“Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.” - Dale Carnegie


If it wasn’t for persistence we wouldn’t have Aladdin and the Genie.

If it wasn’t for persistence we wouldn’t have visited Hogwartz.

If it wasn’t for persistence there would be nothing like the “Oprah Effect”.

If it wasn’t for persistence we wouldn’t have laughed with Kramer all of those years.


No matter the difficulties in our lives or businesses persistence is the quality that will get you through.


I’ve compiled the stories of popular icons who have applied persistence to become legends we know of them today.






Walt Disney PolitePersistenceWalt Disney Was Told A Mouse Would Never Work


Before Walt Disney built the empire he has today, he was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”


In 1921, Disney formed his first animation company in Kansas City, where he made a deal with a distribution company in New York, in which he would ship them his cartoons and get paid six months down the road.


He was forced to dissolve his company and at one point could not pay his rent. He reportedly survived by eating dog food.


Also, when Walt first tried to get MGM studios to distribute Mickey Mouse in 1927, he was told that the idea would never work because a giant mouse on the screen would terrify women.


Entrepreneur Walt had a whole slew of bad ideas before coming up with the good ones that we know and love today.


JVG Thoughts: As entrepreneurs, business owners and freethinkers our ideas may sometimes feel strange to others.


I’ve shared PolitePersistence with many people and there was one time I received a note back from the editor of a popular online blog who replied back with,


“Your product terrifies me and I can’t see how people will want to use a product that harrasses others. Good Luck.”


We can’t let someone else’s misunderstanding of our product or business dictate it’s success.


Walt knew what Mickey Mouse would look and feel like - MGM Studios could only envision a house mouse.


I wonder the feedback Walt would have gotten if he shared his ideas with kids rather than a large commercial studio and presented that evidence first.




J.K. Rowling PolitePersistenceJ.K. Rowling Was on Welfare


Before J.K. Rowling had any “Harry Potter” success, the writer was a divorced single mother on welfare struggling to get by while also attending school and writing a novel.


Luckily, that novel turned into the “Harry Potter” franchise which has since made Rowling a billionaire as of April 2012.


JVG Thoughts: If Rowling didn’t believe that her novel was worth reading then why complete it?


I know right now three people who have shared with me that they are writing a novel - all of which I am looking forward to reading.


I make a fourth as I’m also in the process of writing The PolitePersistence System - How to Get Responses from Anyone & Accelerate Human Interaction in Business.


If we have enough gumption to write that first word of any work then it’s worth reading. We just need to have the persistence to finish what we start.




Oprah Winfrey PolitePersistenceOprah Winfrey Was Told She Was “Unfit for TV”


At the age of 22, the now-TV mogul was fired from her job as a television reporter because she was ‘unfit for tv’.


Winfrey was terminated from her post as co-anchor of the 6 o’clock weekday news on Baltimore’s WJZ-TV after the show received low ratings.


Winfrey has called it the “first and worst failure of her TV career.”


Winfrey was then demoted to morning TV, where she found her voice and met fellow newbie Gayle King, who would one day become her producer and editor of O, The Oprah Magazine.


Seven years after her first “failure,” Winfrey moved to Chicago, where her self-titled talked show went on to dominate daytime TV for 25 years. Winfrey now heads her own channel, OWN.


JVG Thoughts: Something that always intrigued me about Oprah was how she built her franchise by leveraging the experience and expertise of others for entertainment. Many talk show hosts have followed Oprah’s model but few have exceeded to the level that Oprah has.


How can we learn from Oprah? How can we leverage the experience and expertise of the others that surround our niches to position ourselves as experts?


We see this model happening everyday online as popular podcasts begin popping up. They become successful because of the guests they have on the show.


Does creating a podcast make sense for your business? Here is a post from Noah Kagan on how to start your own podcast if that’s something you’re considering.




Jerry Seinfeld PolitePersistenceJerry Seinfeld was Booed Off-Stage


As the story goes, the first time the young comedian walked on the stage at a comedy club, he looked out at the audience, froze, and was eventually booed off of the stage.


But a determined Seinfeld went back the next night and performed a successful set.


The comedian would go on to create one of the most successful TV sitcoms of all time.


JVG Thoughts: Have you ever had the proverbial booing to get off the stage? I did.


We launched a crowdfunding campaign for PolitePersistence much too early and all we heard was crickets. No action was just as bad as being booed if not worse.


When you hear those booooo’s it has to set off a positive reaction in your mind.


Because if someone is booing you then what would it take for that person to applaud you instead? You owe it to yourself to find out.


Once you find out deliver the best damn performance anyone has ever seen.




I love hearing about these stories because the icons talked about above weren’t born like that. They persisted on until it clicked.


I have two more posts that will talk about other icons including: Stephen King, The Beatles and Elvis. Stay Tuned!




We have a close knit group of ‘Polite Persisters’ over at G+ who like to talk shop on everything related to professional hustling and persistence.


I invite you to join.




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