Creative Child

10 Numbers To Inspire Grit

by Deborah Song

Every parent wants success for their child. What many don't know is what it takes to be successful. Talent and encouragement are both helpful, but ultimately, grit is the most important quality for success. A research study undertaken in partnership with classroom teachers by University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth showed that students became less frustrated with the learning process and put forth more effort when they understood even experts struggle to learn their craft.

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Here are 10 numbers to remind your kids that even the most renowned geniuses and accomplished heroes of our time struggled— a lot. These famous failures show us that achievement happens not in spite of, but because of failure.

10: 9,000

Famous Failures
Michael Jordan is considered to be the best basketball player in the history of the game, but did you know he’s also one of the most famous failures in the NBA? He has missed more than 9,000 shots in his career. He has also lost almost 300 games, 26 of which resulted from missing the winning shot.

And who can forget that he failed to make his high school basketball team? But for Jordan, failure is the recipe to his success: “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

9: 5,126

Famous Failures

James Dyson was frustrated with his Hoover vacuum and its loss of suction. So he had an idea to create the world’s first bagless vacuum cleaner. It took Dyson 5,126 attempts before finally getting it right. Even then, no distributor in the UK would take on the product, so Dyson ended up creating his own company to market the product.

Today, Dyson is worth $4.8 billion all because of his refusal to give up. His famous failures are an inspiration for aspiring engineers and entrepreneurs everywhere.

8: 1,330

Babe Ruth

During his career, Babe Ruth set the record for most home runs in a season with 714 home runs. The number to remember here, though, is 1,330. That’s how many times Ruth struck out. So for every home run he made, Ruth struck out about twice. He was successful a lot, but he failed even more. “Every strike brings me closer to my next home run,” the Great Bambino once said.

7: 1,200

Famous Failures

Musicians know that concert performance—that unique experience with audience interaction—is critical to honing their craft. In 1960, the Beatles were still an unknown high school rock band. For the next four years, they frequented local clubs in Hamburg, Germany, playing and practicing sometimes eight hours a night seven days a week.

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When they burst onto the scene in 1964, they had played over 1,200 concerts together. This is an extraordinary number in such a short time considering most bands today don’t perform 1,200 times in their entire career. The Beatles were as good as they were because they literally outperformed most bands.

6: 1,000

Famous Failures

Thomas Edison pretty much takes the cake when if comes to famous failures. As a young boy, teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He got fired from his first two jobs. Even as an inventor, Edison didn’t seem to bear much fruit—not when he was starting out, at least.

Edison made more than 1,000 attempts before succeeding at inventing the first commercially viable light bulb. Throughout it all, he didn’t consider himself a failure. Edison believed that each failure brought him closer to success. To use his words, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

More inspiring famous failures on page 2...

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