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FROM FAILURES TO HEROES & HEROINE — BILL GATES, OPRAH WINFREY, & HENRY FORD WERE FAILURES EARLY IN LIFE

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“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill

It was that great poet, Henry Longfellow who submitted that:  “The heights by great men (and women) reached and kept were not attained in sudden flight but, they while their companions slept, they were toiling upwards in the night.” Our own Nnamdi Azikiwe reasoned that: ‘’There is plenty of room at the top, but because very few people care to travel beyond the average route. And so most of us seem satisfied to remain within the confines of mediocrity’’ Azikiwe’s contemporary, Obafemi Awolowo was a deep philosopher. These were great Nigerians who had the ability and capability to stand shoulder to shoulder with any leader of the Western world.

Awolowo asserted that: “I will, more than ever before, subject myself to severe self- discipline. ‘’Only men who are masters of themselves become easily masters of others. ‘’Therefore, my thoughts, my tongue, and my actions shall be brought under strict control always. “Those who desire to reach, and keep their places at the top in any calling must be prepared to do so the hard way.” Awolowo is also recorded as saying that: “While many men in power and public office are busy carousing in the midst of women of easy virtue and men of low morals, I, like a few others like me, am busy at my desk thinking about the problems of Nigeria and proffering solutions to them. Only the deep can call to the deep.”

HENRY FORD KNEW NOTHING ABOUT RUNNING A BUSINESS — The only dead of the three influential figures – Henry Ford was born in 1863 and died in 1947. He was a businessman and founder of FORD Motor Company. Ford’s biographers wrote that ‘’Henry Ford knew nothing about running a business, and learning by trial-and-error always involves failure. The new company failed, as did a second. To revive his fortunes Ford took bigger risks, building and even driving racing cars. The success of these cars attracted additional financial backers, and on June 16, 1903, Henry incorporated his third automotive venture, Ford Motor Company. There is a prophetic story of how the 13-year-old Henry Ford got a pocket watch for his birthday and then proceeded to take it apart. He simply wanted to know how it worked. It was a character trait that marked the rest of Ford’s life.

PRECOCIOUS & INQUISITIVE: He wanted to know how things worked and, just as important, why they didn’t work. Ford was interested in every aspect of life around him. He explored innovative forms of education which, in time, lead to the founding of the Edison Institute, known today as The Henry Ford. In a single location, Ford brought together dozens of buildings and millions of artifacts. It was one of the largest collections of its kind ever assembled, as well as a bold and ambitious new way for people of all ages to discover and explore the richness of the American experience for themselves. Henry Ford took inspiration from the past, saw opportunities for the future, and believed in technology as a force for improving people’s lives. To him, technology wasn’t just a source of profits, it was a way to harness new ideas and, ultimately, further democratize American life.

BILL GATES & OPRAH WINFREY CRASHED BUT NEVER GAVE UP: Oprah Winfrey, 66 years old is an American media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer, and philanthropist. Oprah is worth US$ 2.6 billion today and was as recently as 1985, was a nobody. Her childhood was full of misfortunes.  In 2007, Oprah, one of the most influential women in the United States looked in the direction of South Africa and invested US $40 million in the country as charity to build schools. Bill Gates is today a household name. The American business magnate, software developer, investor, and philanthropist had a shaky beginning. Bill Gates passed out of Lakeside School, in 1973. With a high score of scored out of 1600 on the college SAT test, a feat of intellectual achievement, and enrolled at Harvard University in the fall of 1973, originally thinking of a career in law. Much to his parents’ dismay, Gates dropped out of college in 1975 to pursue his business, Microsoft, with partner Allen.  Bill Gates, now 65 years old never gave up.  Today, he is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. Gates gives more than the budget of the World Health Organization to the global health sector as a charity.

The names of the above-mentioned personalities ring bells all over the world. It is good and interesting to read stories of successes recorded by great personalities. These accounts boost morale and promote feelings of empathy. But it is not enough to read about successes recorded by these notable personalities. It is also important to also read about what they went through so if anyone finds himself/herself in similar situations while striving to achieve objectives, they would also approach the issue by taking critical steps to remove obstacles on their paths. Their successes had nothing to do with participating in those ‘’wild parties’’, fraudulent activities, and other condemnable practices. Their stories are about innovation, ingenuity, and resourcefulness.

BISHOP CHRIS KWAKPOVWE: The idea of generating this literature came from OUR DAILY MANNA, a product of Bishop Chris Kwakpovwe’s walk with God. The bishop at a stage of his life contemplated suicide! Chris Kwakpovwe, General Overseer of ”Our Daily Manna Ministries’’ writes like a philosopher. His messages are very deep and soul-lifting. They are laced with occurrences that depict the facts of life and the ‘School of Life’ This is understandable because Kwapovwe himself was a candidate of suicide as a result of what he went through in the early part of his terrestrial journey, even as a qualified pharmacist who already met with Jesus Christ. He calls the experience ‘’mid-life crisis’’ which 85% of people go through. Fed up with life, he bought a rope to take his own life by hanging.

He told God repeatedly to take him away because of the huge problems confronting him. Kwakpovwe who was already in the ministry prayed for others and God answered but in his own case, he had bad dreams, accusations, and excruciating pain. He never knew the situation was a set-up by God. When the moment came for Kwakpovwe to take his own life, God, the Perfect Arranger spoke:  ‘’All that you have been through, is not unto death but unto the fulfillment of destiny unto millions. ‘’The voice repeated itself in his head loudly’’ He gave up attempts to hang himself. This space is yielded to Bishop Chris Kwakpovwe’s soul-lifting message.

