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Last Updated on June 4, 2021

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
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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.

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        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:

        “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.

            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.

                  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

                  waltdisneymickeymo_2703112b

                    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.

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                      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.

                      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 your limitations into your opportunities:

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

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                        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 21, 2021

                        17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd

                        17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd
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                        If you are like most people, you probably have big goals and dreams that you would like to succeed in — you want to be the top in your career, live a healthy lifestyle, or flourish in your relationships.

                        Everyone dreams of a positive future, but most people don’t realize the secret to a truly successful life:

                        You determine your future in the way you spend your everyday moments. If you want to be a successful person, you must consistently develop good daily habits. As Aristotle pointed out:

                        “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”.

                        Building positive daily habits is a huge challenge, but can you imagine the amazing things you could accomplish with just a little commitment and determination?

                        Creating lasting, healthy habits is the real key difference between people who are successful in life and those who are unsuccessful.

                        You might be wondering which specific habits make the biggest difference. Not to worry, I’ve compiled a comparison list to help you get a jump start on a successful future.

                        1. Successful people embrace change. Unsuccessful people fear change.

                        Change is a constant for all of humanity, and it is important that you develop a positive relationship with it.

                        When unexpected or unwelcome changes arise, ask yourself how you can embrace it instead of running away. A few practical ways to reverse a change-fearing mindset include:

                        • Take a moment to recognize and address any fears associated with the upcoming change.
                        • Communicate with a person you trust about your negative feelings toward change.
                        • Practice positive thinking, which you can read about in the next section.

                        2. Successful people exude joy. Unsuccessful people think, say and do negative things.

                        A joyful, positive disposition can seem like a distant reality in today’s cynical world, but it may be easier to achieve than you think. All you have to do is notice the good things around you and practice being thankful.

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                        Mindfulness and gratitude are not just buzz words – choosing a positive attitude can honestly change your life. Many studies have found that thankfulness leads to greater happiness. Furthermore, research indicates that gratitude may even have a lasting positive impact on the brain and overall mental health.[1]

                        3. Successful people forgive others. Unsuccessful people hold grudges.

                        As a human being, you have likely been offended or hurt by others plenty of times. Don’t give in to the temptation to hold a grudge. Let it go.

                        Note that forgiving someone does not equate to giving up your boundaries (which are very important) or even admitting that the offending party is right. You should choose to let go for your own peace of mind.

                        4. Successful people track progress. Unsuccessful people just criticize.

                        Some kinds of criticism, such as constructive criticism, are good for personal and professional development. The kind of criticism I’m talking about is the pessimistic, nagging, unhelpful variety. This is the kind of criticism in play when you are unfairly harsh to yourself or others.

                        Toss unfounded criticisms aside and consider tracking your “wins” or your progresses, no matter how small. Take mental notes or keep a progress journal.

                        If you have a solid sense of what you have achieved, you will be less tempted to be hard on yourself.

                        5. Successful people share information, data and ideas. Unsuccessful people hoard.

                        If you have useful information or generate brilliant ideas on the regular, your first instinct may be to keep it all to yourself for personal gain and solo recognition.

                        Instead of hoarding bright ideas, share them with your team. Your talents will be on display for the team, and the team will be able to support you and make your ideas a reality.

                        6. Successful people are humble. Unsuccessful people talk more than they listen.

                        Humility is key. The ability to listen to other people, really listen and understand, is essential to success in both work and relationships — and to listen you have to be humble.

                        Everyone has experienced the frustration of being in a one-sided conversation. When someone approaches you with a question or concern, put your own world aside for just a moment and give them the kindness of your full attention.

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                        7. Successful people take risks. Unsuccessful people take the easy way out.

                        The next time your heart is racing and you want to walk away, consider embracing the risk. You never know what might happen if you take a chance.

                        Embracing risks looks like accepting the speaking engagement even though it seems a little scary. Success takes the courageous route, not the easy route.

                        8. Successful people learn, improve and read every day. Unsuccessful people stop learning.

                        Instead of binge-watching a show tonight, save an hour before bed to read a book and expand your mind.

                        Unsuccessful people are afraid to be flexible – they don’t challenge themselves to learn new things. Avoid this pitfall by exposing yourself to new thoughts and ideas every day.

                        9. Successful people handle problems well. Unsuccessful people act before they think.

                        The next time you run into a problem or even an emergency, try to work through your initial panic reaction with a few deep breaths.

                        Instead of acting rashly, think through your next actions as quickly but as logically as you can.

                        Learning to handle problems thoughtfully is an absolutely essential tool in the successful person’s toolbox (that’s you!).

                        10. Successful people accept responsibility for their failures. Unsuccessful people blame others.

                        Along with a previous tip about humility, this is one of the hardest things you’ll ever learn to do – but also the most rewarding. When you’ve failed, you must fight the urge to pass the blame. Successful people are able to fail honestly and gracefully.

                        And, hey, don’t feel bad about failing. Some of the most successful people in the world have failed too many times to count. It’s all a part of the process.

                        You can check out this article for more tips on how to fail well:

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                        How Failure Helps You To Succeed and Grow

                        11. Successful people work with passion and commitment. Unsuccessful people have a sense of entitlement.

                        A short and sweet lesson for you:

                        You should never expect to achieve the things you want without working hard.

                        Follow your passion and stay committed to pursuing it. Work hard and stick to your habits every day. You’ll earn your reward.

                        12. Successful people spend time with the right people. Unsuccessful people think they already know it all.

                        A lot of people miss out on useful relationships and information sharing because they think they can do it all alone.

                        Spend time with people who inspire you, spur you to be a better person, and remind you that you can’t go it alone.

                        13. Successful people make to-do lists and maintain proper life balance. Unsuccessful people waste their time.

                        Ah, time management. Unsuccessful people never master the art of organization and planning.

                        Here are a few tips for you when it comes to time management:

                        • Make to-do lists. Seriously, this will help you. Make time to do it every morning, evening, or whenever you are able.
                        • Keep track of your time. Are you happy with the way you are currently balancing things? What changes can you make?
                        • Keep a calendar full of your long-term goals (see next tip).

                        14. Successful people write down goals and think long term about their burning desires. Unsuccessful people get distracted every day.

                        Why is it so important to keep a long-term goal calendar? Here’s the deal:

                        The things you are passionate about today need a backbone.

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                        Give your passionate ideas sustainability by writing down goals and staying on task instead of succumbing to distraction.

                        15. Successful people compliment others. Unsuccessful people try to bring others down to their level.

                        There is no greater confidence than saying “no” to sudden jealous or envious feelings and choosing to sincerely admire someone’s talents instead.

                        Unsuccessful people live in a world driven by competition, but successful people know that building people up is far more rewarding than bringing them down.

                        16. Successful people want others to succeed. Unsuccessful people secretly hope they fail.

                        In the same vein as the point above, this tip is all about good intentions.

                        Care for the people around you. Encourage them toward their successes. Hoping that others fail will not help you at all.

                        17. Successful people know their purpose and mission. Unsuccessful people don’t know what they want to be.

                        The last thing that differentiates successful people from unsuccessful people is one of the most important:

                        Keep your mission in mind.

                        Don’t be swayed to and fro by passing emotions and events. Know who you are and pursue your dreams wholeheartedly.

                        Final thoughts

                        Above all, stay confident. Truly believe that you can be and are successful. Strive to prove it in your day-to-day habits and activities!

                        What are you waiting for? Choose one of the habits above and get started today.

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                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        [1] Berkeley University of California: How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain

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