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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

Failure occurs everyday, in school, jobs, housework, and within families. It is unavoidable, irritating and causes pessimism.

While the thought of flinging your hands in the air and walking away is all too appealing, take a second to connect with the people who have been there and survived.

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. — Henry Ford

Here are 10 famous failures to success stories around the world that will inspire you to keep going and achieve greatness:

1. J.K. Rowling

    During a Harvard commencement speech, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling outlined the importance and value of failure.[1]

    Why? Simply because she was once a failure too.

    A few short years after her graduation from college, her worst nightmares were realized. In her words,

    “I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.”

    Coming out of this failure stronger and more determined was the key to her success.

    2. Steve Jobs

      The now revolutionary Apple started off with two men in a garage. Years later we all know it as a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees.

      Yet, almost unbelievably, Steve Jobs was fired from the very company he began.

      The dismissal made him realize that his passion for his work exceeded the disappointment of failure. Further ventures such as NeXT and Pixar eventually led Jobs back to the CEO position at AppleJobs said in 2005:

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      “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”

      Lost your job today? Keep kicking and you could be just like this guy!

      3. Bill Gates
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        Bill Gates was a Harvard dropout. He co-owned a business called Traf-O-Data, which was a true failure.[2]

        However, skill and a passion for computer programming turned this failure into the pioneer of famous software company Microsoft, and the then 31-year-old into the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.

        In his own words:

        “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

        This isn’t to say that dropping out of Harvard will make you into a billionaire, but maybe that shiny degree isn’t worth as much as the drive and passion to succeed.

        If you haven’t found your passion like Bill Gates, this will help you:

        How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

        4. Albert Einstein

          The word ‘Einstein’ is associated with intelligence and synonymous with genius. Yet it is a famous fact that the pioneer of the theory of general relativity, Albert Einstein himself, could not speak fluently until the age of nine. His rebellious nature led to expulsion from school, and he was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.

          His earlier setbacks did not stop him from winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. After all, he believed that:

          “Success is failure in progress.”

          To this day, his research has influenced various aspects of life including culture, religion, art, and even late night TV.

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          Just because you haven’t achieved anything great yet, doesn’t mean you can’t be an Einstein yourself.

          5. Abraham Lincoln

            Failing in business in 1831, suffering a nervous breakdown in 1836, defeated in his run for president in 1856, Abraham Lincoln was no stranger to rejection and failure. Rather than taking these signs as a motivation for surrender, he refused to stop trying his best.

            In this great man’s words:

            “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

            Lincoln was elected in 1861 as the 16th President of the United States of America.

            The amount of rejection you receive is not a defining factor. Success is still within your reach.

            6. Michael Jordan

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              “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

              This quote by retired basketball legend Michael Jordan in a Nike advertisement speaks for itself.

              It would be an easy misconception that Jordan’s basketball skills revolve around natural talent. In fact, in his earlier years,  basketball coaches had trouble looking past the fact that Jordan didn’t reach the minimum height. It was years of effort, practice, and failure that made the star we know today.

              Michael Jordan’s success all came down to his Intrinsic Motivation, one of the most invincible types of motivation that drives people to succeed.

              7. Steven Spielberg

              217307-steven-spielberg

                Regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, Steven Spielberg is a familiar household name. It is surprising to realize therefore that the genius behind Jaws and E.T. had poor grades in high school, getting him rejected from the University of Southern California three times.

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                While he was in college, he caught the eye of executives at Universal, who signed him as a television director in 1969. This meant that he would not finish his college degree for another 33 years.

                Perseverance and acceptance of failure is the key to success, after all.

                “Even though I get older, what I do never gets old, and that’s what I think keeps me hungry.”

                Bad grades in high school aside, there is no questioning the genius involved.

                To date, Spielberg has directed 51 films and has been awarded three Oscars.

                8. Walt Disney

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                  Mickey Mouse creator Walt Disney dropped out of school at a young age in a failed attempt at joining the army.[3] One of his earlier ventures, Laugh-o-Gram Studios, went bankrupt due to his lack of ability to run a successful business. He was once fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.”

                  Yet today, The genius behind Disney studios is responsible for generations of childhood memories and dreams. From Snow White to Frozen, Disney will continue to entertain the world for generations to come.

                  The logic behind this is simple:

                  “We don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

                  9. Vincent Van Gogh

                    During his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh suffered mental illness, failed relationships, and committed suicide at the age of 37.

                    He only ever sold one painting in his life, pinning him a failure as an artist. However that did not put a damper on his enthusiasm and passion for art.

                    He would never know that years and years after his death he would become known as a key figure in the world of post-impressionism, and ultimately, one of the greatest artist that ever lived.

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                    He would never know that he became a hot topic in art classes and his image was going to be used in TV, books and other forms of popular culture.

                    In the words of this great, but tragic man:

                    “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

                    10. Stephen King

                    01-Stephen-King-Rags-to-Riches-Celebs-1

                      As a paranoid, troubled child, tormented by nightmares and raised in poverty, it is no surprise that Stephen King grew up to the title: “Master of Horror”.[4]

                      An addiction to drugs and alcohol were his mechanisms to cope with the unhappiness he felt with his life. The frustration he felt towards multiple rejections by publishers in combination with illicit substances caused him to mentally contemplate violence towards his own children.

                      These intense emotions were those that he focused onto his writing. And that’s why he said:

                      “We make up horros to help us cope with the real ones.”

                      Writing became his new coping mechanism, and this is how the master author we know today grew to success.

                      Fail more often in order to succeed

                      Like Albert Einstein said, failure really is just success in progress. If you’d rather not to fail, you will probably never succeed.

                      Success comes from moments of frustrations when you’ll be most uncomfortable with. But after you’ve gone through all those bitter times, you’ll become stronger and you’ll get closer to success.

