Muscle for life

WD-40 and the Dirty Little Secret of Overnight Success

WD-40 and the Dirty Little Secret of Overnight Success

Do you know why WD-40 is called “WD-40?”

It stands for “Water Displacement–40th Attempt.”

“Who cares?” I hear you wondering.

Well, the formula that accounted for over $300 million in sales last year…was successfully created only after 39 failed attempts.

The incredibly popular game Angry Birds was software maker Rovio’s 52nd attempt at creating something that would make money. They eked out a living for eight years and nearly went bankrupt before creating a game that has now been downloaded over 1 billion times.

James Dyson endured a staggering 5,126 failed prototypes before creating his revolutionary vacuum cleaner. It took another ten years of dogged persistence before he had enough money to start the Dyson company. It did over $200 million in sales last year.

Groupon almost died early on for lack of funds and interest. It’s now worth $6.3 billion.

My point is this: you’ve surely experienced setbacks in your pursuit of your goals and dreams. When you stumble and stagger get suckerpunched by life , it’s easy to invent excuses to walk away. If you’re around the wrong people, they’ll probably provide a few that you didn’t even think of.

But successful people never give into this temptation. They view failure as analytically as they view success–both provide invaluable data for making future efforts more successful. (Click here to tweet this!)

And don’t think that captains of industry had the undying support and encouragement of their peers when they began, either. At one point, just about any fantastically successful person you could name was considered by many an impractical, naive dreamer. (Click here to tweet this!)

No great council decreed that Gates’ vision of Microsoft was going to change the world of software forever. Nobody believed that Oprah Winfrey would amount to anything after running away from home at 13, following years of sexual abuse by family.

No, every great organization that is around today exists because someone, in the beginning, refused to believe that they couldn’t do it, and refused to let setbacks defeat them. (Click here to tweet this!)

So, if you feel you have a mission to execute and impact to make, know this: You’re going to experience failures. Some are going to sting. But they’re never an excuse to give up.

“Success seems to be connected with action,” wrote hotelier Conrad Hilton, founder of the Hilton Hotels chain. “Successful men keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” (Click here to tweet this!)

Maybe you’ll fail ten times. Maybe you’ll fail one hundred times. But, who knows, after months or years of hard work, you might just be that next story of “overnight” success that people marvel at.


What do you think about this view of “overnight success?” Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below!


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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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Leave a Comment!
  • ronda

    Powerfully Encouraging.

    • Michael Matthews


  • Charlie m

    Makes me want to get up and do something! Great article.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks man!

  • Kingsley Cross

    I had to put your quote up on Facebook as a reminder to myself. Very inspiring and your workout routine, I went back on yesterday, is the REAL deal. It’s been three weeks off from training so I had to deload by a few pounds benching and I know I have to do that for when I deadlift in a few minutes from now.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks brother. Let me know how things go!

  • Isaac

    Excellent article Mike ! I will make all of my subordinates and kids as well read this over and over again. Thank you.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! I appreciate it.

  • Michael

    Makes you think we always see the end product but not what people do day in day out to reach there goals! Great article.

    • Michael Matthews

      Exactly. Thanks!

  • mars

    today was the perfect day for me to read this… feeling like my hard work the post few weeks has amounted to nothing and was about to throw in the towel and try again later… but i’m gonna just keep trekking through this and just roll with the punches, thank you

    • Michael Matthews

      Awesome, I’m really glad I could help! Keep fighting the good fight!

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