Quitters Never Win

A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.

Persistence and the ability to overcome adversity is one of the most necessary personal characteristics for success in life and business. Unfortunately, it is in short supply in America. Especially in sales. In my three decade experience in the sales profession, I have observed hundreds of want to be sales professionals fail because they lack this personal characteristic. I used to think that sales training could instill this characteristic, but I have come to realize that by the time someone reaches the age of majority and enrolls in my sales training they either have it or they don’t have it. Their parents either taught and instilled this personal discipline in them or they didn’t. Frankly, no amount of sales training can correct or undue poor parenting.

Case in point. I recently read a story about a young boy from Boston who had a crippling degenerative disease. His speech was garbled. He couldn’t walk, and he wasn’t able to go to school with the rest of the kids in his neighborhood.

In spite of these physical limitations, his father was determined to teach this young boy to ride a bike. To make it easier, the father equipped the boy’s bike with front and rear training wheels. Day after day, the father would take the boy out to the sidewalk, put him on the bike and then go back into the house where he would watch out the window.

Day after day, the kid would trip over as he tried to ride the bike. The father watched all of this through the window and did nothing. The boy would pull himself up and try again. Day after day this same routine was repeated. Finally, one day the boy went about three feet before he fell off. Not discourage he got back up on the bike and tried again. Again the father did nothing. For weeks the kid kept trying and falling, and the father didn’t lift a finger.

One Saturday morning, the boy crashed off the curb as his father watched through the window. He got back up on the bike and tried again. Finally, he got the hang of it and was able to ride the bike about sixty feet and then turned around and rode the whole length of the sidewalk as his father grinned and watched through the window. When he reached the window and saw his father beaming he too broke out in a big grin. When their eyes met they both started waving their arms and laughing like crazy.

The moral, in case you missed it, is that both the father and son knew that the boy needed to face the challenge and struggle through it on his own. The boy needed to be his own agent of change, to be active in his own rescue. If his father had bailed him out, the boy would miss the chance to become his own hero. And only if he was the hero would this seminal victory empower him to face the other inevitable and monumental challenges that lay in his future. The only thing better than being his own hero in this story was being the hero in his own life.

This story is really about getting up every time we get knocked down. It is about seeing failure as a speed bump on the road to success. Heroes don’t quit because they know the only true failure is the failure to get up. Parents would do well to teach their children this lesson.

4 replies
    • Steve Clark
      Steve Clark says:

      Absolutely Jim and as important as it is to pass on things we’ve learned it is just as important that people listen to the ‘words of wisdom’ from those who have ‘been there’. Thanks

      Reply
  1. Karen Vaughn
    Karen Vaughn says:

    Dear Steve,

    ThankYou for this beautiful letter. I am going to forward this to my best friend she has a child with special needs.

    This inspired me to keep chugging along and not get so discouraged.

    Karen Vaughn

    Reply

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