Never Give Up – A Man’s Guide to Getting Back Up

Never Give UpTake a moment and think back to some of your biggest failures. How did you feel? What did you do? Where did you go from there? Did you have a “Never Give Up!” mind set? I think for most of us the initial feeling is absolute despair. You put all your effort behind it only to come up short. We start to develop a Fear of Failure. We lose confidence. What do we do next?

Hold that thought and check out this list of men I’ve compiled who had unrivaled success.

Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and his first business failed. Steve Jobs had 7 products fail big time. Do these sound familiar? Apple Lisa, NeXT, ROKR, Power MAC G4 Cube…..Exactly, unknown! Einstein did not speak until he was 4 and couldn’t read till he was 7. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, after 1000+ failed attempts. Winston Churchill failed 6th grade and went on to lead England against Hitler in WWII. Stephen Spielberg was rejected by USC 3 times and didn’t complete his BA until 2002 Stephen King’s novel “Carrie” was rejected 30 times and his wife pulled it out of the trash and had to convince him to submit it one more time and the rest is history. Soichiro Honda’s engine parts were initially turned down by Toyota for poor quality….he went back to the drawing board, persevered, studied and down the road founded Honda. Walt Disney was rejected because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”, His first business went into bankruptcy and even Mickey Mouse was initially dismissed that it would terrify women. What if these men didn’t keep trying? Look at where the world is now because they got back up and took it one more round at a time. Great men in history have met failure, and they said “Never Give Up!” and went on to make history. “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” ~Emerson We might not be the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Stephen Spielberg. But in someone’s life we will be a difference because we never give up. Our goals may be different. Our circumstances different. Our lives are definitely different. One thing we all have in common though are obstacles. Think of these as challenges for you to face. If you get knocked down, get back up. Again and again if you have to. Face your fear and let it be a gift to drive you to succeed. Our lives are defined not by the challenges we encounter, but by how we respond to those challenges. ~Jonathan Lockwood Huie When I was 16 I was growing up in Tokyo and took a scooter test. I failed. I left in shame and never retook it – Fear of Failure. I regretted this for years and wished I had the courage to go back and retake it. This did teach me something though. Shame is far worse than a failure. “What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.” ~Goethe When I was in the Army I participated in a 5 day competition with different events. One of them on the 3rd day was a 12 mile ruck march through some German hills. I had my m16, some water and a 30-40 lb. ruck. By the 11th mile and facing a hill I couldn’t take a step without my legs cramping. My m16 then became a cane and I made it up the hill and finished the event. I could have quit though, scored no points and still moved on to the next event. My motivation was the “Man in the Arena” speech by Teddy Roosevelt. “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” ~T.S. Eliot Go that extra mile, push your limits, accept the risk while knowing of possible failure. If you give up today you won’t know what would have happened tomorrow. We are all an influence in the world. We influence each other’s lives. We make things happen. We are writing history. In order to succeed, you must first have integrity to do the right thing, and second, have the fortitude to continue moving forward even in the face of failure. Those who lack strength of character quit in the face of failure. Those who have strength of character get stronger in the face of failure by learning and adapting for the next opportunity. ~Robert Kiyosaki You will be tempted to think, “It’s too tough” or “You don’t understand what I’m facing”. Part of this is true. We aren’t in your shoes and aren’t living your life. But we do share a Fear of Failure. As men we must overcome this fear, remember who we are, put the gloves back on and together say, “Never Never Give Up!”. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. ~Martin Luther King Jr.

Here are some wise words from the Greatest Basketball Player of All Time…

Michael Jordan’s “Failure” Nike commercial

Will “Never Give Up” be your motto and modus operandi?

If you liked this article you’ll also enjoy these other 2:

No Excuses

25 Pictures That Will Motivate You to Shout No Excuses!

Am I Fearless

Am I Fearless?


  1. Inspiring post & quotes John. This may be just the motivation I need to really make a push with my web business. I’ve just been knocked back a a bunch of times and it seemed like I would be better off moving onto something else. Instead I just need to persevere and work even harder. Thanks man.

