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10 Successful People Whose Ideas Were Thought To Be Ridiculous At The Beginning

10 Successful People Whose Ideas Were Thought To Be Ridiculous At The Beginning

Do you have an idea? Are you not pursuing it because you think it is impractical, ridiculous, cost-ineffective or non-marketable? Think again! In today’s world, we are using a lot of products and services that were initially thought to be not workable at all. However, today we can’t think of living without them. Don’t you believe me? Here is a list of 10 famous people whose ideas seemed ludicrous in the beginning but they were actually destined to be successful and practical.

1. Mark Zuckerberg

Who could have thought that a simple idea of socially connecting people in the virtual world will ACTUALLY take over the world? Mark Zuckerberg did! Our interactions today are totally dominated by the social media and Facebook is definitely one of the top few sites. Who would have paid heed if they were told that in a few years, the way we remain connected to each other will change entirely? He pursued the idea relentlessly and look… today he’s one of the wealthiest people on earth.

2. Henry Ford

Who doesn’t know Henry Ford today? Would you believe it if I tell you his ideas were totally rejected in the beginning? When Ford tried to present his project of a motor to a group of industrialists, nobody bothered to give him any importance. For them, what Ford presented was nothing and they would have thrown it in the trash. However, he was only encouraged by Thomas Edison and today everybody is reaping the benefits of Ford’s idea: affordable vehicles for an average citizen.

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3. Walt Disney

Every childhood is incomplete without knowing “Mickey Mouse”. However, Walt Disney’s many ideas including Mickey Mouse were initially badly rejected. Disney was told a giant mouse would “frighten women.” Walt Disney also suffered several financial blows. But eventually, Disney’s resilience paid off, and the Walt Disney Company turned out to be a huge success.

4. Colonel Sanders

We all love KFC. It’s one of the most favorite and distinguished fast food stores around the world. Harland David Sanders, better known to most as Colonel Sanders, however, experienced some serious rejection initially and we should thank him for his resilience. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have tasted his world-renowned chicken. In the beginning, the Colonel’s famous secret chicken recipe was apparently rejected by restaurant owners 1009 times. The Colonel officially founded KFC at the age of 65. The company is now the world’s 2nd largest restaurant chain (in term of sales).

5. Elvis Presley

Can you imagine the likes of Presley being rejected for his poor musical performance? After a performance at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, Elvis was told by the concert hall manager that he should return to Memphis and keep driving a truck. But he didn’t. And he became a legend.

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6. Stephen King

Stephen Edwin King (although he doesn’t need any introduction) is an American author of contemporary horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. His books have sold more than 350 million copies but before that, his most renowned and first book, Carrie, was rejected thirty times. King decided to throw away the book, which his wife then went through the trash to rescue, and convinced him to re-submit it.

7. J.K. Rowling

It is difficult to find anybody in this generation who wouldn’t know “Harry Potter” and its amazing author J.K. Rowling. Can you believe that the manuscript of Harry Potter was rejected not once, not twice but twelve times by publishers? Thanks to her strength, she didn’t give up and gave us one of the most entertaining books in today’s times.

8. Stephenie Meyer

The author of Twilight wrote 15 letters to literary agencies. Five didn’t reply. Nine rejected. One gave her a chance. The lesson; you should keep pursuing your goals. There is no way you won’t succeed.

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9. The Beatles

Everybody’s beloved band, they were rejected by many record labels. In a classic rejection, the label said, “guitar groups are on the way out” and “the Beatles have no future in show business”. Today, there success knows no bounds.

10. Jim Gray

Jim Gray’s early ideas for databases in the 70’s were scoffed at by academics as being “too academic” and not realistic for real world use. And then they became a success.

Do you still need any more motivation? Get up and start working on your dreams!

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Featured photo credit: Mark Zuckerberg Facebook SXSWi 2008 Keynote/Jason McELweenie via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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