“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
– Winston Churchill
The road to success is a hard one that, quite often, leads us to failures that turn into low points in our lives. It requires a lot of hard work, patience and courage to face challenges; things that do not come easy. Failure before success is the norm but the fact remains that it is simply a step towards success.
Many famous people have had to overcome numerous hurdles on their journey to become successful. Their failures brought them to the lowest points of their lives (where many would consider giving up or retreating). Nonetheless, their hard work delivered them what they struggled for and their determination is now an inspiration to many.
If you ever find yourself feeling down about failures in your life and are in need of a little inspiration to push through it, here are some inspirational stories of people who pressed forward through hard times to find success and become famous.
1. Walt Disney
Walt Disney had had his fair share of failures- he was fired from his job in the Kansas City Star paper because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”; his Mickey Mouse cartoons were rejected for being “too scary for women”; ‘The Three Little Pigs’ was also turned down because it only had four characters; his first business venture, Laugh-O-Gram animation studio landed in bankruptcy.
Stepping forward through failures, he built the Walt Disney Company which now rakes in billions. Rumor has it that he was turned down 302 times before he finally got financing for the Walt Disney Company.
2. Harrison Ford
Before Harrison Ford was Han Solo and Indiana Jones, he was a self-taught carpenter in his 30s, struggling to take care of his family. He had small roles in TV shows but barely enough to support his family. So he became a carpenter.Advertising
He was building cabinets in George Lucas’s house who offered him a supporting role in “American Graffiti” at age 29. But his big break was 6 years later in Star Wars as Han Solo, created by the same George Lucas.
3. Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone had had a tough break before he was a Hollywood star. In his 20s, he used to be a deli counter attendant and was so broke that he sold his wife’s jewelry. At a point he was so desperate that he had to sell his dog to a stranger at a liquor store for $25.
He says that was the lowest point in his life where he walked away crying. Then, he made “Rocky” happen and the rest of the story is out in the open. Guess what he did with his first pay? He bought back his dog for $15000.
4. J.K Rowling
Now one of the richest women in the world, J K Rowling was once penniless, divorced, raising a child alone and going through series of depressions.
She was so broke that she didn’t even have the money to print the manuscript of Harry Potter which, therefore, she typed all 9000 plus words on an old typewriter manually to submit to the publisher.
5. Arianna Huffington
The president and the editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post is a prominent figure in US Politics but she has had a bitter taste of failure when she finished fifth with only 0.55 percent of the vote in 2003 California’s gubernatorial race.
Despite having sold her first book successfully, her second book was rejected 36 times. She has now published 13 books and the success of The Huffington Post is incredible–all suggesting that she learned a great deal from her failures.Advertising
6. Donald Trump
Donald Trump was once $1 billion in debt. He owed billions of dollars in the early 1990s and newspapers were saying he was done for good. One day, he said to his daughter, pointing out a homeless man, “See that bum? He has a billion dollars more than me.” That, he says, was the lowest point in his life.
Then, he made happen the biggest financial turnaround in history for which he is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. He was once $1 billion in debt but Donald Trump net worth now is $4.5 billion.
7. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is, undisputedly, the most famous basketball player in the world. As a kid, he knew he loved basketball and wanted to make a career out of it but no coach would take him because he was short.
The basketball legend was rejected from his high school’s varsity basketball team. Jordan pressed forward through all these failures which defined his success.
8. Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein could not speak until he was four and he did not read until he was seven. His parents and teachers thought he was slow, mentally handicapped and anti-social. He was expelled from school and was denied admittance in Zurich Polytechnic School.
Now Einstein is a household name, a synonym to “genius”–credited for having changed the world with his discoveries.
9. Abraham Lincoln
Young Abraham Lincoln was once promoted to captain, but he returned home a low-ranked private. Then he tried on many businesses, all of which landed in failure.
Coming from a very poor family, he went on to become a successful lawyer through a great deal of hardship. He lost several runs for public office, none of which could dissuade him from trying and becoming the president of the United States.
