!!! DON’T GIVE UP !!! NEVER !!! NEVER !!! NEVER !!!
Famous People: Harrison & Henry Ford, Walton, Macy, Honda, Sony, Gates, Disney, Einstein, Edison, Wrights, Churchill, Lincoln, Oprah, etc. Spielberg, Elvis, Beatles, Babe Ruth, J.K. Rowling.
Best Advise. As a Career Success Coach, I always advise my clients to stick with it – to demonstrate their commitment to their career success to themselves & others – by bouncing back from setbacks & moving forward. I doesn’t matter if they’re interested in starting a Business, or advancing their Career in their current company.
Fab 50. the stories of “50 Famously Successful People Who Failed at First.” These people come from all walks of life. But they shared one characteristic in common — the commitment to their own career success.
50 famously Successful People who Failed at First
“Not everyone who’s on top today got there with success after success. More often than not, those who history best remembers were faced with numerous obstacles that forced them to work harder and show more determination than others. Next time you’re feeling down about your failures, keep these 50 famous people in mind, then remind yourself that sometimes failure is just the first step towards success.” – Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz
1. Business Gurus
These businessmen and the companies they founded are today known around the world, but as these stories show, their beginnings weren’t always smooth.
Henry Ford: While Ford is today known for his innovative assembly line and American-made cars, he wasn’t an instant success. In fact, his early businesses failed and left him broke 5 times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.
Sam Walton: after College in 1940, went into Training program at JC Penney and stayed only 18 mo. WWII had called. He bought & managed 1st Ben Franklin variety store in 1945 and expanded to 15 in 20 years. Sam opened the first Wal-Mart store in 1962 and slowly grew, because it offered lower $$$ than competitors. It now has over 11,000 stores in 28 countries and is largest corp in world. Sam followed competitive rules: “Better” (products & service) “Faster” (delivery) & “Cheaper”.
R.H. Macy: Most people are familiar with this large dept store chain, but Macy didn’t always have it easy. Macy started 7 failed business before finally hitting big with his store in New York City.
Soichiro Honda: The $B business that is Honda began with a series of failures and fortunate turns of luck. Honda was turned down by Toyota for a job after interviewing for a job as an Engineer, leaving him jobless for quite some time. He started making scooters of his own at home, and spurred on by his neighbors, finally started his own Auto business.
Akio Morita of Sony – whose first product was a Rice Cooker that unfortunately didn’t cook rice so much as burn it, selling < 100 units. This first setback didn’t stop Morita and his partners as they pushed forward to create a multi-$B company.
Bill Gates didn’t seem like a shoe-in for success after dropping out of Harvard. He started & failed at his first business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data. While this early idea didn’t work, Gates’ later work did, creating the global empire that is Microsoft.
Colonel Sanders had a hard time selling his chicken at first. In fact, his famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times from Ky to Or – before the 1st restaurant accepted it.
Walt Disney – whose companies rake in $B’s from merchandise, movies & theme parks around the world. Walt Disney had a bit of a rough start. He was fired by a newspaper Editor because, “he lacked imagination & had no good ideas.” After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last too long and ended with Bankruptcy and failure. He kept plugging along, however, and eventually found a recipe for success that worked.
2.Scientists & Thinkers
These people are often regarded as some of the greatest minds of our century, but they often had to face great obstacles, the ridicule of their peers & the animosity of society.
Albert Einstein: Most of us take Einstein’s name as synonymous with Genius, but he didn’t always show such promise. As a child, Einstein did not speak until he was 4 and did not read until he was 7, causing his teachers & parents to think he was mentally handicapped, slow & anti-social. Eventually, he was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. It might have taken him a bit longer, but most people would agree that he caught on pretty well in the end, winning the Nobel Prize & changing the face of modern Physics.
Charles Darwin: In his early years, Darwin gave up on having a Medical career and was often chastised by his father for being lazy & too dreamy. Darwin himself wrote, “I was considered by all my masters & my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect.” Perhaps they judged too soon, as Darwin today is well-known for his scientific studies.
Robert Goddard today is hailed for his research and experimentation with liquid-fueled Rockets, but during his lifetime his ideas were often rejected & mocked by his scientific peers – who thought they were outrageous & impossible. Today Rockets & Space Travel don’t seem far-fetched at all, due largely in part to the work of this scientist who worked against the feelings of the time.
Isaac Newton was undoubtedly a genius – when it came to math, but he had some failings early on. He never did particularly well in school and when put in charge of running the family farm, he failed miserably. In fact, so poorly that an Uncle took charge and sent him off to Cambridge Univ where he finally blossomed into the Scholar we know today.
Socrates: Despite leaving no written records behind, Socrates is regarded as one of the greatest Philosophers ever. Because of his new ideas, in his own time he was called “an immoral corrupter of youth” and was sentenced to death. Socrates didn’t let this stop him and kept right on, teaching up until he was forced to poison himself.
These Inventors changed the face of the modern world, but not without a few failed prototypes along the way.
