Growing up poor in the Bahamas, Sidney Poitier had one dream which was to become an actor. He began his career with the American Negro Theatre in Harlem but wanted more. Even with that under his belt, he still hit resistance on his road to fame.
Poitier recalled in an interview with the Academy of Achievement just how difficult it was for him to reach his goals, especially because when he first started acting, he couldn’t read. He buckled down and really took the time to learn, albeit a bit slower than others. Poitier had an experience with a director when he tried out for one particular role on stage that changed his life. In fact, the man told him to just go get a job as a dishwasher instead!
“And I realized then and there that what he said was his perception of my worth. He perceived me to be of no value beyond something that I could do with my hands. And while he was correct in his anger to characterize me that way, I was offended. I was offended deeply. And I said to myself, “I have to rectify that. I have to show him that he was wrong about me.”
Don’t be afraid to fail. Those who came before you failed first before they succeeded!
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