    • Hey Jeremy, glad to hear it helped. I’ve also often found inspiration when looking at men in history who overcame “impossible” odds. My favorite one in the list above is probably Steven Spielberg. Todd was telling me that he heard that Steven found an empty office at the movie set and he moved in. They thought he worked there, gave him some work and eventually he got on payroll and look at where he is now. I think he’s worth over $1b. Who would’ve thought back then.

  2. Hi John, you are quite right. Fear needs to be defeated. We must learn from our mistakes to become better people.

    Personal growth has a lot to do with the way we treat our failures not to mention the way we treat other people.

    When we do encounter failures, we must look at them as learning experiences. And we must not take our frustration out on others. This is a mistake that far too many make – even though they don’t intend to do so!

    • Dave, I like your point about not taking it out on others. It will be impossible to learn ones own lesson if it is passed to another.

      • Yes, I agree one hundred percent. We almost always have a piece of the blame even in seemingly unrelated events.

        I just reread your post and I feel inspired after rereading Stephen King’s story. I read somewhere that he makes about 40 million per year.

        30 Rejections! that is quite amazing. That story is truly an inspiration.

        Good thing his wife was there!

        • That list of men inspires me too and serves as a reminder when I feel like giving up.

          I agree….you know what they say about the woman behind the man….

  3. “Shame is far worse than a failure.” I couldn’t agree with you more. Nice post!!

  4. “It is better to have tried and failed, than to have failed to try”

  5. The best advice I’ve ever gotten, Never, never, never, ever, give up. Just knowing that you won’t give up gives your adversaries pause. They will likely give up long before you do. They can feel it if you consider giving up an option. And they can feel it when they know you will never give up. It’s daunting.

    • I totally agree! When I used to do martial arts they’d always teach us to control our breathing so we didn’t look exhausted because that will feed into the opponents confidence.

  6. This is a great inspirational piece, love the quotes from Dodgeball, good movie

  7. Thank you. Two little words that mean allot. At least to you I hope so…. Just what I needed to read. Thank you for giving me just what I needed…. perspective.


  8. This was a great article, and exactly what I needed after failing a test earlier this week. For some reason, just because of one bad exam, I was ready to give up on grad school all together. This article really inspired me to look at myself, and know that I am capable of much more, and to not give up, because this rough road called life is a long and bumpy one.


    • James, thanks for commenting. It’s encourging to hear this article helped you get back up. I’ve failed a couple exams myself over the years and had to make the decision to keep studying and not let a failure define me. I recently read a quote that went something like this, “The only one that can tell you that you can’t is you, so stop telling yourself that”.

  9. All great.. except the quote on Edison.. who just stole all his ideas from Nikola Tesla and left him broke and unable to reveal his greatest discoveries of electricity, which would have granted nearly free electricity to everyone, still today.

    • I’ve heard that conspiracy theory before and I think the quote still stands regardless. He didn’t give up after 1000 failed attempts and that’s admirable.

      • Edison did not invent the bulb or the filament. Edison did not do any of the experiments his workmen did the experiments.Edison workmen found that the carbon filament was best. Edison DC power only traveled a short distance. Tesla AC could travel miles. Edison was a moron who killed animals with alternating current to try and beat Tesla. AC electricity won out because it suited top down corporations and pay as you go wealth schemes. It was Westinghouse that screwed over Tesla and refused to pay him for his invention.

        Tesla’s problem was that he did not care about money and let wealthy donors use him. he dies broke and his papers were stolen by some evil scum who did not want the world to know about them. That is where the conspiracy starts …

        • I’m no expert on Edison or Tesla so I won’t go into debating your opinion. I do know that Edison did invent the first commericial incandescent light bulb. Many inventions, to include Tesla’s, were improvements of other inventions. The phonograph, however, by Edison, was the first of it’s kind. And for Tesla I guess he’d be the father of our AC (alternaticin g current). Both great inventors!

  10. this is exactly the motivation i need to finally get my blog started

  11. Never, ever give up is the best advice you can give a young man on business and life. Its a simple rule to follow, once you start something, follow it through to the end no matter what. This means choose your missions wisely.

  12. Inspirational and motivational article,..Thanks John..Good going..!!

  13. Becoming an entrepreneur, lately I have been experiencing a lot of fear and resistance which is also fear. Thank you for the article. Its so true that we must fail in order to truly move forward in our lives.

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