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 Potterauthor J.K. Rowling outlined the importance and value of failure.
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
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 Apple. Jobs 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!
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:
4. Albert Einstein
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
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
“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
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
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
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.
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
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:
Don’t be afraid to fail. In fact, start failing, and start failing often; that’s how you will succeed.