10. Jim Carrey
This successful comedian, at one point of time, was living in a VW bus with his family, parked throughout Canada. His family was so poor that he had to drop out of high school to find a job.
He took a job of a janitor just to support his family. Carrey says that he developed a sense of humor growing up during these financially tough times.
11. Stephen King
We all know about the success of this master of horror. Only a few of us know that his bestselling novel, Carrie, was rejected 30 times before it was published. He actually threw away the manuscript in the trash out of despair.
He came from a poor family and worked as an English teacher, selling short stories to magazines to supplement his income. Today, he has over 50 novels selling over 350 million copies.
12. Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything” so his mother took him off the school and taught him herself. Also he was fired from his first two jobs for not being “productive enough”.Advertising
Ironically, Thomas Edison is now considered one of the greatest innovators of all time. His success after over 10,000 failed attempts to invent a commercially viable lightbulb has set a good example of what perseverance truly is.
13. Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg is considered one of the greatest movie makers of our time who gave us the movies like Jaws, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan and a few more. It sounds incredible that he was rejected from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema Arts – not once but twice.
He didn’t let that drag him off track from his dream of movie making; he pressed on and now he’s successful enough to donate money and buildings to the same school where he was once rejected.
14. Henry Ford
Henry Ford set up one of the most successful automotive companies of all time but he is no stranger to failure. In 1899, he formed the Detroit Automobile Company. It went bankrupt.
Again in 1901, he formed the Henry Ford Company. That too went bankrupt. It was the Ford Motor Company, his third attempt that drove him up to the peak of success and revolutionized the automobile industry.
15. Oprah Winfrey
This TV icon has had a very tragic past. Born in a poor family, she gave birth at age 14 and lost the child. She used to be molested by her cousins, uncles and family friends. She rose from all that hardship to work in TV.
Now she is one of the richest women in the world with net worth of $2.9 billion.
Featured photo credit: Wikimedia via upload.wikimedia.org
Last Updated on January 13, 2020
50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success
Let’s face it – no matter how excited you are about a new project or priority in your life, there will always be days when your motivation lags. Days when – despite all the progress you’ve made in the past – it just sounds easier to sit on the couch playing video games than to buckle down and crank out the work needed to meet your goals.
In order to be successful, you must be able to motivate yourself past these humps. Whenever you feel your drive and determination lagging, turn to these motivational quotes for work to provide the extra spark of passion needed to keep you on track.
Table of Contents
Quotes about Goal Setting
Whether you’re still in the planning phases of your business or whether you’re plotting a plan of attack to bring about your long-range vision, setting good goals is a critical part of succeeding in business.
Check out these quotes for extra inspiration on how to turn your dreams into reality:
“The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”– Benjamin Mays
“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own.”–Mark Victor Hansen
“Give yourself an even greater challenge than the one you are trying to master and you will develop the powers necessary to overcome the original difficulty.”–William J. Bennett – The Book of Virtues
“The entrepreneur is essentially a visualizer and actualizer… He can visualize something, and when he visualizes it he sees exactly how to make it happen.”–Robert L. Schwartz
Quotes about Achieving Excellence in Work
Once you’ve got your goals together, you’ll need to put in 110% of your effort in order to transform these visions into reality. To increase your motivation to work at a consistently high level, take a look at the following words of wisdom:
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”–Aristotle
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”–Charles R. Swindoll
“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”–Mario Andretti
“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.”–Pearl Buck
“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”–Vince Lombardi
Quotes about Determination and Persistence
Since every business or other endeavor is bound to hit some rough patches, it’s often a person’s level of determination and patience that brings about either success or failure. These positive quotes give you an extra boost of encouragement:
“Enter every activity without giving mental recognition to the possibility of defeat. Concentrate on your strengths, instead of your weaknesses… on your powers, instead of your problems.”–Paul J. Meyer
“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”–Hal Borland
“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”–Calvin Coolidge
“An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.”–Thomas Fuller
Quotes about Leadership
Whether you use it to engage your employees, to encourage teamwork or motivate others to follow your unique way of thinking, leadership is crucial. Take your leadership cues from these renowned leaders’ famous sayings:
“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born — that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” –Warren G. Bennis