Thomas Edison: In his early years, teachers told Edison he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Work was no better, as he was fired from his first 2 jobs for not being productive enough. Even as an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Of course, all those unsuccessful attempts finally resulted in the design that worked.
Wright Brothers battled depression & family illness, before starting the Bicycle shop that would lead them to experimenting with flight. After numerous attempts at creating flying machines, several years of hard work, and tons of failed prototypes, the brothers finally created a plane that could get airborne and stay there.
4. Public Figures
From politicians to talk show hosts, these figures had a few failures before they came out on top.
Winston Churchill: This Nobel Prize-winning, twice-elected Prime Minster of England wasn’t always as well regarded as he is today. Churchill struggled in school and failed the 6th grade. After school he faced many years of political failures, as he was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister at the ripe old age of 62.
Abraham Lincoln: In his youth he went to war as an Officer & came back the lowest Enlisted. Lincoln didn’t stop failing there, however. He started numerous failed business and was defeated in numerous runs he made for public office.
Oprah Winfrey faced a hard road to get to where she is today. Enduring a rough – and often abusive – childhood as well as numerous career setbacks including being fired from her job as a TV reporter because she was “unfit for TV.”
Harry Truman: This WWI vet, Senator, VP – and eventual President eventually found success in his life. It was not without a few missteps along the way. Truman started a Store that sold silk shirts and other clothing–seemingly a success at first–only go bankrupt a few years later.
Dick Cheney: This recent VP & Businessman eventually made his way to the White House, but managed to flunk out of Yale University, not once, but twice. Former President Bush joked with Cheney about this fact, stating, “So now we know –if you graduate from Yale, you become President. If you drop out, you get to be Vice President.”
5. Hollywood Types
These faces ought to be familiar from the big screen, but these actors, actresses & directors saw their fair share of rejection & failure before they made it big.
Fred Astaire: In his first screen test, the testing director of MGM noted that Astaire, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Astaire went on to become an incredibly successful actor, singer & dancer and kept that note in his Beverly Hills home to remind him of where he came from.
Sidney Poitier: After his first audition, Poitier was told by the Casting director, “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?” Poitier vowed to show him that he could make it, going on to win an Oscar and become one of the most well-regarded actors in the business.
Jeanne Moreau: As a young actress just starting out, this French actress was told by a Casting director that she was simply not pretty enough to make it in films. He couldn’t have been more wrong – as Moreau when on to star in nearly 100 films & win awards for her performances.
Charlie Chaplin: It’s hard to imagine film without the iconic Charlie Chaplin, but his act was initially rejected by Hollywood studio chiefs because they felt it was a little too non-sensical to ever sell.
Lucille Ball: During her career, Ball had 13 Emmy nominations & 4 wins, also earning the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center. Before starring in “I Love Lucy”, Ball was widely regarded as a failed actress & a B movie star. Even her Drama instructors didn’t feel she could make it, telling her to try another profession. She, of course, proved them all wrong.
Harrison Ford: In his first film, Ford was told by the movie execs that he simply didn’t have what it takes to be a star. Today, with numerous hits under his belt, iconic portrayals of characters like Han Solo & Indiana Jones + a career that stretches decades, Ford can proudly show that he does, in fact, have what it takes.
Marilyn Monroe: While her star burned out early, she did have a period of great success in her life. Despite a rough upbringing and being told by modeling agents that she should instead consider being a Secretary, Monroe became a pin-up, model & top actress that still strikes a chord with people today.
Oliver Stone: This Oscar-winning Filmmaker began his first novel while at Yale, a project that eventually caused him to fail at school. This would turn out to be a poor decision as the text was rejected by publishers and was not published until 1998, and it was not well-received. After dropping out of school, Stone moved to Vietnam to teach English, later enlisting in the Army and fighting in the war – including a battle that earned 2 Purple Hearts and helped him find the inspiration for his later work – that often center around war.
6. Writers & Artists
We’ve all heard about starving artists & struggling writers, but these stories show that sometimes all that work really does pay off with success in the long run – especially with the toaster shown here at list of the best bread toasters currently available.
Vincent Van Gogh: During his lifetime, Van Gogh sold only one painting, and this was to a friend for only for a very small amount of money. While Van Gogh was never a success during his life, he plugged on with painting, sometimes starving to complete his over 800 known works. Today, they bring in hundreds of millions.
Emily Dickinson: a recluse & poet, Emily is a commonly read & loved writer. Yet in her lifetime she was all but ignored, having fewer than a dozen poems published out of her almost 1,800 completed works.
Dr Seuss: Today nearly every child has read The Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs, yet 27 different publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first book “To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
Charles Schultz’s Peanuts comic strip has had enduring fame, yet this Cartoonist had every cartoon he submitted rejected by his HS yearbook staff. Even after HS, Schultz didn’t have it easy, applying, then being rejected for a position working with Walt Disney.
