At First She Didn’t Succeed, but She Tried and Tried Again (960 Times)

Just in from the New York Times…

Have you heard of, Grandma Cha, a 69 year-old woman who lives alone in a mountain ringed village in South Korea?

Well, today she is an unlikely national celebrity in her country.

“This diminutive woman, now known nationwide as “Grandma Cha Sa-soon,” has achieved a record that causes people here to first shake their heads with astonishment and then smile: She failed her driver’s test hundreds of times but never gave up. Finally, she got her license — on her 960th try.

For three years starting in April 2005, she took the test once a day five days a week. After that, her pace slowed, to about twice a week. But she never quit” See here.(PDF here in case.)


“It was only last November, on her 950th try, that she achieved a passing grade… She then passed two driving skill and road tests, but only after failing each four times. For each of her 960 tests, she had to pay $5 in application fees.

“I didn’t mind,” said Ms. Cha. “To me, commuting every day to take the test was like going to school. I always missed school.”

Going the distance is all about attitude, seems. In Grandma Cha’s case, she had no big expectations. She happened to enjoy and respect the process. Steve Jobs, on the other hand, pictured himself as someone who thought different, and who was consumed with a passion to make gadgets that would make a dent in the universe.

Both have succeeded.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Hi Kim,

    This is an awesome post about perseverance. Kudos to Grandma Cha!

    Most people quit just before they would have a breakthrough. If they would only realize how close they are.

    If at first you don't succeed, try again … and if it takes you 960 times. After all, what have you got to lose.

    Loved it!!


  • What an inspiration! Grandma Cha wanted the licence so she could drive her grandchildren to the zoo – what a wonderful example of the WHY in NM…thanks Kim for this posting.

  • Hi Anon — yep someone doing NM for 'more money' by itself seems to be the best predictor of failure in the business.

    Visiting grandchildren or driving them to the zoo has staying power that money alone can never have.

    Don't we know it by the 95% drop out rates, huh?

    Most of those folks just came in because someone told them it would be quick (and easy) money.


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