Paul Abraham: Don’t give up – and think of Colonel Sanders!

Paul Abraham, speaking at Bramley Lawn.

By Paul Abraham of

When your dream or ambition is struggling to materialise it can be very tempting to give up. Imagine if these two gentlemen had decided to give up!

Colonel Sanders

He was a broke, alone, 65 year-old looking at his first Social Security cheque for $105, his name? Colonel Sanders.

He started thinking of ways to boost his income, but all he had was a chicken recipe that everyone who’d tasted it, seemed to like.

If he sold his recipe to restaurants, that would barely pay his rent, could he sell the recipe and show restaurants how to cook the chicken properly, while taking a percentage of profits if business was increased due to his recipe?

He went knocking on doors, telling each restaurant owner his idea, many just laughed in his face and told him to go and take his stupid idea with him.

Instead of giving up, after each refusal he focused on how to approach the next restaurant with a different sales pitch. He spent two years driving across American in his old beaten van, while using the back seat as a bed.

Colonel Sanders’ idea was turned down 1,009 times, yes, 1,009 time people said “no” before he finally had a chance to fulfil his business ambition, and as they say “the rest is history”!

Top three Colonel Sanders quotes

“One has to remember that every failure can be a stepping-stone to something better.”

Col Sanders

“Have ambition to work, willingness to work and integrity in what you do.”

Col Sanders

“Where either you’re on your own job or you’re dreaming about different things and you can always take something in your life and make it better.”

Col Sanders

Soichiro Honda

In 1938, Mr Soichiro Honda, was a poor student who had a dream of designing a piston ring that he would sell to and manufacture for Toyoto Corporation.

Every day he would go to school, and all night long he would work on his design. He spent what little money he had on his project, and it still wasn’t finished. Finally he pawned his wife’s jewellery to continue.

After years of effort he finally designed the piston ring he was sure Toyota would buy. When he took it to them, they rejected it.

Finally, after two more years, he refined his design, and Toyota actually bought it! In order to build his piston factory, Mr Honda needed concrete, but the Japanese government was gearing up for World War Two, so none was available. Once again, it looked as if his dream would die.

The story doesn’t end here. During the war, the USA bombed his factory, destroying most of it.

He rallied his employees and told them to watch where the bombers dropped their fuel cans. He then used the collected cans to help with the raw materials he needed in his manufacturing process, as the raw materials couldn’t be obtained in Japan.

Finally an earthquake levelled his factory and he was forced to sell his piston operation to Toyota.

When the war ended, Japan was in total turmoil, petrol was so scarce, Mr Honda couldn’t even get enough petrol to drive his car to the market to buy food for his family.

He then noticed a little motor he had, one which was the size and type to drive a traditional lawnmower, and he got the idea of hooking it up to his bicycle. In that moment, the first motorised bike was created. He drove it to and from the market, and pretty soon is friends were asking him to make some for them, too.

Shortly thereafter, he’d made so many “motorbikes” that he ran out of motors, so he decided to build a new factory to manufacture his own.

But he had no money, and Japan was torn apart. How would he do it? He came up with the idea of writing a letter to every bicycle-shop in Japan, telling them about his cheap motorbike.

Of the 18,000 bicycle-shop owners who received a letter, 3,000 gave Mr Honda money, and he manufactured his first shipment.

Unfortunately the motorbike was too big and bulky, and very few Japanese bought it. He decided to change his approach again, and stripped the bike down to make it much lighter and smaller.

He called it The Cub, and it became an “overnight success,” winning Honda the Emperor’s Award. Today, Mr Honda’s company is one of the most successful in the world. All because Mr Honda was so determined not to give up on his dream and ambition.

Top three Honda quotes

“Instead of being afraid of the challenge and failure, be afraid of avoiding the challenge and doing nothing…”

Soichiro Honda

“We only have one future and it will be made of our dreams, if we have the courage to challenge convention…”

Soichiro Honda

“Many people only dream about success, while for me success is to overcome permanent failures.”

Soichiro Honda

Paul Abraham is the author of the book “Expert guidance to galvanise and electrify your life!” which is available via

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