“All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”–John Kenneth Galbraith
“Leadership is not magnetic personality — that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’ — that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”–Peter F. Drucker
“The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.”–John Buchan
“High sentiments always win in the end. The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.”–George Orwell
Quotes for Success
Think of success as a holistic process – one which results from the combination of goal-setting, excellence, patience, determination and leadership you prioritize throughout your career. These highly successful people provide you with an excellent source of motivation:
“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.”–Stephen Covey
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”–Norman Vincent Peale
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”–Winston Churchill
“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”–John Maxwell
“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”– Thomas J. Watson
“The great successful men of the world have used their imagination. They think ahead and create their mental picture in all its details, filling in here, adding a little there, altering this a bit and that a bit, but steadily building – steadily building.”–Robert Collier
“It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.”–Arnold Toynbee
Sports Quotes for Athletes
You don’t need to be a Michael Jordan-caliber athlete to draw inspiration from the following quotes. Even if you’re just a recreational player or someone who’s using sports as a means to get back in shape after long periods of inactivity, the following motivational sports quotes will encourage you:
“My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”–Michael Jordan
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”–Lance Armstrong
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”–Arnold Schwarzenegger
“I know what I have to do, and I’m going to do whatever it takes. If I do it, I’ll come out a winner, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else does.”–Florence Griffith Joyner
“Every time you stay out late; every time you sleep in; every time you miss a workout; every time you don’t give 100% – You make it that much easier for me to beat you.”–Unknown
“If you are hurt, whether in mind or body, don’t nurse your bruises. Get up and light-heartedly, courageously, good temperedly get ready for the next encounter. This is the only way to take life – this is also ‘playing’ the game!”–Emily Post
“We must train from the inside out. Using our strengths to attack and nullify any weaknesses. It’s not about denying a weakness may exist but about denying its right to persist.”–Vince McConnell
Quotes to Motivate Learning
Committing yourself to pursuing knowledge in a single area is a tremendous endeavor – one that often seems overwhelming given the depth and breadth of information that’s available today. Keep the following motivational quotes in mind if you’re learning:
“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”–George Washington Carver
“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”–William Arthur Ward
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”– Aristotle
“Success is not the key to happiness.Happiness is the key to success.If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”–Albert Schweitzer
“Wear your learning, like your watch, in a private pocket: and do not pull it out and strike it, merely to show that you have one.”–Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield
“He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”–Chinese Proverb
“Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing.”–William Arthur Ward
“Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled ‘This could change your life’.”–Helen Exley
“A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.”–Chinese Proverb
All-Time Favorite Positive Quotes
Finally, whatever your goals are in life, you can’t go wrong by taking the advice of the following famous motivational quotes:
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”–Norman Vincent Peale
“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”–Steve Jobs
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”–Maria Robinson
“Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity.”–Albert Einstein
“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”–Lyndon Johnson
“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”–Thomas Edison
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”–Wayne Gretzky
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”–Winston Churchill
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”–Ralph Waldo Emerson
To use these motivational quotes effectively, find the one that speaks to you. Although all of the phrases listed above can be considered “motivational,” only you can decide which one resonates with you most directly.
Next, take the quote you’ve settled on and copy it onto small index cards or other pieces of paper that can be stored around your home and workspace.
If you’re creative, you can create inspiration boards, signs or other decorative displays featuring your favorite motivational quotes – really, though, the most important thing is that your chosen phrase be accessible in a variety of different places. This will make it easy to access and review whenever you feel your motivation slipping away.
More Inspiring Quotes
- 40 Powerful Productivity Quotes From Highly Successful People
- 50+ Best Motivational Quotes To Overcome Life’s Challenges
- 30 Of The Most Inspirational Quotes Of All Time
Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com