19 of The Most Successful People (Ever) Who Failed at Their First Try


Just so you know, you don’t have to get it right the first time, as long as you don’t give up, you are not a failure yet. No matter what has happened in the past, you can always try again until you it right. “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” - Zig Ziglar.

These are some of the most successful people (ever), but guess what they all failed at a point in their lives before finally becoming global icons. When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.

1./   Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade. He was defeated in every public office role he ran for. Then he became the British prime minister at the age of 62.

2./ Thomas Edison‘s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Edison also famously invented 1,000 light bulbs before creating one that worked.

3./ Harland David Sanders, the famous KFC “Colonel,” couldn’t sell his chicken. More than 1,000 restaurants rejected him. But then one didn’t, and today there are KFC restaurants bearing his image all over the world.

4./ R.H. Macy had a history failing businesses, including a dud Macy’s in NYC. But Macy kept up the hard work and ended up with the biggest department store in the world.

5./ Steven Spielberg was rejected from his dream school, the University of Southern California, three times. He sought out an education somewhere else and dropped out to be a director.

6./ Charlie Chaplin‘s act was rejected by executives because they thought it was too obscure for people to understand. But then they took a chance on Chaplin, who went on to become America’s first bona fide movie star.

7./ Marilyn Monroe‘s first contract with Columbia Pictures expired because they told her she wasn’t pretty or talented enough to be an actress. Monroe kept plugging away and is one of the most iconic actresses and sex symbols of all time.

8./ Soichiro Honda was passed over for an engineering job at Toyota and left unemployed. But then he began making motorcycles, started a business and became a billionaire.

9./ Vera Wang failed to make the U.S. Olympic figure-skating team. Then she became an editor at Vogue and was passed over for the editor-in-chief position. She began designing wedding gowns at 40 and today is the premier designer in the business, with a multi-billion dollar industry.

10./ Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Several more of his businesses failed before the premiere of his movie Snow White. Today, most childhoods wouldn’t be the same without his ideas.

11./ Albert Einstein didn’t speak until age four and didn’t read until age seven. His teachers labeled him “slow” and “mentally handicapped.” But Einstein just had a different way of thinking. He later won the Nobel prize in physics.

12./ Charles Darwin was considered an average student. He gave up on a career in medicine and was going to school to become a parson. But as Darwin studied nature, he found his calling.

13./ Sir Isaac Newton was tasked with running the family farm but was a miserable failure.  Newton was sent off to Cambridge University and became a physics scholar.

14./ Dick Cheney flunked out of Yale twice. George W. Bush once joked: “So now we know –if you graduate from Yale, you become president. If you drop out, you get to be vice president.”

15./ Oprah Winfrey was fired from her television reporting job because they told her she wasn’t fit to be on screen. But Winfrey rebounded and became the undisputed queen of television talk shows. She’s also a billionaire.

16./ Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his entire life, to a friend. He sometimes starved in order to create the 800 paintings he’d eventually do. Today, his works are priceless.

17./ Henry Ford‘s first auto company went out of business. He abandoned a second because of a fight and a third went downhill because of declining sales. He went on to become one of the greatest American entrepreneurs ever.

18./ While developing his vacuum, Sir James Dyson went through 5,126 failed prototypes and his savings over 15 years. But the 5,127th prototype worked and now the Dyson brand is the best-selling vacuum cleaner in the United States.

19./ J.K. Rowling was unemployed, divorced and raising a daughter on social security while writing the first Harry Potter novel.  J.K. Rowling is now internationally renowned for her 7 book Harry Potter series and is the first person to become a billionaire from writing

It’s pretty clear that failure is part of our entrepreneurial life. Failing is ok, actually your learn through failures. Don’t give up just yet.

Courtesy Simmi Jhann

Image (sticky-quotes.com)


3 Comments

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  1. Benson Wong

    I really enjoy motivational articles such as these. They also provide such great insight that many people give up when what they are looking for might just be around the corner had they simply persevered.

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