                      If you feel like a failure and think that you’ve failed all too many times, it’s not too late to change things up! Here’s how to turn limitations into your opportunities:

                      How to Start Living Your Life Above Limitations

                      Don’t be afraid to fail. In fact, start failing, and start failing often; that’s how you will succeed.

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      More by this author

                      Elizabeth Andal

                      Elizabeth is a passionate writer who shares about lifestyle tips and lessons learned in life on Lifehack.

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                      Last Updated on September 12, 2019

                      12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

                      12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

                      Even the most charismatic people you know, whether in person or celebrities of some sort, experience days where they feel lost in life and isolated from everyone else.

                      While it’s good to know we aren’t alone in this feeling, the question still remains:

                      What should we do when we feel lost and lonely?

                      Here are 12 things to remember:

                      1. Recognize That It’s Okay!

                      The truth is, there are times you need to be alone. If you’ve always been accustomed to being in contact with people, this may prove difficult.

                      However, learning how to be alone and comfortable in your own skin will give you confidence and a sense of self reliance.

                      We cheat ourselves out of the opportunity to become self reliant when we look for constant companionship.

                      Learn how to embrace your me time: What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

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                      2. Use Your Lost and Loneliness as a Self-Directing Guide

                      You’ve most likely heard the expression: “You have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.”

                      Loneliness also serves as a life signal to indicate you’re in search of something. It’s when we’re in the midst of solitude that answers come from true soul searching.

                      Remember, there is more to life than what you’re feeling.

                      3. Realize Loneliness Helps You Face the Truth

                      Being in the constant company of others, although comforting sometimes, can often serve as a distraction when we need to face the reality of a situation.

                      Solitude cuts straight to the chase and forces you to deal with the problem at hand. See it as a blessing that can serve as a catalyst to set things right!

                      4. Be Aware That You Have More Control Than You Think

                      Typically, when we see ourselves as being lost or lonely, it gives us an excuse to view everything we come in contact with in a negative light. It lends itself to putting ourselves in the victim mode, when the truth of the matter is that you choose your attitude in every situation.

                      No one can force a feeling upon you! It is YOU who has the ultimate say as to how you choose to react.

                      5. Embrace the Freedom That the Feeling of Being Alone Can Offer

                      Instead of wallowing in self pity, which many are prone to do because of loneliness, try looking at your circumstance as a new-found freedom.

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                      Most people are in constant need of approval of their viewpoints. Try enjoying the fact that  you don’t need everyone you care about to support your decisions.

                      6. Acknowledge the Person You Are Now

                      Perhaps you feel a sense of loneliness and confusion because your life circumstances have taken you away from the persona that others know to be you.

                      Perhaps the new you differs radically from the old. Realize that life is about change and how we react to that change. It’s okay that you’re not who you used to be.

                      Take a look at this article and learn to accept your imperfect self: Accept Yourself (Flaws and All): 7 Benefits of Being Vulnerable

                      7. Keep Striving to Do Your Best

                      Often those who are feeling isolated and unto themselves will develop a defeatist attitude. They’ll do substandard work because their self esteem is low and they don’t care.

                      Never let this feeling take away your sense of worth! Do your best always and when you come through this dark time, others will admire how you stayed determined in spite of the obstacles you had to overcome.

                      And to live your best life, you must do this ONE thing: step out of your comfort zone.

                      8. Don’t Forget That Time Is Precious

                      When we’re lost in a sea of loneliness and depression, it’s all too easy to reflect on regrets of past life events. This does nothing but feed negativity and perpetuate the situation.

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                      Instead of falling prey to this common pitfall, put one foot in front of the other and acknowledge every positive step you take. By doing this, you can celebrate the struggles you overcome at the end of the day.

                      9. Remember, Things Happen for a Reason

                      Every circumstance we encounter in our life is designed to teach us and that lesson is in turn passed on to others.

                      Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to figure out the lesson to be learned, while other times, we simply need to have faith that if the lesson wasn’t meant directly for us to learn from, how we handled it was observed by someone who needed to learn.

                      Your solitude and feeling of lost, in this instance, although painful possibly, may be teaching someone else.

                      10. Journal During This Time

                      Record your thoughts when you’re at the height of loneliness and feeling lost. You’ll be amazed when you reflect back at how you viewed things at the time and how far you’ve come later.

                      This time (if recorded) can give you a keen insight into who you are and what makes you feel the way you feel.

                      11. Remember You Aren’t the First to Feel This Way

                      It’s quite common to feel as if we’re alone and no one else has ever felt this way before. We think this because at the time of our distress, we’re silently observing others around us who are seemingly fine in every way.

                      The truth is, we can’t possibly know the struggles of those around us unless they elect to share them. We ALL have known this pain!

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                      Try confiding in someone you trust and ask them how they deal with these feelings when they experienced it. You may be surprised at what you learn.

                      12. Ask for Help If the Problem Persists

                      The feeling of being lost and lonely is common to everyone, but typically it will last for a relatively short period of time.

                      Most people will confess to, at one time or another, being in a “funk.” But if the problem persists longer than you feel it should, don’t ignore it.

                      When your ability to reason and consider things rationally becomes impaired, do not poo poo the problem away and think it isn’t worthy of attention. Seek medical help.

                      Afraid to ask for help? Here’s how to change your outlook to aim high!

                      Final Thoughts

                      Loneliness and a sense of feeling lost can in many ways be extremely painful and difficult to deal with at best. However, these feelings can also serve as a catalyst for change in our lives if we acknowledge them and act.

                      Above anything, cherish your mental well being and don’t underestimate its worth. Seek professional guidance if you’re unable to distinguish between a sense of freedom for yourself and a sense of despair.

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                      Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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