Staying motivated in uncertain times

Posted February 27, 2013 by Robb Zerr
While the economy is certainly on the rebound, at least from the perspective of the economists, a lot of people still find it difficult to find motivation. Many are unemployed, others underemployed. Still others have seen their life savings dwindle away, putting their retirement on indefinite hold.

Staying motivated can be hard in these times. Motivational quotes from the rich and famous could even be seen as rubbing salt in an open would. And yet, many of these people were once in the same situation, and in worse economic times.

Henry Ford was totally broke from his many ill-advised business ventures before he hit upon the idea of mass producing automobiles. R.H. Macy watched seven businesses go down in flames before he hit on a retailing concept and became an icon. More than a thousand restaurants turned Harland Sanders down before he started Kentucky Fried Chicken. And Walt Disney was once fired from his newspaper editor job because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas."

Their lessons, along with the motivational quotes of some other legendary failures and figures, should inspire you to stay the course, continue to take risks and one day find success.

One could certainly learn from Mel Brooks' quote. "Hope for the best, expect the worst. Life is a play. We're unrehearsed." Nothing in life comes easy and often the greatest things come when you are winging it. As Samuel Johnson once said, "Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome."

Certainly Werner Von Braun could tell you a thing or two about failure. The father of the American space program blew up an awful lot of rockets to get us to the moon and back, but still he never gave up. "I have learned to use the word impossible with the greatest of caution," he once remarked.

Henry Ford was a legendary failure, but his follies never deterred him. "There isn't a person anywhere who isn't capable of doing more than he thinks he can." Henry Ford certainly lived by this mantra. We all can.

Some very famous people didn't achieve success or fame until their later years. Colonel Sanders didn't hit it big with his fried chicken until he was 65. Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when she published her first novel. And playing card magnate Edmond Hoyle didn't start writing the rules to your favorite card games until he was 70.

These people knew all too well that the deck was stacked against them from time to time. And yet they still achieved greatness, largely because they found motivation in the face of adversity. "Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm," said Sir Winston Churchill, a man who knew something about setbacks.

Certainly, the words of Dale Carnegie, one of the men who built America through hard work, risk taking and high profile failures, knows something about staying motivated, even in the darkest of times. "Flaming enthusiasm, backed by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success."

You don't have to build an empire or a New York City music hall to achieve success. And fame isn't a necessary ingredient to achieve a legacy in this world. But staying motivated, even through the tough times, can help you break through the wall of your own limitations, or the limits placed on you by a rocky economy, and see you through to the other side. Opportunity awaits. You only have to be motivated enough to go looking for it, and when you find it, seize it with all the gusto, energy and enthusiasm you can muster. As Alex Noble once said, "Success is not a place at which one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey."

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