Be A Quitter, But Never Quit Trying!

John Assaraf teniss player

Quit is a word none wants to associate with. Are you one of those who have this never say never attitude? Everyone wants to be, at least dreams of being a determined and hard-working person. Few
become one and few others don’t, for reasons known to them. Usually, it is believed that someone determined and hard-working rarely fails, even though they may initially fail but in the end, they are successful. Remember the person who invented the light bulb? Anyway not everyone can hit the ground winning. Now, I would like to share a story of someone who had this never say never attitude, and it’s truly inspiring!

“If you’re interested, you’ll do what’s convenient. If you’re committed, you’ll do whatever it takes.” – John Assaraf

He was born to Elias and Flora d’Isigny in Chicago’s Hermosa community area. His father was a farmer and a worker at a railroad company. As a young man, he was fired from the Kansas City Star newspaper. Reason: his boss claimed that he lacked creativity. To fulfill his desire to become a full-time cartoonist, he started an animation company called Laugh-OGram Films in 1921. Though the start appeared bright (as he was able to raise $15,000 for the company), the New York distributor, with whom he had tied up, went bankrupt. Result: end of Laugh-O-Gram. With a mountain of debt in his name, emotionally drained and financially broke, he barely earned a few dimes to pay his rent. Not able to afford proper food, he started eating dog food.

By missing out on a few meals, he saved his last few dollars to buy a train ticket to Hollywood. And here, in 1926, he created an effervescent cartoon character named Oswald the Rabbit. When he tried to strike a deal with Universal Studios, without his knowledge, Universal went ahead and patented the Oswald character. Of course, the studio paid him nothing. He created more characters, but there were other rejections too. His Three Little Pigs concept was rejected for lack of more characters; filming of Pinocchio was stopped during production; his other creations like Bambi, Pollyanna, and Fantasia were utterly disliked by viewers. Fighting against all odds and bankruptcy, the man went on to make the animation film Mary Poppins in 1944, which became a blockbuster hit.

“A hard fall means a high bounce if you’re made of the right material.” – Unknown

Today, we all know him more because of Steamboat Willie, a cartoon character he made – a character that came to be later known as Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney was the name of this man.

But more than Walt Disney’s determination, I admire that he knew what he was good at and he was determined to achieve something great in what he was good at.

If it can be achieved just by determination and hard work; I guess anyone with these mentioned qualities can achieve it. But when you follow your heart, do what you are good at and do what you love, well, you can be the greatest in your chosen field, who knows, maybe the next Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, or even greater. If not greatest at least you will do what you love, so you’ll never regret it in life.

What’s common about these people? They knew what they were doing, loved what they were doing and they were hardworking and determined and above all, they are one of the greatest in their fields.

But sometimes more difficult is identifying in which area you are good at; even if you do so, you don’t go after it, for whatsoever reason.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

Even I had such moments. When I was young, I wanted to become a cricketer. I do believe that I was good at it during that time and I really started to take the required steps to achieve my dream. But as time went by, I understood that cricket wasn’t for me and more than cricket, – though I liked cricket, maybe it was just because there is a craze about cricket in India that even I joined the herd – it was football that I was more passionate about and at that time, I thought I was sure about my dream and I started to improve my skills and physique. And slowly people started to recognize my talent. Step by step I started to achieve things I dreamed of to the point that I could have reached the national at KVS (Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan) level, I nearly got that opportunity! And once after a league match, our coach commented that “At your very best, you could match the international level.” But it turned out to be just that, a dream! But there was something else I was passionate about, maybe as time passed it was growing in me, that’s my interest in entrepreneurship. And when I joined college, it was between football and entrepreneurship and I had to choose either one, I definitely knew I can’t focus on both. So I decided to focus on entrepreneurship.

“It’s a very thin line that separates stubbornness and determination and it’s important to know on which side you are.” – Richin Jose

These were embarrassing moments for me, it showed that I was never able to stick to my decisions, but I would say I was experimenting. 😛 And I’m fortunate that all this happened when I was very young because when I grow up it becomes much more difficult for trial and error. Even today I don’t mind following my heart where it leads me to, even if it means, I have to start it all over again but I hope it doesn’t happen. And I’m damn proud to be a quitter.

Be a quitter but never quit trying!

“Success is about knowing when to go with reasoning and when to follow your heart and intuition.” – Richin Jose