Steven Spielberg: While today Spielberg’s name is synonymous with big budget SciFi, he was rejected from the Univ of So Calif – School of Theater, Film & Television 3 times. He eventually attended school at another location, only to drop out to become a Director before finishing. Thirty-five years after starting his degree, Spielberg returned to school in 2002 to finally complete his work & earn his BA.
Stephen King: The first book by this author – the iconic thriller “Carrie” – received 30 rejections, finally causing King to give up & throw it in the trash. His wife fished it out and encouraged him to re-submit it, and the rest is history. King has now had hundreds of books published and the distinction of being one of the best-selling authors of all time.
Zane Grey: Incredibly popular in the early 20th century, this Adventure Book writer began his career as a Dentist, something he quickly began to hate. So, he began to write, only to see rejection after rejection for his works, being told eventually – that he had no business being a Writer and should give it up. It took him years, but at 40, Zane finally got his first work published, leaving him with almost 90 books to his name and selling over 50 million copies worldwide.
J.K. Rowling may be rolling in a lot of Harry Potter $$$ today, but before she published the series of novels she was nearly penniless, severely depressed, divorced, trying to raise a child on her own – while attending school & writing a novel. Rowling went from depending on welfare to survive, to being one of the richest women in the world in a span of only 5 years thru her hard work & determination.
Monet: Today his work sells for millions of $$$ and hangs in some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Yet during his own time, it was mocked & rejected by the artistic elite, the Paris Salon. Monet kept at his impressionist style, which caught on – and in many ways – was a starting point for some major changes to art that ushered in the modern era.
Jack London: This well-known American author wasn’t always such a success. While he would go on to publish popular novels like “White Fang” & “The Call of the Wild”, his first story received 600 rejection slips, before finally being accepted.
Louisa May Alcott: Most people are familiar with Alcott’s most famous work, “Little Women”. Yet she faced a bit of a battle to get her work out there and was encouraged to find work as a Servant by her family to make ends meet. It was her letters back home during her experience as a nurse in the Civil War that gave her the first big break she needed.
While their music is some of the best selling, best loved & most popular around the world today, these musicians show that it takes a whole lot of determination to achieve success.
Mozart -who began composing at the age of five, writing over 600 pieces of music that today are lauded as some of the best ever created. Yet during his lifetime, Mozart didn’t have such an easy time, and was often restless, leading to his dismissal from a position as a Court Musician in Salzberg in Germany. He struggled to keep the support of the aristocracy and died with little to his name.
Elvis: As one of the best-selling artists of all time, Elvis is still popular – even years after his death. But back in 1954, Elvis was still a nobody, and Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis after just one performance telling him, “You ain’t going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a Truck.”
Stravinsky: In 1913, when he debuted – his now famous Rite of Spring – audiences rioted, running the composer out of town. Yet it was this very work that changed the way composers in the 19th century thought about music & cemented his place in musical history.
The Beatles: Few people can deny the lasting power of this super group. Yet when they were just starting out, a recording company told them No. They were told “We don’t like your sound, & guitar music is on the way out,” Two things the rest of the world couldn’t have disagreed with more from their debut.
Beethoven: In his formative years, he was incredibly awkward on the violin and was often so busy working on his own compositions, that he neglected to practice. Despite his love of composing, his teachers felt he was hopeless at it and would never succeed with the violin or in composing. Beethoven kept plugging along, however, and composed some of the best-loved symphonies of all time–five of them while he was completely deaf.
While some athletes rocket to fame, others endure a path fraught with a little more adversity, like those listed here.
Michael Jordan: Most people wouldn’t believe that a man – often lauded as the “Best basketball player of all time” was actually cut from his HS basketball team. Luckily, Jordan didn’t let this setback stop him from playing the game and he has stated, “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.”
Arthur Ashe: This tennis player was rejected from even being a lowly ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because event organizers felt he was too clumsy & uncoordinated. He went on to prove them wrong, showcasing his not-so-clumsy skills by winning Wimbledon, U. S. Open & 8 Davis Cups.
Babe Ruth: You probably know him because of his home run record (714 during his career), but along with all those home runs came a pretty hefty amount of strikeouts as well (1,330 in all). In fact, for decades he held the Record for strikeouts. When asked about this he simply said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”
Tom Landry: As the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, he brought the team 2 Super Bowl victories, 5 NFC Championship victories, he holds the record for the most Career wins. He also has the distinction of having one of the worst first seasons on record (winning no games) and winning five or fewer over the next four seasons.
Conclusion: The point of this Post is simple. Successful people commit to taking personal responsibility for their success. They set high goals and do whatever it takes to achieve them, even if it means they have to buy 1 million YouTube views, or work 24/7. They also react positively to the people & events in their lives – especially the (-) people & events. In this post, I told the stories of 50 people who ended up being wildly successful & well known. Let them be an example for you the next time you feel like giving up.
Comments: Do you know anyone else that started from a low beginning and rose to be “highly successful” ?
fm a Career Mentor 3/20 and Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz
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