Before Their Success: 15 Highly Successful People Who Experienced Epic Failure
Success stories often overshadow the path that led to the achievement of one’s goals. What is often ignored is the fact that success is a result of a journey that is marked with failures. In this article, we will showcase 15 highly successful people who encountered epic failure before reaching their ultimate destination.
1. Sir James Dyson
Sir James Dyson’s journey towards making a breakthrough in the vacuum cleaner industry was not an easy one. The creator of the best-selling bagless vacuum cleaner went through 5,126 failed prototypes over a period of 15 years before he finally achieved success. This experience pushed Dyson into becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs, manufacturing some of the best household appliances and boasting a net worth of $4.5 billion.
2. Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg, known as the master of blockbuster movies, had difficulty in pursuing his passion for film. He was rejected twice by the University of South California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Dyslexia, which made it hard for him to cope with school, also burdened him. Despite his struggles, Spielberg won 11 Emmys, 3 Oscars, and 7 Golden Globes. He now stands as one of the most successful directors of today’s time.
3. Thomas Edison
Edison was told by his teachers that he was too stupid to learn anything, and he could not do anything in his life. Yet, Edison never gave up on his dreams. He went on to hold more than 1,000 patents, including the phonograph and practical electric lamp. Thomas Edison is now known as one of the most successful inventors who ever lived, and his creations have changed the lives of billions of people.
4. Walt Disney
Walt Disney was told by his former newspaper editor that he lacked imagination and had no good ideas. If he had listened to these naysayers, your childhood could have been very different. Disney defied the odds and went on to create his iconic cultural empire.
5. Albert Einstein
As a child, Albert Einstein did not start speaking until he was four years old and did not learn to read until he was seven. He was thought to be mentally handicapped in school. But he did not give up; he persevered, making him one of the most important physicists of all time. His perseverance led to winning a Nobel Prize, changing the world’s approach to physics.
6. J.K. Rowling
Prior to the fantastical wizarding series we all know and love, Rowling was a broke, depressed, divorced single mother studying and writing simultaneously. Despite her struggles, Rowling gained immense popularity when Harry Potter was published, and now she holds a place among the world’s richest women.
7. Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln’s failures were plenty before he became the President of the United States. He became the only Captain to return from the war a private (the lowest military rank). He also failed in his attempts to start multiple businesses. However, his failures led him to become a better person who persevered and eventually, he ended up becoming one of the greatest presidents the United States has ever had.
8. Jerry Seinfeld
The first time Jerry Seinfeld performed on stage, it did not go well. He was booed and jeered off stage. He went on to make a choice- either leave or return to the stage and try again. He opted for the latter and ended up becoming one of the most successful comedians in the world.
9. Theodor Seuss Geisel
The much-loved author, known to generations as Dr. Seuss, had his first book rejected by 27 publishers. However, he persisted and found a classmate from Dartmouth who helped him find a publisher. His books have since sold more than 600 million copies worldwide.
10. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job as an anchor in Baltimore. Today, she’s a billionaire with her TV channel and a penchant for giving away cars. During a Harvard commencement speech, Oprah reflected on her experiences and remarked that “there is no such thing as failure; failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”
11. Stephen King
Mega novelist Stephen King had his first book, “Carrie”, rejected 30 times. Even after that, he was told by publishers that they were not interested in anything involving science fiction that dealt with negative utopias because they did not sell. King dumped the book in the trash. It was only after his wife retrieved it, implored him to resubmit it, and was published that he was able to start his illustrious career.
12. Vincent Van Gogh
‘The Red Vineyard’ was the only painting Van Gogh was able to sell during his lifetime before passing away. However, his string of failures led to success posthumously. His masterpieces now cost upwards of $100 million.
13. Elvis Presley
After his first performance at the Grand Ole Opry, Elvis Presley was promptly fired and told to go back to being a truck driver. Despite this, he went on to become one of the biggest stars of all time.
14. Michael Jordan
The greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, was cut from his high school basketball team. Through the years, he proved his coach wrong and became a six-time champion and five-time MVP.
15. Richard Branson
The famous entrepreneur and CEO of Virgin Group, Richard Branson, despite his success, did not have an easy start. His high school grades were not good enough for him to proceed to university, so he started a mail-order record business instead. Branson encountered numerous failures in his career, including his failures to launch Virgin Cola and Virgin Brides. He refused to give up, leading to his success with Virgin Group.
These individuals show us that success is not achieved overnight. Failure is not the end of the road, and sometimes it is necessary. Failure should be regarded as an opportunity to learn and grow, and it can be a vital experience that will push you towards success. Just like these 15 highly successful people, anyone who’s trying to make their life worth living has experienced failure. Thus, it is essential to change your perspective on failure and see it as a stepping stone to success.