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James Dyson: How Persistence Leads to Success

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Most people don't reach their goals because they give up too easily. If you've been trying to achieve a goal for a while and haven't met with success, chances are you'll stop pursuing it. The difference between people who accomplish their goals and those who don't is that they keep at it!

James Dyson is one of those people. He believed in his vacuum cleaner and was committed to making it successful. James Dyson was too determined to take "no" for an answer.


James had a knack for mechanical things and while using a vacuum cleaner at home in 1978, he noticed that the cleaner lost suction when the bag was only partially filled. James was annoyed because he had spent a lot of money on what was supposed to be the most powerful vacuum cleaner (Hoover) ever produced.

After giving it much thought, Dyson latched on to the concept of the cyclone, a cone that would spin dust out of the air. He created a model using his old Hoover vacuum as a starting point.

The product development process was grueling. He created over 5,000 prototypes in three years, trying to perfect the product. During this time, he used up the money he had borrowed and his home mortgage grew steadily bigger. He needed to finally make some money from his invention, and tried to license it to manufacturers.

He approached a litany of potential customers - Hotpoint, Shopvac, Black & Decker, and Hamilton Beach - all with the same negative result. They all said "no". One cause for these turn downs was that these companies made a lot of money selling bags and the Dyson Vacuum didn't use bags.

Universal feedback was that there was no market for this product. James Dyson knew otherwise. He continued his efforts to find a company that would license his product. Finally, a Japanese Company, Apex, liked the concept and it was introduced in Japan in 1986.

In 2002 Dyson introduced his top-selling vacuum products to the United States and met with immediate success. It had taken James Dyson 15 years and more than 5,000 prototypes to launch his revolutionary vacuum cleaner.

The essence of James Dyson is summed up in these words:

"The most I can hope for, that my own story, the non-secret of my success, will inspire other people to go out and make things... and keep hold of their dreams."

When you're tackling a difficult goal, think about James Dyson and his unwavering belief in his dream. Keep your goal in the forefront of your mind and don't take "no" for an answer. Reaching any goal entails overcoming obstacles. Every goal, no matter how daunting, will be attainable if you just keep working at it, doing the right things at the right time.

Fred & Gladys
Whelan Stone
Executive Search and Coaching
Authors of GOAL! Your 30 Day Career Plan for Business & Career Success