up altogether after Universal Studios essentially stole Oswald the Rabbit from him? And was Edison really OK with all those failures? Or did it hurt a little when his Ogdensburg, New Jersey ore mining plant went under? Did he really feel like he hadn’t failed? Were they human or some sort of sub-set of super-humans that I can never aspire to be?
So I went looking for pieces in the stories that I can more closely identify with. The story of Disney’s commitment to bringing Mary Poppins to the screen is one of those. Because I try to keep these to 500 words or less (and to build the suspense), I’ll dive deeper into that story tomorrow….