In 1927, Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs, more than anyone had in the history of major league baseball, and more than anyone else would for another 34 years. He also set another record that year: He struck out more times than anyone had in the history of major league baseball. The truth is, if you want to hit home runs, you must be willing to strike out. There is no way around this simple lesson of life.

Sir Winston Churchill took three years getting through eighth grade because he had trouble learning English grammar and composition. It seems ironic that years later Oxford University asked him to address its commencement exercises. He arrived with his usual props — a cigar, a cane and a top hat.

As Churchill approached the podium, the crowd arose in appreciative applause. With unmatched dignity, he settled the crowd and stood confidently before his admirers. Removing the cigar and carefully placing the top hat on the podium, Churchill gazed at his waiting audience. Authority rang in Churchill’s voice as he shouted, “Never give up!” Several seconds passed before he rose to his toes and repeated: “Never give up!” His words thundered in their ears.

There was a deafening silence as Churchill reached for his hat and cigar, steadied himself with his cane and left the platform. His commencement address was finished.

The Speaker’s Sourcebook II

Suppose Columbus had not sailed. Suppose Anne Sullivan had gotten discouraged and lost hope for Helen Keller. Suppose Louis Pasteur, searching for a cure for rabies, had not said to his weary helpers: “Keep on! The important thing is not to leave the subject!”

Many a race is lost at the last lap. Many a ship is washed up on the reefs outside the final port. Many a battle is lost on the last charge.

What hope have we of completing the course on which we have embarked? God is our hope. He will enable us to follow the course He has set us on. Jesus is able to save to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25).

But He cannot help us if we are running away. We must be willing to stand somewhere and trust Him. He has reinforcements to send, but there must be somebody there to meet them when they come.

Adapted from Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles Cowman

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must — but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow —
You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out —
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt —
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit —
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

Frank Stanton

In Praise of People Who Didn’t Quit, Copyright © 1998-2012, The Family International