Colonel Sanders and Tony Robbins: Crazy, Thoughtless, and Unaware
This is not one of my usual posts. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed or was radically influenced by LeBron going to Miami, Hulk Hogan going Hollywood, or Star Trek’s entire crew in Mirror, Mirror when they ran into their evil selves in a parallel universe. Spock rocked his goatee! Sorry, I digress. Most of the times, I’m quite positive, tell people to Have An Awesome Day, and would normally use the KFC story as motivation.
Hindsight is 20/20
This motivational story is retold time and time again, only because there was a happy ending. I wondered, “What about his poor friends and family?” They had to suffer and endure 1009 rejections over a two-year period? My initial reaction was Mr. Sanders was heartless! Digging deeper, I found out that he was alone and had no family. I take back my heartless comment. He was tired of his $105 social security check so at 65 he set out to push his chicken recipe and help restaurants prepare a better chicken.
No Excuse Mr. Robbins
On the other hand, motivational gurus like Tony Robbins should be ashamed of themselves. I agree the story of persistence, never say quit, and pursuing your dreams is a great one. Taking action is the most important step. Many people don’t take action and just daydream about a better way of life. But in the wrong hands, lives could spiral endlessly out of control. People looking for motivational stories to apply to themselves miss the fact that Mr. Sanders was 65 and alone. If you pulled the same move straight out of college or in your 30’s during a career change, what kind of life would you have if you pulled a Colonel Sanders and never took no for an answer even if things weren’t in the cards for you?
KFC is an amazing product, brand, and story, but his story is exceptional. People barreling along without backup plans and a timeline are being too naive. Add to that they are being thoughtless and unaware if they submit their friends and family to the endless rounds of seeing their loved one go through rejection after rejection. The Colonel Sanders method of success shouldn’t be applied to everyone.
Don’t get me wrong. Colonel Sanders overcame two years of rejections and should be commended for his persistence, doing what he loved, and making his dreams come true. But you have to be realistic, too. Without knowing the future, would it really be wise to chase your dream for two years and go through over 1000 rejections? Should someone five feet tall, who can’t dunk, continue chasing his dream of being in the NBA? Should a struggling actor continue going to auditions and waiting tables part time, after numerous “don’t call us, we’ll call you’s”? Should a business owner who continuously goes bankrupt, continue searching for a successful business?
I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but not all of us can be Kobe Bryant, Leonardo DiCaprio, or Colonel Sanders. On the off chance, you are not a superstar in waiting, you should really consider other options and a deadline on when to call it quits. Using investing terms, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket and you should apply stop losses so you don’t get completely wiped out. I may never be the next Colonel Sanders, but if I had to submit myself and loved ones through over 1000 rejections, I would find another way, even though it was finger-lickin’ good.