For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. (Proverbs 24:16)
Today’s memo is about a man with a decades-long history of failure. His name was Charles. You really can’t say that his friends called him Charlie because he got to the point where he didn’t have any friends. After failing in business, Charles borrowed some money from the bank to pursue a new idea. But the new idea failed. He borrowed money from friends, and failed again. And then he borrowed from relatives, but he continued to fail. Eventually he owed money to everyone he knew, with no way to pay it back. He believed he was on the verge of a major breakthrough, but found it difficult to focus on developing his ideas because he was constantly hounded by creditors.
Charles sought protection through the bankruptcy laws, but failed to keep his payment arrangements, ultimately landing him in jail. During this time, with fewer distractions, he was able to make progress, developing his idea almost to completion. A few more years, a few more loans, and a few more mistakes, and eventually he attained the success he had sought for so many years. Charles’ business invention had to do with a process for vulcanizing rubber. His last name, by the way, was Goodyear. His elusive idea helped you get to work today.
Early in life, Charles Goodyear made a decision to never quit — to try again, and then again, as many times as it takes. He wasn’t particularly good with managing money, and he often stretched himself too thin, but he never let failure — or his own faults — hold him back. He refused to give up, long after everyone else had given up on him. Finally, Charles Goodyear’s decision to try and try again paid off.
It’s a decision only the truly courageous can make: Allowing no fault or failure, personal or professional, to persuade you to quit, or prevent you from getting back up and reaching for the prize one more time. This is where great lives are made. It’s where breakthroughs are achieved. It’s where the rubber meets the road.