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The Achiever Newsletter

When the Going Gets Tough
Part 7

By Harry K. Jones

We share the following anecdotes in the spirit of inspiration and motivation we all need from time to time. Please enjoy each and pass them on to others in that same spirit.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother took a very active interest in her education, introducing her to the library at a very young age. She never lost her love of reading a very valuable lesson for today's youth.

She was genuinely interested in politics at a young age as she ran for student government at James Madison High School and lost. Little did she know at the time of her loss that many years later this high school's law program would dedicate a courtroom in her honor.

Ginsburg's older sister died when she was very young. Her mother struggled with cancer throughout Ginsburg's high school years and died the day before graduation. At that point, she dedicated her life to make her mother proud of her.

She married Martin D. Ginsburg, later a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center and an internationally prominent tax lawyer. She went on to receive her B.A. from Cornell University in 1954 and enrolled at Harvard Law School. When Martin took a job in New York City she transferred to Columbia Law School and became the first person ever to be on both the Harvard and Columbia law reviews. She earned her LL.B. degree at Columbia, tied for first in her class. After her graduation from the Columbia Law School, not one major law firm in New York City offered her a job because she was a woman! This was less than 50 years ago!

In 1959, Ginsburg became a law clerk to Judge Edmund L. Palmieri of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. From 1961 to 1963, she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure. She was a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law (Newark) from 1963 to 1972, and at Columbia Law School from 1972 to 1980, where she became the first tenured woman and co-authored the first law school case book on sex discrimination. In 1977, she became a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. As the chief litigator of the ACLU's women's rights project, she argued several cases in front of the Supreme Court and attained a reputation as a skilled oral advocate. Ginsburg was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by President Carter in 1980. President Clinton nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 1993, making her the second female justice in the Court's history.

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash, "The Man In Black," was born in poverty in Arkansas and was working in the cotton fields with his family by age 5. His family's personal struggles during the Depression shaped him as a person and inspired many of his future hit songs. He sang with his family and wrote songs throughout his childhood. He joined the Air Force and served as a radio operator in Germany where he formed his first band. Upon his return to the U.S., he sold appliances door-to-door as he studied to be a radio announcer. He also played back-up guitar for many artists at the famed Sun Recording studios during this time. Several Sun recording stars recognized Johnny's singing potential and brought him to the attention of Sam Phillips who launched his first recording in 1955. Johnny went on to write over 1,000 songs, sold more than 50 million albums, and received multiple Country Music Awards and ten Grammys. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In 1996, Cash received Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. From those Arkansas cotton fields, he forged a career that spanned five decades.

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud, the "Father of Psychoanalysis," sold only 600 copies of his first book The Interpretation of Dreams. After eight years, his initial effort netted him a mere $250 in royalties. Early in his career, the Austrian neurologist opened a private practice specializing in nervous brain disorders. He smoked cigars from age 24, resulting in having his jaw removed due to a malignancy. He later contracted cancer of the mouth and underwent 30 operations to treat the disease. For several years, he wore a painful prosthesis to seal off his mouth from his nasal cavity. He experimented with hypnotism but was admittedly very poor at it. He gave up the practice and converted to putting his patients on a couch and encouraging them to say whatever came into their minds, a practice termed free association. His persistence paid off, and he became one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. His widely read book, The Interpretation of Dreams, is considered the gospel of psychoanalysis.

Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone was born in New York City in 1946. Sly was thrown out of fourteen schools in eleven years. At fifteen, his classmates voted him the one "most likely to end up in the electric chair." After struggling to graduate from high school, Stallone attended the University of Miami for three years. He came within a few credit hours of graduation, before he decided to drop out and pursue an acting career. His professors discouraged him from pursuing a career in acting. His trademark sneer, double lazy eyes, and slurred speech the result of paralysis in the left side of his face caused by birth complications was certainly not an asset at that time.

Sly was turned down for bit part after bit for years. He finally managed to land a few contracts as an "extra" seen on the movie screen for only a minute or two in several films. One night, Stallone attended the Ali-Chuck Wepner fight, and the idea of Rocky was born. That night, Stallone went home, and in three days he had written the script for the movie that would change his life forever. Rocky. Sly wrote the script with the intention of playing the lead role himself. It was rejected time and time again because no one could visualize Sly in the role of a film star. Sly could have sold the script alone several times and pocketed a good deal of cash. He felt no one could play the role of Rocky as well as he could. Finally, the quality of the script and the potential for success convinced a studio to gamble on a great script and a so-so actor. The rest is history.

Rocky was nominated for ten Academy Awards in all, including two for Stallone himself, for Best Actor and for Best Original Screenplay. In addition to winning Best Picture, Rocky won for Best Director and Best Film Editing. Rocky cost about $1.1 million to make and grossed about $225 million worldwide. The movie has made the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art a Philadelphia tourist attraction. The Rocky series successfully grew to six box-office blockbusters. His military character, "Rambo," generated four triumphant films, and Sly was instrumental in writing, directing, producing or acting in a total of 26 major films since 1975. Thus far he has avoided the "electric chair.

Publication Date: Winter 2007

motivational speaker Harry K. JonesHarry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services.

Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management

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