What makes champions

- Francis J. Kong - The Philippine Star

Who are the real champions?

The real champions are not the ones who never fail, but the ones who never quit.

In 1962, four nervous young musicians played their first record audition for the executives of the Decca recording company. The executives were not impressed. While turning down this group of musicians, one executive said, “We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out.” The group was called The Beatles. Did they give up? No they didn’t.

In 1944, Emmeline Snively, director of the Blue Book Modelling Agency, told modeling hopeful Norma Jean Baker, “You’d better learn secretarial work or else get married.” Did she quit? No she didn’t. She went on and became Marilyn Monroe.

In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired a singer after one performance. He told him, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” Did he pack up his things and go home? No he didn’t. He went on to become the most popular singer in America named Elvis Presley.

Now let’s look at the field of science.

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, it did not ring off the hook with calls from potential backers. After making a demonstration call, President Rutherford Hayes said, “That’s an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one of them?” Bell didn’t quit.

When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he tried over 2000 experiments before he got it to work. A young reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, “I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2000-step process.” That’s the mark of a true champion.

What about business?

In the 1940s, another young inventor named Chester Carlson took his idea to 20 corporations, including some of the biggest in the country. They all turned him down. In 1947 – after seven long years of rejections! – he finally got a tiny company in Rochester, New York, the Haloid Company, to purchase the rights to his invention – an electrostatic paper-copying process. Haloid became the Xerox Corporation we know today.

Let’s try sports this time.

Wilma Rudolph was the 20th of 22 children. She was born prematurely and her survival was doubtful. When she was four years old, she contacted double pneumonia and scarlet fever, which left her with a paralyzed left leg. At age nine, she removed the metal leg brace she had been dependent on and began to walk without it. By 13 she had developed a rhythmic walk, which doctors said was a miracle. That same year she decided to become a runner. She entered a race and came in last. For the next few years every race she entered, she came in last.

Everyone told her to quit, but she kept on running. One day she actually won a race. And then another. From then on she won every race she entered. Eventually this little girl, who was told she would never walk again, went on to win three Olympic gold medals. Now that’s what I call a real champion.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved. You gain strength and confidence by every experience where you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you cannot do. And remember, the finest steel gets sent through the hottest furnace.

Therefore a champion is not one who never fails, but one who never quits.

No wonder the Bible says we are to welcome adversities. Those are the things that create champions as long as we don’t quit.

The word QUIT is a four-letter word that is obscene to the ears of a champion.

These stories are old but they still have to be told. Young people quit too easily but the champions? They don’t!

(Francis teams up with renowned speaker and author Krish Dhanam on May 15 in a whole-day seminar entitled Achieving Peak Performance at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. For further inquiries contact Inspire at 09158055910 or call (632) 6310912 for details.)

















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