Clicky

Search:

Success is Measured by Obstacles

March 15, 2020 by  
Filed under blog

The famous Booker T. Washington once said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”  Darcy Andries, author of The Secret of Success is Not a Secret, certainly underscores that comment in terms of the obstacles that have often proceeded the rise of so very many famous and successful people. Her book lists more than 250 super successful people who persevered through huge setbacks and failures to become big-time successes.

Take Rowland Hussey Macy, who tried and failed many times before he found success. He tried to start and operate a needle and thread store in Boston, and later a store that sold European-made dry goods. He failed both times. Then, after an unsuccessful store in Marysville, California, opened with his brother during the 1849 goldrush, he returned to the East Coast to open another dry goods store in a town north of Boston, an endeavor that eventually forced him into bankruptcy. He then moved to New York City and opened yet another store which ended disastrously when it was robbed and then burned down. Ugh.

Most people, I think, would have given up at that point but not Rowland Macy. He rebuilt, opening a little fancy dry goods store at 14th Street and 6th Avenue in New York City, north of the city’s other dry goods stores, called R. H. Macy & Co. After initial encouraging sales, he expanded, eventually occupying 11 adjacent buildings, each selling different categories of merchandise and effectively launching what we now call a department store.

By the 1870’s Macy’s store was averaging more than $1 million in annual sales and it has grown ever since. Now known simply as Macy’s, would you believe that little shop has grown into more than 850 stores and has gross sales in the double-digit billions?

I don’t know about you or your significant other, but my wife certainly helps Macy’s stay in business and thrive. I don’t know whether to thank Rowland Macy or complain! Unfortunately, I can’t do either since he checked out of life in 1877 at the young age of 55. But I’ve got to hand it to him – with all those setbacks spanning a period of nearly 14 years, he kept at it anyways and, I think most people would admit, he did okay for himself in the end.

 

Comments