Perseverance always pays – Time and age no bar…

Sometimes one single moment is enough to change the course of your life; and sometimes the whole life of failures and learning are not enough to get that elusive magic moment in your fold. Do remember that perseverance always pays.

Its easier to quit and walk away; the reasons are plenty to turn your back or face the challenges head on – the choice is always yours.

Here’s an amazing story of a man who started his life at the stage when people give up and have nothing to look forward. Its amazing to know this man who deceived the age and make the mockery of every challenge he faced. Despite of failures, he carried on and learnt valuable lessons from his life; giving the world a place to enjoy and relish. He proved beyond doubt that…. Perseverance always pays… Time and Age is no bar…

A boy named Harland was born in Henry-ville, Ind. US, in lower middle class family in 1890. His father was a farmer turned butcher, and mother a homemaker. His life was going to throw extreme adversities to him in the years to come.

At the tender age of six, his father died; and his mother was forced to work, leaving the care of his two siblings to him, including cooking the food for them. Within an year he mastered many regional dishes and he loved to experiment with recipes and enjoyed cooking.

The family pressure forced him to drop out of the school while he was in grade six. Mother married a farmer, who always had strained terms with Harland.

Over the next 30 years, Harland donned different hats in the growing workforce of US of that time. He worked as farmhand till he was 15; then worked as a streetcar conductor in New Albany, Indiana. He joined army in 1906 and served for one year in Cuba as mule-tender.

For the next 23 years he tried his hands on various jobs, but couldn’t get the elusive success. His life seemed to be a bunch of work disasters. He sold insurance policies, started a steamboat ferry company which made losses, worked as secretary of Columbus chambers of commerce, launched a company for manufacturing natural gas lamps which busted soon after electrification project by US govt.

He earned law degree through correspondence and practiced law for some time. His practice ended abruptly when he punched a client in the courtroom. Till the age of 40 he also tried to be amateur obstetrician, political candidate, tire salesman; but every venture turned out to be an utter failure.

Over the years, going by his strong will of being positive in every adversity, he took everything into his stride and hold onto his patience and persevered. God only knew where his destiny would take him.

In 1929, at the age of 40, Harland moved to a small town Corbin and opened a gas station along US route 25. He sensed the opportunity to open a restaurant for tourists and other travelers who used to stop by for filling gas in their vehicles. His restaurant became popular. He expanded it, as its popularity soared in 1930’s. He tried to en-cash the popularity by opening restaurants at two other locations, but going by his fate, they were big failures.

He kept on experimenting with ingredients of his dishes. Chicken being his forte, he even signed agreements for franchise with some of the restaurant owners in early 1950’s. He would ship them his seasoning, secretly made of 11 herbs and spices, if they pay him 5 cents for every chicken cooked with it.

Everything seemed perfect when cruel destiny struck again. In 1956, US government planned to build a new highway, bypassing Corbin, the home of his famous restaurant. Property rates plummeted. He had to sell his property to pay his debts.

At the age of 66, he was a shattered man, bruised again by the sudden turn of events. He was living off his monthly social security check of $105 and some savings.

Many of us give up in such circumstances. Very few have the energy and mettle to start all over again from scratch. But, that man had in him. He took his 1946 Ford and traveled throughout US, meeting restaurant owners, trying to sell them Franchise idea in 1956. Reputed restaurants blatantly turned him down, but many of the smaller restaurants showed interest and agreed to the franchise formula.

Right through early 1950’s when he started pursuing franchise model, it is said that, he was refused by first 1018 restaurants whom he approached. It was 1019th prospect who agreed to the franchise formula, after 1018 calls went in vain. That is real perseverance. The determination was going to pay Sanders, 66 years young fighter.

By 1964 he had more than 600 franchisee. He sold his business for $2bn to group of investors in the same year. The determination and perseverance finally paid.

The organization was “Kentucky Fried Chicken”; and the person with unmatchable grit was Colonel Harland Sanders, the familiar face on the boards of KFC outlets. The name “Kentucky Fried Chicken” was given by his first franchise, Utah restaurant owner, Pete Harman. It later changed to KFC by its new owners.

Harland Sanders became colonel Harland Sanders when he was given honorary title of Kentucky colonel by Governor Ruby Laffoon in 1936 for his contributions. He was recommissioned as a Kentucky Colonel in 1950 by Governor Lawrence Wetherby. After that he developed his typical look which he used for promoting KFC brand worldwide. Today also colonel is the forefront image and logo of KFC.

KFC changed many hands since than from R.J. Reynolds (1971) to Pepsico (1986), and finally to Yum Brands (1997) who are the current owner of KFC .

Today KFC has more than 18,000 outlets in over 120 countries and growing exponentially; the result of fervent passion and perseverance of 66 years young man, who worked relentlessly till he died at the age of 90 in 1980.

Next time you enter KFC outlet, don’t forget to remember the invaluable lesson from the staunch belief of colonel… Perseverance always pays…. It sometimes demands more learning in terms of failures and test your patience.

….The KFC will taste better than that you had last time…….

Article Courtesy:

Hardeep Handa

Hardeep Handa

I am a seasoned marketing professional. I am ardent reader and avid writer. Management and technology equally excite me. I write regularly in my blog and

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