Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on June 18, 2019

15 Highly Successful People Who Failed On Their Way To Success

15 Highly Successful People Who Failed On Their Way To Success

Before their success, some of the world’s most successful people experienced epic failure. We celebrate their success but often overlook the path that got them there. A path that is often marked with failure.

As American writer Elbert Hubbard said:

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.”

So get motivated, and accept failure as merely a chance to learn.

Here are 15 highly successful people who failed (for a couple of times) before they were recognized by their glorious success.

1. Sir James Dyson

    You know that frustrating feeling when you don’t get something on the first attempt?

    Multiple that by 5,126 because that’s the number of failed prototypes Sir James Dyson went through over the course of 15 years before creating the eponymous best-selling bagless vacuum cleaner that led to a net worth of $4.5billion.

    2. Steven Spielberg

      His cinematic output has grossed more than $9 billion and brought him three Academy Awards, but the master of the blockbuster was rejected TWICE by the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.

      As their way of saying “Oops, I guess we were wrong about you” the school built a building in honor of Spielberg.

      3. Thomas Edison

      Advertising

        In what might be at once the most discouraging statement and worst teaching practice of all time, Thomas Edison was told by his teachers he was ‘too stupid to learn anything’.

        Edison went on to hold more than 1,000 patents, including the phonograph and practical electric lamp. Death most likely spared his teachers the ignominy of their incorrect assessment.

        4. Walt Disney

          Can you imagine your childhood without Disney? Well it could easily have been if Walt had listened to his former newspaper editor. The editor told Walt he ‘lacked imagination and had no good ideas’. Undeterred, Old Walt went on to create the cultural icon that bears his name.

          Disney’s take on failure:

          “I think it’s important to have a good hard failure when you’re young… Because it makes you kind of aware of what can happen to you. Because of it I’ve never had any fear in my whole life when we’ve been near collapse and all of that. I’ve never been afraid.”

          5. Albert Einstein

            His name is synonymous with intelligence yet it wasn’t always that way for Albert Einstein. As a child he didn’t start speaking until he was four, reading until he was seven, and was thought to be mentally handicapped.

            He went on to win a Nobel Prize and altered the world’s approach to physics. I guess he was just thinking of the right thing to say for those first four years…

            6. J.K. Rowling

            JK

              Before there was a wizard, there was welfare. Rowling was a broke, depressed, divorced single mother simultaneously writing a novel while studying.

              Now one of the richest women in the world, Rowling reflects on her early failures:

              “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

              7. Abraham Lincoln

                Lincoln’s failures were broad and numerous. He achieved the unique feat of leaving for a war a captain and returning a private (the lowest military rank).

                He next took failure in his stride during multiple failed business attempts. Undeterred, Lincoln marched into the political realm, where he launched several failed runs at political office before his ascendance to President.

                8. Jerry Seinfeld

                  Before the show about nothing, Seinfeld was a young comedian on the stand-up circuit. His first time on stage didn’t go so well. On seeing the audience he froze and was booed and jeered off stage.

                  His choices: pack it in and accept comedy isn’t his thing or return to the same stage the following night and have the audience in hysterics. He opted for the latter and went on to become one of the most successful comedians of all time.

                  9. Theodor Seuss Geisel

                    Known to generations as Dr Seuss, the much-loved children’s author had his first book rejected by 27 different publishers.

                    His books that weren’t good enough for these publishers went on to sell more than 600 million copies worldwide.

                    10. Oprah Winfrey

                      She’s a billionaire with her own TV channel and a penchant for giving away cars but Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first TV job as an anchor in Baltimore.

                      In 2013, Oprah reflected on her experiences during a Harvard commencement speech:

                      Advertising

                      “There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”

                      Creating your own TV channel is a sure way never to get fired again!

                      11. Stephen King

                        In another instance in the never ending series “Book Publishers Making Dumb Decisions”, mega novelist Stephen King had his first book Carrie rejected 30 times.

