A short inspirational story might be what you need to find some much-needed encouragement.
Did your beat-up car break down again? Are you in a deep pit of despair? Are you looking to learn a very important lesson about life? Then you need to hear wonderful stories about perseverance and dedication.
Everyone loves inspiring stories because they help put things into perspective. They teach us valuable lessons that would have gone unnoticed. And sometimes, we just want to hear funny inspirational stories.
Now, we’ve all heard our fair share of inspirational stories. Some of them are purely fictional. But there are short stories about life—such as the one we’re featuring today—that are based on actual events.
Of all the real-life motivational stories out there, the one that stands out the most is the story of Colonel Harland David Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The Awesome Story of Colonel Sanders
Harland David Sanders had a rough childhood. He started working at a very young age. And things didn’t look any better as he entered adulthood. Honestly, Sanders did not find success until later in life.
Here’s the life story of Colonel Sanders.
The Boy Gradually Began to Learn About Life
Sanders had a difficult life as a young boy. After losing his job as a farmer because of a leg injury, Colonel Sander’s father decided to work as a butcher. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before his dad passed away — leaving Sanders in the care of his strict mother.
Because Sander’s mom had to work in a tomato cannery, he ended up taking care of his siblings. His tasks included foraging for food and preparing it. Over time, he became proficient in food preparation. By the age of 10, he began to work as a farmhand.
Soon after, his mother got remarried and moved the family from Henryville, Indiana to Greenwood, Indiana. Sanders had a problematic relationship with his stepfather though. He ended up dropping out of school at age 12 to work full-time at a nearby farm.
Having Only a Small Rope to Hang His Hopes With
At age 13, he completely left his home to work as a carriage painter in Indianapolis. A year later, he took off yet again to work as a farmhand in Southern Indiana.
Sanders worked other jobs until he was 16. He then enlisted in the United States Army by falsifying his records to show that he was older than he really was. He completed his service and was even awarded the Cuban Pacification Medal. Sanders was honorably discharged one year after signing up.
He moved to Sheffield, Alabama with his brother to work for the Southern Railway as a blacksmith’s helper. That lasted 2 months. He moved to Jasper, Alabama to work as an ash pan cleaner.
By the time he was 19, Sanders was working for the Norfolk and Western Railway. This is when he met his wife, Josephine King. They were married and would go on to have three kids.
Sanders would continue to work different jobs but studied law by night through correspondence with the La Salle Extension University. He would go on to become a practicing lawyer for three years. But he would later lose his job after brawling with his client because of his very bad temper.
Because of this incident, Sanders developed a reputation as a hothead without self-control.
A Wise Man With All the Bad Luck in the World
After a failed stint as a lawyer, he moved back home with his mother and worked as a laborer for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Sometime after, he moved to Jeffersonville to sell life insurance for the Prudential Life Company. He was later fired for insubordination.
He was 30 years old when he found some luck after establishing a ferry boat company and became a small business owner. He got funding for the venture himself and became a minority shareholder of the company. The ferry was a success attracting young children and adults alike. But he eventually sold his shares to start a manufacturing company that specialized in acetylene lamps.
What he didn’t know at the time was that electric lamps were on their way. And after it hit the market, his company folded.
Sanders then moved to Kentucky and became a Michellin Tire salesman. However, he lost his job anew when Michellin closed down one of its plants. He found employment as a general manager for Standard Oil of Kentucky but after one year, the station he was managing ceased operations because of the Great Depression.
The Shop Owner Smiled: Entering The Chicken Business
Anyone who had Sander’s string of bad luck would have given up by this point. But not him.
He kept on pursuing his dreams.
It was in 1930 when the Shell Oil Company offered Sanders to run one of its service stations in Kentucky. He didn’t have to pay any rent but he was asked to give the company a percentage of his sales. Sanders agreed.
To make more money, Sanders served chicken dishes alongside other meals like steak and country ham. His regulars loved it — and soon, he was able to open up a restaurant.
But Sanders had rivals in the area. And business got so intense that one of his competitors ended up in jail after shooting one of Shell’s employees.
After his rival got convicted, however, things began to pick up. Business was so good that the governor of Kentucky at the time, Ruby Laffoon, commissioned him as a Kentucky colonel in 1935.
The shop owner from Kentucky finally had a reason to smile.
Sanders continued building new businesses for the next couple of years. He bought and managed motels while silently working on a secret chicken recipe that not only made his product more delicious but also cook them faster than pan-frying.
By 1940, he was 50 years old and was managing a motel with a 140-seater restaurant.
But then World War 2 happened. Soon after, tourism began to dry up which forced him to close down the motel. To make up for the loss, he ran a cafeteria for the government.
His marriage also suffered. He divorced his wife but then got remarried to his mistress.
The Boy Pulled It Off: The Birth of KFC
By 1952, Sanders was still in need of a business that could help him generate some income. So he went back to the thing he knows he does best — selling chicken. Americans eat chicken all the time, after all.
He franchised his Kentucky fried chicken recipe to Pete Harman from Salt Lake, Utah who operated one of the biggest restaurants in the area. The chicken recipe helped increase sales by 75% in the first year of selling. Other restaurants were knocking on Sanders’ doors hoping to get a piece of the action. Sanders franchised the recipe and got $0.04 per chicken sold.
Everything was going well but Sanders’ restaurant along Interstate 75 had to be closed because of reduced traffic.
Now 65 years old, Sanders knew that he had to go all-in on the chicken franchising concept. At this point, he only had $105 to his name.
And so he traveled all over the United States looking for restaurants that might be interested in franchising his recipe. He’ll come in, cook his chicken, and feed it to the workers. He hoped that if they liked his chicken, they’ll be able to talk about franchising rights. He would sleep in the back of his car on most nights.
Some claim that it took Sanders 1,009 tries before finally landing his first official franchisee.
It wasn’t long after that when potential investors were visiting Sanders instead and his new venture would come to be known as Kentucky Fried Chicken.
KFC had a rapid expansion that included countries like Canada, the UK, and Australia. But at 73, Sanders was unable to keep up with the operations. So he sold his corporation for $2 million which was a big amount at the time.
Sanders remained the company’s official ambassador which is a paid position. He also retained franchising rights for international locations.
Sanders passed away in 1980 at the age of 90.
You’ll find a lot of inspirational stories on the internet. But these inspirational short stories are usually fiction. That could be the reason why Colonel Sanders’ story resonates more with people.
Those inspirational short stories are nothing when you compare them to the real-life troubles the Colonel had to overcome.
So what can we learn from Colonel Sanders?
Finding Success Can Take a While
What some short inspirational stories fail to mention is that finding success can take a while. Sanders didn’t make it until he was in his twilight years. What’s important is that he never lost his passion.
Even after losing his job and failing as a shop owner multiple times, he continued to pursue his dreams.
You Can Break Free From Misfortunes
Bad luck doesn’t last forever. Colonel Sanders’ inspiring story showed that he struggled with it his whole life. But that’s an extreme example. If you’re experiencing misfortune, know that it will come to pass. It could take a day or maybe it’ll get better in the next few weeks. But it will all come to an end.
And the very moment that you see your misfortunes take a turn for the better, you’ll need to make the most of it in the same way most people do in inspiring short stories.
Don’t Be Afraid to Push Yourself to Your Limit
One thing is clear from reading all these very nice stories: A determined person wants to take control of his or her own life. Everyone wants to control their destiny.
Sanders always pushed himself ever since he was a little boy to achieve his goals. He wasn’t afraid of hard work. He treated every business he had like a do-it-yourself project.
All the stories about him show that he faced the same adversity over and over. But he never gave up. You should have the same attitude.