At What Point Do You Tend To Give Up?


We hear that Edison had hundreds of attempts at creating the light bulb, and just kept going until he created one that worked. Colonel Sanders was the same with his secret herbs and spices.

So what keeps people like Edison and Sanders going? At what point do the rest of us decide that whatever we are trying to do is just too hard?

  • The first time a man looks at an ad, he doesn't see it.
  • The second time, he doesn't notice it. 
  • The third time, he is conscious of its existence.
  • The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it. 
  • The fifth time, he reads the ad.
  • The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it. 
  • The seventh time, he reads it through and says, "Oh brother!"
  • The eighth time, he says, "Here's that confounded thing again!"
  • The ninth time, he wonders if it amounts to anything.
  • The tenth time, he will ask his neighbour if he has tried it.
  • The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.
  • The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.
  • The thirteenth time, he remembers that he wanted such a thing for a long time.
  • The fourteenth time, he remembers that he wanted such a thing for a long time.
  • The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it. 
  • The sixteenth time, he thinks he will buy it someday.
  • The seventeenth time, he makes a memorandum of it.
  • The eighteenth time, he swears at his poverty.
  • The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully. 
  • The twentieth time he sees the ad, he buys the article or instructs his wife to do so.

- Thomas Smith, "Successful Advertising", 1885.

So remember this story the next time you think something isn't working. Just keep on keeping on and sooner or later you will succeed.

Ann Andrews CSP
MD The Corporate Toolbox



Ann Andrews CSP specialises in working with high performing teams and showing managers how to deal with poor performance.

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