Famous Failures – Milton Hershey

Who knew a candy bar could lead to a success story?

Hershey chocolate has become a staple in countless people’s diet. Whether you are a person who loves the straight-up Hershey bar or are more of a Kit Kat or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup sort of person, there’s something on today’s market for every chocolate lover. Many of us can’t imagine life without chocolate, although only 150 years ago, only the rich could enjoy the delicious confection.

Chocolate had been around for centuries. But candy was something made by hand, taking a lot of time and effort to create which made it too expensive for most. Thankfully some people saw it didn’t have to be that way.

Meet Milton Hershey.

Hershey was the sort of guy who loved dessert. He also had a knack for sniffing out business opportunities. Unfortunately, most of his ideas didn’t work out very well. In fact, if it hadn’t been for relatives loaning him money – along with a good bit of luck coming his way – his caramel business would have died out in the 1880s.

Finally enjoying modest success, Hershey continued to keep an eye out for opportunity. He found a massive one in 1893.

Hershey noticed few were paying attention to a contraption at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. A German chocolatier had a machine which could produce chocolate much more simply than current methods, with a lot less work. Although his field wasn’t chocolate, but caramel, Hershey knew a good idea when he saw one. He purchased the machine to adapt to his own work, thinking chocolate-covered caramels might be a good idea.

That didn’t work out exactly as he planned. What did, though, was making chocolate bars. Those candy bars took the world by storm. So much so, Hershey was approached in 1937 to come up with a bar that wouldn’t melt easily but could add nutrition to supplement soldiers’ diets overseas. As a result, during WWII, Hershey was making 24 million bars a week for the military!

After the war, Hershey’s success was secured. He branched out into other kinds of chocolate bars, continually trying new things and expanding production until Hershey’s became the successful company we know today.

Hershey might have been a failure initially, but he had a lot of drive and determination. When something didn’t work, he left behind, pursuing instead what did work. When he was approached to try something new, he immediately rose to the challenge. He asked, ‘how can I do this’ instead of focusing on ‘I’ve never done this before.’

To succeed in today’s world, you need the persistence of people like Milton Hershey. You should never turn your back on a lucky break. Most of all, you shouldn’t forget to embrace the sweet things in life. You’ll be amazed where they might take you!

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