Growth · inspirational · Uncategorized

Successful people who failed the first (and fourth and seventh) time

it's never too lateFew are born with achievement awards hanging on their walls.  Success has to start from zero, a lonely but white-washed place where nothing’s been achieved and nothing’s been earned.  And most of us have to “trial-and-error” life to figure out where we are, never mind where we want to go.  Success doesn’t come naturally.

And then there are people like Henry Ford and Bill Gates. people who were born with cars and computers and competence and capability flowing through their veins… from the start they were built to succeed, right?  Surprisingly no.  Both men failed before they succeeded.

Here’s a list of people who had to weather failure to reach success.

Henry Ford. His early businesses failed and left him broke five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.

Bill Gates. Gates dropped out of Harvard and started a business called Traf-O-Data, which eventually failed.

Maker of Kentucky Fried Chicken, HD Sanders. Sanders had a hard time selling his chicken at first. His famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it.

Walt Disney. Walt Disney had a rough start: he was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” A number of businesses he started ended in bankruptcy and failure.

Albert Einstein. Einstein did not speak until he was four, causing his teachers and parents to think he was mentally handicapped, slow, and anti-social. Later he failed many classes and was expelled from school — and even denied admission to the Zurich Polytechnic School.

Charles Darwin. Darwin was often chastised by his father for being lazy, ordinary, and unsuccessful, especially after he gave up on his medical career.  His scientific discoveries were ridiculed by his peers.

Isaac Newton. Newton didn’t do well in school and in other areas of this life.  For example, he failed miserably when asked to run the family farm.  His uncle was forced to take over.

Thomas Edison. Edison’s teachers described him as “too stupid to learn anything.” Edison was fired from his first two jobs for poor productivity. He then made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb before he succeeded.

Winston Churchill. Churchill struggled in school and failed the sixth grade. After school he was defeated in every election for public office until he was 62 years old.

Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln went to war as a captain but did so poorly he was demoted to the lowest rank in the military, a private.  He then started numerous businesses that failed and was defeated in multiple elections before becoming president.

Oprah Winfrey. Oprah was originally fired from her job as a television reporter because she was considered “unfit for TV.”

Dick Cheney. Cheney managed to flunk out of Yale University not once but twice.

Jerry Seinfeld. The first time Seinfeld walked on stage at a comedy club, he looked at the audience, froze and was eventually booed off of the stage.

Harrison Ford. In his first film, Ford was told by the movie execs that he didn’t have what it took to be a star.

Marilyn Monroe. At the beginning of her career, Monroe was told by modeling agents she should consider being a secretary.

Stephen King. Steven King’s first book, the iconic thriller Carrie, received 30 rejections, finally causing King to give up and throw it in the trash.

Elvis Presley. Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after just one performance, telling him, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”


“You can dance in the storm. Don’t wait for the rain to be over before because it might take too long. You can can do it now. Wherever you are, right now, you can start, right now; this very moment.” – Israelmore Ayivor

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