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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

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                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

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                      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 July 23, 2019

                      30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

                      30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

                      The greatest books are defined as classics for a reason. Written by the greatest literary minds of their time, they have universal themes, characters, experiences, emotions and perspectives that are still relevant today. Some of them are the very inspiration from which entire modern genres of literary fiction have sprung up from.

                      If you love reading, here’s a perfect reading list for you. Even if you aren’t so much into reading, here’re 10 reasons to love reading.

                      Everyone should read at least once for these 30 books — some are well known classics, others are modern giants.  All are well worth reading at least once in your life!

                      1. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

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                        Published in 1960, this timeless classic explores human behaviour and the collective conscience of The Deep South in the early 20th century. Humour entwines the delicate strands of prejudice, hatred, hypocrisy, love and innocence to create one of the best novels ever written.

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                        2. 1984, by George Orwell

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                          Although 1984 has passed us by, George Orwell’s dystopian, totalitarian world of control, fear and lies has never been more relevant. Delve into the life of Winston Smith as he struggles with his developing human nature in a world where individuality, freewill and love are forbidden.

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                          3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling

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                            I’m willing to bet you’ve heard of Harry Potter, but have you read the books? Join Harry Potter as he begins his journey into the world of magic, where he is the celebrated Boy Who Lived. Visit Hogwarts, meet your favourite characters and watch Harry grow into the one of the most famous literary characters in the world.

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                            4. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

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                              Middle Earth is a wonderful, expansive fantasy world filled with turmoil, heroes, evil and innocence. Although our protagonist Frodo Baggins’ quest seems impossible to complete, this trilogy is a tale of triumph in the most impossible circumstances.

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                              5. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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                                Published in 1925, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby explores the decadence of the Jazz Age, and one man’s introduction into a world where even those with the most indulgent lives cannot earn love.

                                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                6. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

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                                  One of the most famous novels of all time, Pride And Prejudice details the courtship of two opposed characters in a world where manners and courtesy are of the utmost importance.

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                                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                  7. The Diary Of A Young Girl, by Anne Frank

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                                    Unforgettable and deeply influential, Anne Frank’s diary is a raw account of a young girl’s life as she hides from the Nazis. Despite her circumstances, Anne believes that people are still good at heart and that the world is full of beauty: she will change your life.

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                                    8. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

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                                      Set in Germany during 1939, The Book Thief follows Liesel as she rescues books from the tyranny of Nazi rule. Meanwhile, her family has hidden a Jewish fighter in their basement and death looks down on the family, narrating our tale. Experience bravery that is rarely found in the world, and friendship that is formed in the most unlikely of situations.

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                                      9. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

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                                        Although the movies are inexplicably long, The Hobbit was originally written as a short children’s book. Meet your favourite characters for the first time as the unforgettable Bilbo Baggins traverses the harsh landscapes of Middle Earth to challenge a dragon.

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                                        10. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

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                                          Join four sisters, each with their own prominent personality, as they come of age in charming 19th Century New England. Experience their struggles and revel in their flaws, as these girls become strong women.

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                                          11. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

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                                            Books are forbidden, and it is our main character Guy Montag’s job to burn any books he comes across. Often compared to George Orwell’s 1984, Ray Bradbury’s dystopian world is an unsettling commentary on Western societies’ addiction and dependence on the media and conformity.

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                                            12. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

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                                              Arguably one of the most influential fictional heroines of all time, Jane Eyre is a strong, unbroken women despite her troubled childhood and repressed Victorian society.
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                                              13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

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                                                This famous 1945 satire, examines the realistic risks of revolution and the dynamics animals will inevitably give in to.

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                                                14. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

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                                                  Set in The South during The Civil War, chances are if you love the movie you’ll love the book. Although the main character and the world she lives in is loathsome, readers’ opinions are twisted as this novel dishes out a fated justice when both Scarlett and The South lose their wars.

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                                                  15. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

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                                                    Starring the original cynical adolescent, The Catcher In The Rye explores the challenges and isolation of adolescence. Decipher your own message as you follow sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield, in this novel that has split audiences for decades.

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                                                    16. Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White

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                                                      Team up with Charlotte, a loving and generous spider, and Fern, a farmers daughter as they try to save Wilbur the piglet from becoming breakfast. Charlotte’s Web is a compelling reminder to bask in the simplistic wonders of everyday life, and to be kind to all living creatures.

                                                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                      17. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

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                                                        Another renowned fantasy world, Narnia is the home of hundreds of magnificent creatures each with their own origins, morals and ideals. Let you imagination run wild as you enter the wardrobe and meet some of the most famous literary characters in history.

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                                                        18. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

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                                                          Published in 1939, this novel set during The Great Depression follows one Oklahoma family as they are forced to travel to California. Experience America in a tale where it’s people are divided into the haves and have-nots, the powerful and the powerless.

                                                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                          19. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

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                                                            This classic novel follows the lives of boys marooned on an island as they regress into savages; and their beautiful, enjoyable island existence collapses into a primitive and cruel nightmare.

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                                                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                            20. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

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                                                              A story of true friendship, The Kite Runner follows Amir as he tries to find the only true friend he’s ever had – despite abandoning him due to ethnic and religious differences that were prominent in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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                                                              21. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

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                                                                Of Mice And Men is a complex story of a friendship between two migrant workers: George Milton and Lennie Small, in California. Watch their friendship develop as the pair work towards their modest dreams of owning their own land and pets.

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                                                                22. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

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                                                                  Following eighteen years as a political prisoner, Dr Manette is released and returns to England with his daughter Lucie. There, two very different men fall in love with Lucie and become entwined in a tale of love and sacrifice.

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                                                                  23. Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare

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                                                                    Perhaps the most famous love story ever written, Romeo and Juliet is an epic tragedy that explores the euphoria of desire and the tragedy of revenge.

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                                                                    24. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

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                                                                      Grab a towel and accompany human Arthur Dent on a fantastic adventure across the galaxy. Learn not to take the universe so seriously and forget any meaning you’ve applied to anything in your life, because we all know the real meaning of life is 42.

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                                                                      25. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

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                                                                        Published in 1847, this passionate and harrowing story of love, rivalry and revenge follows Catherine Earnshaw and her father’s adopted foundling Heathcliff as they grow into very different adults.

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                                                                        26. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

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                                                                          Winner of multiple awards, The Color Purple is a devastating tale that tackles the lives of colored women in 1930s USA. Censored and challenged, the harsh reality displayed in The Color Purple will leave you shaken.

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                                                                          27. Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

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                                                                            Bizarre and curious, Alice In Wonderland explores the potential of imagination and the reality of fiction. If you’re a fan of escaping the real world, this is definitely the book for you.

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                                                                            28. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

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                                                                              A combination of gothic thriller, cautionary tale and romance novel, Frankenstein is a story like no other. Written by Mary Shelley when she was just eighteen, Frankenstein prompts readers to ask themselves some truly shattering questions: what makes us human? What do we owe to one another as living creatures? How far can science push the boundaries of nature?

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                                                                              29. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

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                                                                                Often titled The Great American Novel, The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn is a deep and complex tale of friendship, adolescence and shifting societal norms.

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                                                                                30. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

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                                                                                  Although Vonnegut himself admits there are few characters or confrontations in this book, the impact of his novel is undeniable.

                                                                                  We travel through life with our protagonist Billy Pilgrim as he experiences World War II from a rather unique perspective – that is, he’s been abducted from his home planet of Tralfamadore. Rich and deeply funny, this tale aims to discourage us from war and murder that the authorities force the public into.

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                                                                                  Featured photo credit: Prasanna Kumar via unsplash.com

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