Henry Ford was a man who refused to be held back by the naysayers and the status quo.
In 1891, at just 28 years old, Ford began working as an engineer at The Edison Company.
But while he spent his days clocking in at a regular job, his nights and weekends were devoted to something much less conventional: experimenting with gasoline engines and automobiles.
Despite the many naysayers who believed that the automobile was nothing more than a "freak notion" that would never be more than a plaything for the wealthy, Ford remained undaunted in his pursuit.
In fact, when The Edison Company offered him a promotion on the condition that he give up his work on gas engines, Ford knew exactly what he had to do.
He chose the automobile, leaving his job behind and diving headfirst into the industry on August 15, 1899.
It sounds obvious in retrospect, but when automobiles first reached the masses, people hated them. They were still getting used to bicycles.
When bicycles first became popular, people were worried it would cause an epidemic of promiscuity in young women who could suddenly move about unsupervised.
Then the automobile hit the scene, and some towns made laws that you had to pull over and disassemble the car if you saw a horse approaching, in case the horse got scared and caused an accident.
Henry Ford knew that progress often requires stepping outside of your comfort zone and embracing the unknown.
When people talk about the history of cars, they usually start with Ford’s Model T, released in 1908. They don’t mention that there were already 8,000 cars on the road by 1900.
But they start with the Model T because it revolutionised automobile perception and production. The Model T is the reason Americans owned 470,000 cars by 1910.
There’s an obvious counterpoint to all stories like this: survivorship bias.
People will tell you about Henry Ford quitting his job, or Bill Gates dropping out of Harvard, but neglect to mention all the other dropouts who got washed up on the rocks.
Here’s the thing.
Survivorship, in itself, is biased. It’s biased towards those who stay the course.
Hardship is universal.
Perseverance is not.
You can only control one of those two things.