                        Dejected, King dumped the book in the trash. His wife retrieved it and implored him to resubmit it which led to his first book deal and spawned his illustrious career.

                        12. Vincent Van Gogh

                          A Van Gogh painting will cost you upwards of $100 million nowadays. But in his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh couldn’t get rid of the things.

                          He sold just one painting, ‘The Red Vineyard’, during his lifetime, and the sale came not long before his death. Unfortunately for Vincent, others got to enjoy the financial spoils of his lifetime of toils.

                          13. Elvis Presley

                            “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

                            These are the words that greeted Elvis Presley after his first performance at the Grand Ole Opry, after which he was promptly fired. Disposing of the keys to the truck, Presley went on to become the world’s biggest star with a legacy that endures.

                            14. Michael Jordan

                            Advertising

                              Either he was part of the greatest high school roster of all time or his coach made a huge mistake in cutting Michael Jordan from his high school basketball team. Six Championships and five MVPs later, Jordan became arguably the greatest basketball player of all time.

                              Jordan famously said:

                              “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

                              15. Charles Darwin

                                The man credited with much of how we came to understand the world today, Darwin was considered an average student and abandoned a career in medicine as a result.

                                Darwin embarked on a lifetime study of nature that led to the seminal ‘On the Origin of Species’ and forever altered the way humankind looks at our existence.

                                Final Thoughts

                                These famous and highly successful people’s crowning achievements stem from drive and determination as much as ability.

                                Persistence and certitude are the difference between success and failure. So if you want to succeed, don’t be afraid to fail.

                                Fail often, fail fast and learn from your mistakes. The more times you fail, the closer you’re getting to success.

                                More About Success

                                Featured photo credit: Kal Loftus via unsplash.com

                                More by this author

                                Sebastian Kipman

                                Entrepreneur and Communication Expert

                                15 Highly Successful People Who Failed On Their Way To Success 9 Proven Ways To Make A Perfect Cup Of Tea Are you an aspiring billionaire? You better read this.

                                Trending in Productivity

                                1 15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done 2 50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success 3 How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques 4 15 Inspiring Journal Ideas to Set You up for Success 5 11 Organizational Skills That Every Smart Leader Needs

                                Read Next

                                Advertising
                                Advertising
                                Advertising

                                Last Updated on September 18, 2019

                                15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

                                15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

                                You may think that you don’t have time for office organization, but if you really knew how much time that disorganization cost you, you’d reconsider.

                                Rearranging and moving piles occasionally doesn’t count. Neither does clearing off your desk, if you swipe the mess into a bin, or a desk drawer.

                                A relatively neat and orderly office space clears the way for higher productivity and less wasted time.

                                Organizing your office doesn’t have to take days, it can be done a little at a time. In fact, maintaining an organized office is much more effective if you treat it like an on-going project, instead of a massive assault.

                                So, if you’re ready to get started, the following organizing tips will help you transform your office into an efficient workspace.

                                1. Purge Your Office

                                De-clutter, empty, shred, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Look around. What haven’t you used in a while?

                                Take one area at a time. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or toss it. If you haven’t used it in months and can’t think of when you’ll actually need it, out it goes. This goes for furniture, equipment, supplies, etc.

                                Advertising

                                Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants (real or artificial), and decorations – if they’re covered with dust and make your office look shabby, they’re fair game.

                                2. Gather and Redistribute

                                Gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does.

                                3. Establish Work “Zones”

                                Decide what type of activity happens in each area of your office. You’ll probably have a main workspace (most likely your desk,) a reference area (filing cabinet, shelves, binders,) and a supply area (closet, shelves or drawers.)

                                Place the appropriate equipment and supplies are located in the proper area as much as possible.

                                4. Close Proximity

                                Position the equipment and supplies that you use most within reach. Things that you rarely use can be stored or put away.

