Colonel Sanders
Inspiring Life Stories

What 10 inspirations one get to learn from the life of Colonel Sanders?

     Have you ever realised, how many rejection or failure can make you forget your dream and make you look away from success? One, Two, Three or more may be 10 but not more. Yes, but you know there is a person who has failed 1009 times before he attains success. Colonel Sanders is the person who has attained success after getting rejected for 1009 times.

      Colonel Harland Sanders born in Henryville, IN in the year 1890. His father passed away when he was just six years old. He eventually, had to care for his siblings. In the seventh grade, he dropped out and started working as a farmhand. When turned 16, he faked his age to get into the United States Army.

He was soon fired and got a job as a railway laborer. He was again fired due to constant fights. Later, he took up a job as a life insurance salesman. Unfortunately, he was again fired. Sanders then founded a ferry boat company in the year 1920. Moreover, he tried cashing in the ferry boat business.

Yet he couldn’t find success. When he was 40, he started selling chicken dishes at a service station. About four years later, he purchased a motel until World War 2 forced him to shut it down. After the war, he tried to promote the franchise. Besides, the recipe was rejected for 1009 times until he finally found success.

The secret recipe was then coined as ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’. KFC was then termed as a hit. The company expanded internationally. Eventually, Sanders sold his company for 2 million dollars. Today, Sanders’s face still appears in its logo.

10 Lessons to be learnt from the Life Colonel Sanders.

1. Failure is a ladder to Success.

As I mentioned, the Colonel was rejected over a thousand times before he was successfully able to sell his Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe – that’s a lot of rejection. Not only that, but Sanders failed miserably at every other career he ever attempted. Between the ages of ten and forty, Sanders tried his hand at the following, among other things:

Streetcar conducting




Fire fighting

This just goes to show that no matter how much you experience failure, there’s still time, no matter how old you are, which brings us neatly onto our next lesson.

2. It’s Never Too Late.

When Colonel Sanders was 75, he finally sold KFC for $2 million (roughly $15 million today). Can you imagine experiencing such a win, after a lifetime of losing? I’ve met people during my career who think they’re over the hill by the time they’re in their thirties! Yet the Colonel ploughed on in the face of adversity and ended up as the founder and face of a brand we’re still so familiar with over five decades later.

Colonel Sanders
3. Forget the Past

In order to be successful , many people simply need to learn that the past is in the past, and it will only define your future chance of success if you allow it to. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve failed, where you’ve come from or what negative things you’ve experienced or done in the past.

Your past doesn’t hold the keys to your future success. The Colonel failed at every career he ever attempted. He even spent much of his life in an unhappy marriage, ending in divorce and had to provide for three children by the time he was nineteen. For most, that’d be enough for them to settle down into an unfulfilling career, but the Colonel pressed on with faith in his own abilities and principles. 

4. Giving up is the Only Sure Way to Fail

You can fail at a lot of things in life, but the KFC story proves that giving up is the only sure way to fail. If you’re some like the Colonel, no matter how many times you fail, the possibility of success is still always on the table. You’re not a failure until you finally stop trying. So don’t give up. Even if time is passing, you’re slowly getting older and you still can’t quite see the end of the tunnel. It’s never impossible to achieve success.

5. Ready to take risk.

It’s no great shock to learn that following your heart’s desire is often the key to success, happiness and contentment. How is it then, that so many of us won’t chase after what we truly want from life? Sitting back and relaxing into your comfort zone means that many of us don’t realise how vital passion and desire really are.

In the end, the pursuit of a passion will make anyone happy, contented and prosperous. It’s no great shock to learn that following your heart’s desire is often the key to success, happiness and contentment. How is it then, that so many of us won’t chase after what we truly want from life? Sitting back and relaxing into your comfort zone means that many of us don’t realise how vital passion and desire really are. In the end, the pursuit of a passion will make anyone happy, contented and prosperous. 

6. Make a fresh start.

It clear to us now that cooking was a passion of the Colonel’s, but he didn’t discover his enthusiasm until much later in his life. It’s only through having the courage to fail and start over, again and again, that he was able to discover his real calling. 

When you try to succeed at multiple disciplines, it’s a sure-fire way to burn yourself out. The start is always the hard part, and for most, the idea of doing it over and over again, in their 50s, 60s and 70s would be absolutely exhausting. The energy and passion that the Colonel showed by doing this well into his seventies is an inspiring lesson to any entrepreneur. 

7. Success doesn’t come overnight

Things never got any easier even after he found his fervour for cooking. His pole star was set, but it was still a long path to go, filled with thorns to prick and potholes to make him falter. When he went around selling his chicken, people mocked him for his attire of white shirts and white pants, but Sanders seemed to be immune to those discouragements. Finally, at the age of 74, Sanders sold KFC for $2 million to a group of investors. There’s nothing like an overnight success story. Every entrepreneur should be willing to take risks and sport the will to see a project to its completion, in order to reach success.

8.  Being innovative

If everyone goes right, go left! Being unique and coming up with innovative solutions to solve problems efficiently is what sets most successful entrepreneurs apart. Colonel Sanders originally prepared his chicken in an iron skillet but soon realised that it wasn’t efficient in a restaurant setting. Determined to reduce the waiting time of customers, Sanders adopted the usage of pressure fryer and modified his cooking procedure. In today’s world, with numerous competitors in each business, mainstream solutions are going obsolete, with problems becoming more complex on a daily basis. The only way to gain an edge over your opponents is to try out something different.

9. Learn from your own mistakes.

Growing through a misery-laden childhood, life never really took it easy on Sanders. Switching jobs since the age of seven, when he started work on a farm, Sanders never had much success with his professions. In fact, Sanders was terrible at making decisions and used to make unwise business gambles. Even the secret recipe that he first developed for cooking chicken wasn’t a straight road to success. Legend has it that his idea for making chicken was turned down 1,009 times before he got a thumbs up from Pete Harman of Utah, his eventual partner at KFC. It’s no different with any individual.

With failure lurking around every corner, each entrepreneur goes through a lot of rough patches in his/her career. These are times when you will doubt yourself, your decisions, and the path you’re currently heading down, but it is just a matter of patience and self-belief. The best way to sail through such times is to learn from your own mistakes instead of mulling over them.

10. Don’t be Afraid to Start Small.

Sanders started selling Kentucky Fried Chicken by the side of the road, on a small scale. After selling the recipe, it vastly grew, and franchises were being opened all over the world.

The lesson here is not to be afraid to start small. As long as you get started, and work hard, progression will come.

People often put off starting their own business, website, and such, simply because they don’t think it’s at a big enough scale to launch.


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