Thomas Edison was relentless in his approach toward inventing the light bulb so much that he failed over 700 times working to achieve his objective. His belief was so powerful that he overcame failure over 700 times to accomplish his goal. The average inventor would have given up; but Thomas Edison was no common inventor. The powerful lesson learned from those who believe in themselves is that there are no failures, only quitters. When I see people such as Kyle Maynard, author of the book, “No Excuses,” who was born without knees or elbows (who is also considered a world-class wrestler) overcome physical disadvantages to accomplish his goal, as opposed to those without any disadvantages who accomplish nothing, I have to ask, why? While most people have only fear to overcome, these people have physical disadvantages along with fear to overcome.
These are some of the famous people who overcame extreme obstacles to live their dreams and refused to take the quitters route:
- German composer, Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827), was deaf and also psychologically disabled
- American inventor, Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), popularly called the “Father of Electricity,” was deaf and had learning disabilities, possibly ADHD. This marked his description of his early education
- American author and lecturer, Helen Keller (1880-1968), was deaf and blind
- British statesman, soldier, and author, Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), had a learning disability and bipolar disorder. He was Prime Minister of Great Britain during WWII and received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953;
- German-American theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein (1879-1955), had a learning disability
- African-American comic and actress, Whoopi Goldberg (1949-), has a learning disability. She received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1990
- The thirty-second president of the United States from 1933-1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), contracted polio in 1921. As a result he used a wheelchair and wore leg braces
- African-American track and field sprinter, Wilma Rudolph (1940-1995), was the first American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympic game. At age four she was stricken with scarlet fever, double pneumonia, and polio, and experienced partial paralysis
- American actor, James Earl Jones (1931-), who overcame a bad stutter in college is now famous for his voice, e.g., Darth Vader
- Country and Western singer, Mel Tillis (1932-), stuttered all his life
- American singer, pianist, arranger and songwriter, Ray Charles (1930-2004), contracted glaucoma at an early age and was blind within a year
- African-American actor, singer and dancer, Sammy Davis, Jr. (1923-1990), lost his left eye in an auto accident in 1954
- African-American singer and songwriter, Stevie Wonder (1950-) is blind NY Yankee pitcher, Jim Abbott (1967-), was born with only one hand. He pitched a no-hitter on September 4, 1993.