Success is Measured by Obstacles

March 15, 2020 by  
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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.


Boston Belief’s

May 3, 2013 by  
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It practically goes without saying … the Boston bombings were absolutely terrible. There’s no question that Boston’s tragedy pales by comparison to what is going on in the Middle East on an almost daily basis but here in the USA we’ve not seen anything like it since 9/11. But I’m afraid that too many Americans will jump to the wrong conclusions. I say that because I have seen and heard so many people blaming religion and specifically the Muslim people for these and many other acts of terrorism. But that’s more like blaming the evil acts of the KKK on Christianity– most of the KKK were Christians but very few of the Christians in the world were in the KKK.

I have had the great fortune and honor to have lived my formative teenage years in a Muslim country and have traveled extensively ever since then, experiencing the many different cultures and lifestyles in the over 80 countries I have visited. The bottom line lesson of all that traveling for me is simply this: 99% of the world’s people–regardless of their culture, language, lifestyles or religion–are good, honest, and non-violent human beings.

I have said to many, many people in the last few years as we’ve watched the media sensationalize violence from all the corners of the planet, “It’s too bad everyone couldn’t visit dozens of other countries and cultures to observe and get to know the people that are different than themselves. If they could they would see that the vast majority of all people are pretty much all the same.”

Sadly, there are many evil, demented, disturbed and brain-washed people who will use religion to try to justify their acts of evil and terror and in most of the world’s religious scriptures these people will find words that they interpret as God giving them permission to reject, torture or even kill someone who doesn’t believe the same way they do! After the Boston bombings the Muslim community in Salt Lake City made a statement to the community and the world that the Koran does not give any permission or instructions to their followers to commit such horrific acts. To me, it’s sad that they felt they had to make such an announcement. If people really knew the Islamic culture and the Koran they would already know this fact.

I sincerely hope that as we mature as human beings and as a country we will see and understand other cultures and religions and accept that 99% of all people, nations and religions are good and do good in the world. The world is not near as dangerous as you’d think from watching the news. Always remember, bad news sells and lifts ratings and that is the main reason you hear so much of it and so little of all the good and wonderful things that happen in the world every day, in every corner of the globe.