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Talkin' with Trav: True formula for success is hard work

By Travis Hansen

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, April 24 2012 9:51 a.m. MDT

J.K. Rowling. Rowling may be rolling in a lot of Harry Potter dough today, but before she published the series of novels she was nearly penniless, depressed, divorced and trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel. Rowling went from depending on welfare to survive to being one of the richest women in the world in a span of only five years through her hard work and determination.

Michael Jordan. Most people wouldn't believe that a man often lauded as the best basketball player of all time was actually cut from his high school basketball team. Luckily, Jordan didn't let this setback stop him from playing the game.

He has observed, "I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

Thomas Edison. In his early years, teachers told Edison he was "too stupid to learn anything." Work was no better, as he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Even as an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Of course, all those failed attempts finally resulted in the design that worked.

Abraham Lincoln. While today he is remembered as one of the greatest leaders in our nation's history, Lincoln's life wasn't so easy. In his youth he went to war a captain and returned a private (if you're not familiar with military ranks, just know that private is as low as it goes.) Lincoln didn't stop failing there, however. He started numerous failed businesses and was defeated in numerous runs he made for public office.

Colonel Sanders, founder of KFC. At 65 years old, he was dead broke, his only asset a secret chicken recipe. He knew he wasn’t going to make it on pensions alone, so he decided to travel across the country to try to sell his secret recipe to restaurant owners. The first owner turned him down. The second turned him down. So did the third. And the fourth. He persevered and worked hard. He was rejected more than 1,009 times before one finally agreed.

That’s the sort of persistence and hard work I’m talking about.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

Every day you wake up to obstacles, challenges or misfortunes. You may not be able to choose what situation you are dealt, but you certainly can choose how you react to it.

I believe if you want it bad enough, you’ll get it. But you may have to listen to 1,009 people say no before one says yes.

There have been many other amazing examples of people who have persevered, worked hard and eventually been successful.

Success attracts a special person who is determined and persistent and who will never take no for an answer.

David Bly said, "Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest what you haven't planted."

Remember, the future depends on what we do in the present.

Travis Hansen is a former BYU, NBA (Atlanta Hawks) and Euroleague basketball player. He co-founded the Little Heroes Foundation and is married with three children.

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