J. C. Penney On Persistence

Bro. James Cash Penney

"The greatest teacher I know, is the job itself."

~J. C. Penney
Wasatch Lodge No. 1, Utah

Americans have always been driven by success, but sometimes we forget that we often learn more through a failure than we do by an easy win.  One thing I've learned through my research into Famous American Freemasons, is that those most successful among us suffered horrific misadventures along life's path.  It was through those epic fails that they learned important lessons, and through those errors in judgement, they gained the wisdom to go forward.  It's seldom the first try that leads to a win, it's usually through persistence and a stubborn refusal to let a defeat define us, that we are able to move ahead.  Those who have never failed, have never tried very hard.  

So when life tosses you a curve ball, and you're sitting there wondering how you could have been so stupid, just ask yourself one question--what did I learn?



  1. I live about 20 miles from Penney's boyhood home, and wrote an article about him a few years ago. I learned he was truly one of those people who made it big after a meager start in life (the average 2-car garage is bigger than his first home) - but never forgot his roots. He thought the opening of his 500th store was a big deal, and he waited until he reached that milestone, then opened it in his hometown, Hamilton, MO.

    Steve Harrison

  2. Hey Steve, I'd be interested in seeing that article. J. C. Penney is on my list for the last book in the Famous American Freemasons series.

  3. Some of you may already know this but I've come across a Freemason book "Morals and Dogmas" (on ebay...) that has been signed by J. C. Penney as a K.C.C.H. 32nd.


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