The extraordinary life of WWII veteran and Olympian Louis “Louie” Zamperini is the perfect example of how not to give up when the odds don’t favor you. Perhaps you wonder what this U.S. war-hero has to do with entrepreneurship? Everything! Louis Zamperini survived 47 days after a nearly fatal crash in the Pacific Ocean, was rescued, imprisoned and terrorized by the Japanese, and still managed to win the Olympics and live by the age of 97. In 2014, his incredible life was portrayed in the movie “Unbroken”.
If you can take it, you can make it!
Any entrepreneur knows that success is not the result of some innate skills. These skills come with time and are generated by one’s experiences. As a child, Zamperini was disadvantaged in many ways. He didn’t spoke English, he was often bullied and used to get into a lot of trouble. However, he trained hard to become a runner and eventually win at the Olympics. He was able to embrace the challenges and hardships life put in front of him.
There comes a time when you have to take the bigger risks
Having an easy existence makes you average, but challenging yourself in taking greater risks makes you successful. Taking calculated risks helps you achieve the courage and skills needed to gain confidence in yourself. Therefore, you will be more persuaded to take higher risks and achieve greater rewards in the future. Zamperini understood that he needed to take the necessary risks to survive the war and to make it to the Olympics, although they sometimes led him to failure.
If your failures define you, you’ve lost the game
Failure is part of the entrepreneurial path. It’s inevitable. However, if you give up and let your failures control you, then you’re a lost cause. Louis Zamperini was not actually a model when he was young. He used to get into fights, to steal, to drink a lot and to misbehave in many ways. He was a failure in every way. However, with the right support and self-determination he improved and managed to achieve significant results.
The right mentorship is a major factor which leads to success
Determination is not always enough. Finding the right supportive environment and mentoring others will give birth to the best results. Surrounding yourself with people that believe in you and keep you on track will get you far. Zamperini would’ve never reached the Olympics if his parents didn’t give up on him, or if his brother and his school coach hadn’t been there by his side. Even in the prisoner camp he would raise the morale of his colleagues.
Don’t give up, don’t give in. Ever!
The most important message, Louis Zamperini sends, is never to give up. He even sends this message in his book “Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In: Lessons of an Extraordinary Life”, where he portrayed the obstacles that life put in front of him, how he overcame them and how he reached success. If there is anyone entrepreneurs can take as an example, then that is Louis Zamperini!