Stop the presses! Pessimists throughout history proved wrong!
In my last post I wrote about standing tall in the face of pessimists.
Today I’d like to offer some historical anecdotes about all the times pessimists were wrong. Hopefully it will give you more inspiration to hold onto your dreams in spite of the naysayers:
For starters, remember how absolutely certain people used to be that the earth was flat!
In 1847, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was the head of Vienna General Hospital’s First Obstetrical Clinic, which at the time had a mortality rate of 10-35%! When he suggested doctors and mid-wives wash their hands before attending mothers and newborns, he was ridiculed by the medical authorities of the time, and fired by the hospital that employed him. In 1851 he moved to Hungary where his theory was accepted and hand-washing reduced mortality to less than 1%!
“Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” Professor of Physiology at the University of Toulouse in France, 1872.
“Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.” — Workers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.
“The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” Sir William Preece, chief engineer of the British Post Office, 1876.
“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” Western Union, internal memo, 1876
“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Commissioner of the U.S. Office of Patents in 1899
“Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax.” Williams Thomson, Lord Kelvin, British scientist, 1899
“Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.” — Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.
“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s
“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers Pictures, 1927.
“Can’t sing. Can’t act. Can dance a little.” Movie executive on Fred Astaire’s first screen test
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
“While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility.” Lee DeForest, inventor
“I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.
“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” – Decca Recording Co., rejecting the Beatles, 1962
“But what . . . is it good for?” Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip
“A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make.” Response to Debbi Fields’ idea of starting Mrs. Fields’ Cookies
“So we went to Atari and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we’ll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we’ll come work for you.’ And they said, ‘No.’ So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, ‘Hey, we don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet.'” Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak’s personal computer
“If I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can’t do this.” — Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M “Post-It” Notepads
And my personal favorite:
“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” Pres. of Digital Equipment Corporation in 1977[quote]“I believe in myself, believe in everything that’s positive, so I don’t let any negative energy come into my life to the best of my ability – that’s the best way to carry on. There are no limitations, no rules. If you believe it, you can do it. You can do anything… Nothing is impossible.” Michael Flatley, Irish-American dancer[/quote]
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Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman.” She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com