Edgar Allan Poe was a stubborn man. And thank heavens he was, or we might not have “The Raven.” Every time I dig deeper into his background, I discover another fork in the road where he might’ve given up, but didn’t. He had more misery than most – some self-created – but he never let it stand in the way of his dreams.
Below you’ll find a prospectus for The Penn (later, The Stylus), a magazine that Poe wanted to publish himself. Funding fell through time and time again from a variety of different backers. Some of this failure was of his own making, but some was due to bad luck and bad timing.
(courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center)
Did he give up? Not even close. While everyone else was passing on his magazine idea, he put his head down and penned a little poem about a raven. Not long after publication of “The Raven,” Poe became the toast of New York. Soon, the whole country began to recognize his genius. He’d had success before, but not quite like this. Thing is, he didn’t let failure in one area limit his success in another.
It’s a reminder for me that opportunity might be hiding behind the most unsuspecting of doors, and it’s to my benefit to open as many as I can. I’m going through a hectic time in my life right now – lots of writing, speaking, and editing projects – but I made a commitment to myself at the beginning of September to say yes to everything because one never knows what’s going to take off. The more things I try, the better my odds of “winning” (at least my definition of it.) So I’m hurtling head-long into every project, embracing it as an untapped opportunity.
Would I like to edit this manuscript? Yes!
Would I like to speak? Yes!
Would I like to try this new writing project? Yes!
Would I like to try bungee jumping? Er, no. Sorry, I have my limits.
Your turn. I’d love to hear about others (writers, inventors, singers, doesn’t matter) who pushed failure aside in their pursuit of success. History is full of them! Or tell me about your own success!