 WE DISCUSS SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT THEY WENT THROUGH:  Often when we discuss success and successful people, we forget to mention the fact that most stories of success are preceded by seasons of failure. We read about successful people forgetting that they probably have gone through seasons of failure before they eventually became successful. Winston Churchill put it this way, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Today, the world celebrates men like Bill Gates, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and women like Oprah Winfrey without telling us the stories behind their glory. This is the reason why sometimes, part of this devotional is dedicated to telling the story behind the glory of successful men and women.

BILL GATES INITIALLY FAILED IN HIS BUSINESS PURSUITS: It may interest you to know that before Microsoft was born, Bill Gates, known to be one of the wealthiest men in the world today, initially suffered a failure in business. Bill Gates first business was indeed a failure. He started a business known as Traf-0-Data. It was a partnership between Bill Gates, Paul Gilbert and Paul Allen. Unfortunately, the machine they had built to process the data flopped in the process of presenting it to a traffic employee of Seattle County in America. But as God would have it, this business helped to set Bill Gates and his business partner, Paul Allen, up for major success with Microsoft. Although Bill Gates failed in his first business attempt, this did not discourage him from trying again.

OPRAH WINFREY WAS REJECTED AS UNFIT: Almost the whole world, one way or the other, watches that lady called Oprah Winfrey on television. It may also interest you that Oprah had a rocky start in life. In her early years, not only was her living condition and that of her entire family rough, but she also suffered abuse by people that were very close to her. At the age of 14, she became pregnant. The boy she gave birth to as a result of that pregnancy died shortly after birth. Today, she is not married and has no child, but nobody remembers that her first child died! She was hired later by a local television station to read the news, but things went wrong for her. The producer said she was “unfit for television,” so she was fired! Baby died, FIRED from a job, yet she refused to quit dreaming!

In 1983, Oprah relocated to Chicago to host a low-rated show called, ‘A.M. CHICAGO.” Within a few months, the show went from last in the ratings to the number 1 show at that time. This led to the show being re-named “The Oprah Winfrey Show which has become known worldwide. Wow! The beauty of failure is that it is the womb that carries Success! Joshua, in today’s story, had failed in his attempt to conquer the small city called Ai. The men of this small country killed some gallant and very valiant 36 Israeli soldiers. The whole of the Israeli Armed Forces suffered depression, fear, and discouragement. Verse 5 of Chapter 7 says,”…wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.” However, Joshua went back to the drawing board and put himself together to fight again!

PROBLEMS ARE STEPPING STONES TO SUCCESS: Eventually, Israel prevailed over Ai for “it was, that all that fell that day, both men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai (Joshua 8:25). People of great minds say that it is not failure that matters but what you do with failure. Have you failed before or are currently in the pit of failure? Are you facing delays and setbacks’? See them as stepping-stones to greatness. Put yourself together again and get ready for an ELEVATION-a greater height of glory!

EXAMPLES OF FAILURES WHO PERSISTED & WON – FAILURE IS A NECESSARY STEP TO ACHIEVING GOALS IN LIFE

Someone wrote this:  “It seems that failure tends to be more public than success, or at least that is what we perceive it to be. We fear failure, we try to avoid it, and we question ourselves every time we have unconventional ideas. But the simple truth is, no great success was ever achieved without failure. It may be one epic failure, or a series of failures such as Edison’s 10,000 attempts to create a light bulb, or Dyson’s 5,126 attempts to invent a bag-less vacuum cleaner. But whether we like it or not, failure is a necessary stepping-stone to achieving our dreams.” In 1978, Jones Dyson got an idea for inventing new vacuum cleaning technology. For 5 long years, he made 5,127 prototypes, and finally got a working model. today, Dyson’s cord-free vacuum cleaners are capable of capturing 99.97% of dust as small as 0.3 microns and expel cleaner air.

HENRY FORD WAS BANKRUPT BEFORE ACHIEVING HIS GOAL

Many people know Henry Ford because of the Ford Motor Company. However, what they don’t know is that Ford failed two times which resulted in bankruptcies before he became successful. In 1899, at the age of 36, Ford formed his first company, The Detroit Automobile Company, with backing from a lumber baron, William Murphy. That company went bankrupt! He made a 2nd attempt in 1901, when he formed Henry Ford Company. That also failed and it was re-named, The Cadillac Automobile Company after he gave up his shares in it. His 3rd attempt was what hit the nail on the head. Ford was not a stranger to failure but he didn’t just give up!

 

Thomas Edison made over 10,000 attempts while trying to invent a commercially viable electric bulb, but he didn’t give up. When asked by a newspaper reporter if he felt like a failure after having gone through so many thousands of failed attempts, Edison simply stated, “Why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitely over 9,000 ways an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp.” And at last he succeeded!

 

In today’s scripture, Elijah attempted to bring back rain upon the earth after some three and a half years of drought. As he continued to pray, it looked like the heavens won’t let the rain come down. Nevertheless, he didn’t give up. He commanded his servant to go back seven times again to look out for the sign of success. It was at the 7m attempt that a little sign of success in the form of “a little cloud out of the sea like a man’s hand was seen. As C.S. Lewis said, “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement. Failure must not be regarded as absence of success. It’s just a road map to success. As you journey through 2020, never give up!  Hear Eloisa Ristad, an anonymous writer who penned this down, “Failure is not the opposite of success, It’s part of success.” Did you get that? Child of God, no matter how all your past years have been, get up and try again!

A MIRACLE ABOUT TO BLOSSOM

You are not a failure or a DELAY-VICTIM, but a miracle that is about to blossom. I hear the sound of your dancing steps because the God of Elijah has your back! Pray now.