Successful people who failed. That’s the title of this blog post and what we’re going to explore today. We all know that some people, before their success, experienced epic failure. What I want to highlight is how often these failures were a part of building a successful foundation for them in the future. If you have ever felt like giving up on something because it didn’t work out right away, please read this article!
It is not uncommon for successful people to experience epic failure before their success. We sometimes forget that they also had a difficult journey, marked by failures and learning curves in the process of getting there.
A great quote from American Writer Elbert Hubbard says: “There’s no such thing as defeat unless you quit.” It’s true! So get motivated like these 15 highly successful people who failed (for a couple of times) before being recognized with glorious success at last.
If you’re feeling down today because your dream didn’t come through or something went wrong on an important assignment — don’t give up just yet; remember it could be worse, others have gone through this too so take heart and keep trying!
Successful People Who Failed
1. Walt Disney
Walt Disney wanted to be like the newspaper men he read about in his youth. But when Walt was fired from The Kansas City Star during their financial woes, it seemed that life would not give him a break and keep throwing obstacle after obstacle at him. However, he didn’t take this as an opportunity for pitying himself or just giving up on what is most important to him — art.
Walt started his first animation company in Kansas City and made a deal with the distribution company that he would ship them his cartoons from New York. They agreed to pay him six months later!
When he couldn’t pay his rent and was forced to live off of dog food, it seemed like the end for this great animator. But thankfully, he didn’t give up. Later on, after winning 59 Academy Award nominations under his belt and many famous works such as The Lion King on top of that list, we know who reigns in animation!
2. Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg is arguably the most successful director in recent history. He and his father moved to Los Angeles after his parents’ divorce where he was rejected from USC film school for poor grades, instead of attending Cal State at Long Beach while working as an intern on Disney productions.
Born 1946 in Cincinnati Ohio, Steven Spielberg’s career has spanned over four decades with some of the biggest hits such as “E.T.”, Raiders of The Lost Ark,” Jaws”, and Jurassic Park”. After a brief stay during high school living with cousins near Chicago Illinois due to family problems back home (his parent divorced), Spielberg had always wanted something more than what life could give him there so they decided it best that he move out West.
After releasing a film that flopped, entitled 1941 in 1979, Steven Spielberg experienced the loss of some notoriety. Although his latest effort was not an economic failure; it did result in critical failures which led to him losing some fame at the time. But ultimately he refused to give up and continued on with success! Because of this, we’ve had incredible blockbusters such as Schindler’s List (1993), The Color Purple (1985) A.I Artificial Intelligence (2001).
3. Stephen King
After a string of failures, Stephen King was all but ready to give up on his hopes and dreams for becoming published. But then he got an idea that would change the face of horror books forever–the car accident scene in “Carrie.” He submitted it as part of a short story competition with no intention at first; but when they called him back without explanation, he knew something had clicked!
King loved writing so much that he worked endlessly so that his works are published. He continuously got rejected by publishers in an effort for them not to see the nail supporting all of these letters because it could no longer bear their weight! King eventually replaced a single nail with a spike and continued hanging rejection letters after denial from publications on this wall.
After graduating from the University of Maine, at 23-years old with a teaching degree in hand, he was unable to find any work. Instead, he found himself working for laundry service while his wife went off and worked full time as an employee at Dunkin’ Donuts. In his spare time away from chores though that wasn’t scarce enough already -he wrote short stories.
After King secured a teaching job in 1973, he continued to write when an idea came. When the idea for his first book about Carrie with telekinetic powers surfaced, it was originally going to be published as a short story in Playboy Magazine. But after beginning writing and realizing how long the novel needed to be, he opted out of that plan and started working on another one like Salem’s Lot instead which would suit better for publication initially before eventually being turned into something greater than any mere magazine article could ever hope to achieve.
After being frustrated with the story, he crumpled it up and threw it into the garbage. However, his wife retrieved it telling him to continue working on it and finish. Upon completion of 30 publishers rejecting essays about post-war America, only the Doubleday publishing company said yes for a $2,500 advance on royalties not even thinking that they would get much profit from this one book because no other publisher wanted to publish such work by an unknown author. After two years had passed when Richard Yates received another call saying that Doubleday managed finally have sold off all their copies at sixty cents each so 2 million dollars was due in royalty payment – something most authors can only dream of!
4. Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein is one of the most famous people to ever walk on earth, and his intelligence has become synonymous with genius. But it wasn’t always that way for him. As a child he didn’t start speaking until he was four years old, reading until seven years old, and many thought him mentally handicapped because of this delay in development.
He went on to win Nobel prizes while altering how we approach physics today–so much so that if you ask physicists about Albert Einstein they’ll tell you what an amazing thinker he was! I guess all those first few years were just spent thinking up some good ideas.
5. J.K. Rowling
The author of the hugely successful Harry Potter series has had anything but a smooth ride. By the time she was finishing up her first book in this beloved series, JK Rowling’s life seemed to be going nowhere fast: divorced with one child and on welfare support. Twelve publishers rejected The Philosopher’s Stone before Bloomsbury agreed to publish it – for only £1500! Now that seems like small change when you consider that while they were turning down HP1, over 350 million copies have been sold worldwide since 1997 – not including DVDs or merchandise sales.
6. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah is a woman of many talents. She was born into working-class poverty, the daughter of a teenaged low-income mother, and pregnant at fourteen (her son died shortly after birth). Even though she scored her first job in journalism things weren’t always easy. One early TV gig ended abruptly when the producer declared that Oprah “unfit for television.”
Regardless of what other people thought about her abilities, this ultimate winner quickly moved on to break barriers with the talk show “The Oprah Winfrey Show” which ran from 1985-2011—the longest-running daytime program ever aired by an African American woman!
7. Michael Jordan
Jordan famously said: “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I’ve been entrusted to take the game-winning shot and I failed over and over again.” This is why he’s considered one of the greatest basketball players ever- because Jordan learned from his mistakes instead of getting upset about them like so many other athletes do today.
8. Bill Gates
Bill Gates, one of the world’s most famous billionaires and founder of Microsoft Corporation struggled to find a niche early on. He started Traf-O-Data with two other entrepreneurs which created reports for roadway engineers from raw traffic data but when they tried to present their machine that processed all the information it failed miserably when presented to Seattle County Traffic Employee before its success generated some income by creating an improvement in those commute times.
Bill Gates was known as one of the wealthiest men in America who founded software giant Microsoft Corp., yet he had trouble finding his niche until founding “Traf-o Data.” This company helped create reports for roadways engineering from raw traffic data, achieving modest levels of success.
This didn’t stop Bill, and the lessons he learned from the traffic data company helped him found one of the world’s biggest companies.
9. Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley was the king of rock ‘n’ roll, but it all started with a few rejections. Elvis walked into Sun Records in 1953 to try and make his mark by recording demo discs only for each one to be unsuccessful. He tried again in 1954 and recorded another disc that failed as well; this time he made an appeal to join the vocalist quartet called The Songfellows which also didn’t work out when they told him “he couldn’t sing.” It seemed like nothing could break the slump until, after meeting guitarist Scotty Moore at Radio Recorders studio on July 5th 1955 where they jammed together during their lunch hour (which would eventually lead them both onto becoming members of “The Million Dollar Quartet”).]
When he was so frustrated that his singing career wasn’t taking off, Elvis Presley found a new job as a truck driver. But through an old friend named Ronnie Smith, Presley met Eddie Bond who led Smith’s professional band and they were looking for someone to sing in the group! With no success until months later when Presley randomly launched into “That’s All Right,” Arthur Crudup’s 1946 blues number which had been recorded by Bill Black on guitar and Scotty Moore on electric bass back in Memphis with Sam Phillips’ studio equipment. That got DJ Dewey Philip’s attention at radio station WHBQ (the Wolfman Jack show) and the rest is history – we all know what happened next!
10. Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was an interesting fellow. He did the unique feat of going to war as a captain and coming back just a private (the lowest rank). Undeterred, he marched on into politics where he launched several failed runs at the political office before his ascendance to the president which is something no one has ever done!
Lincoln’s failures were broad and numerous. He achieved the unique feat of leaving for war as Captain and returning only Private (lowest military rank), undeterred, Lincoln marched into politics with multiple unsuccessful campaigns running up until finally winning President -something never accomplished by anyone else in history.