                                5. Get a Good Labeler

                                Choose a label maker that’s simple to use. Take the time to label shelves, bins, baskets drawers. Not only will it remind you where things go, but it will also help others who may have a need to find, use, or put away anything in your workspace.

                                6. Revise Your Filing System

                                As we move fully into the digital age, the need to store paper files has decreased.

                                Advertising

                                What can your store digitally? Are you duplicating files? You may be able to eliminate some of the files and folders you’ve used in the past. If you’re storing files on your computer, make sure you are doing regular back-ups.

                                Here’re some storage ideas for creating a smooth filing system:

                                • Create a meeting folder – Put all “items to be discussed” in there along with items that need to be handed off, reports that need to be given, etc. It’ll help you be prepared for meetings and save you stress in the even that a meeting is moved up.
                                • Create a WOR folder – So much of our messy papers are things that are on hold until someone else responds or acts. Corral them in a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder. Check it every few days for outstanding actions you may need to follow-up on.
                                • Storage boxes – Use inexpensive storage boxes to keep archived files and get them out of your current file space.
                                • Magazine boxes – Use magazine boxes or binders to store magazines and catalogs you really want to store. Please make sure you really need them for reference or research, otherwise recycle them, or give away.
                                • Reading folder – Designate a file for print articles and documents you want to read that aren’t urgent.
                                • Archive files – When a project is complete, put all of the materials together and file them away. Keep your “working folders” for projects in progress.
                                • File weekly – Don’t let your filing pile up. Put your papers in a “To File” folder and file everything once a week.

                                Learn more tips on organizing your files here: How to Organize Your Files for Better Productivity

                                7. Clear off Your Desk

                                Remove everything, clean it thoroughly and put back only those items that are essential for daily use.

                                If you have difficulty declutter stuff, this Declutter Formula will help you throw away stuff without regretting later.

                                8. Organize your Desktop

                                Now that you’ve streamlined your desktop, it’s a good idea to organize it.

                                Use desktop organizers or containers to organize the items on your desk. Use trays for papers, containers for smaller items.

                                Advertising

                                Don’t forget your computer desktop! Make sure the files or images are all in organized folders. I’d recommend you clear your computer desktop everyday before you leave work.

                                9. Organize Your Drawers

                                Put items used together in the same drawer space, stamps with envelopes, sticky pads with notepads, etc.

                                Use drawer organizers for little items – paper clips, tacks, etc. Use a separate drawer for personal items.

                                10. Separate Inboxes

                                If you work regularly with other people, create a folder, tray, or inbox for each.

                                11. Clear Your Piles

                                Hopefully with your new organized office, you won’t create piles of paper anymore, but you still have to sort through the old ones.

                                Go through the pile (a little at a time if necessary) and put it in the appropriate place or dump it.

                                12. Sort Mails

                                Don’t just stick mail in a pile to be sorted or rifle through and take out the pieces you need right now. Sort it as soon as you get it – To act, To read, To file, To delegate or hand off. .

                                Advertising

                                13. Assign Discard Dates

                                You don’t need to keep every piece of paper indefinitely. Mark on files or documents when they can be tossed or shredded.

                                Some legal or financial documents must be kept for specified length of time. Make sure you know what those requirements are.

                                14. Filter Your Emails

                                Some emails are important to read, others are just not that important.

                                When you use the filter system to label different types of emails, you know their priority and which to reply first.

                                Take a look at these tips to achieve inbox zero: The Ultimate Way to get to Inbox Zero

                                15. Straighten Your Desk

                                At the end of the day, do a quick straighten, so you have a clean start the next day.

                                Bottom Line

                                Use one tip or try them all. The amount of effort you put into creating and maintaining an efficient work area will pay off in a big way.

                                Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles, you’ll be able to spend your time…well…working and you’ll enjoy being clutter free!

                                More Organizing Hacks

                                Featured photo credit: Alesia Kazantceva via unsplash.com

                                Read Next