16 Most Inspiring Famous Failures

by 120 comments
I wrote and submit this articles to Ezinearticles 4 years ago and has constantly receive significant amount of views. This is a really good piece of article so I decided to share it with my fellow warriors.

To succeed in business or life. I come to realize that we must continually take remedial actions. Putting myself on the line day after day can be extremely draining, especially when things do not work out as I desired. Hence, each time I face a disappointing event or undesirable outcome, I NEVER FORGET these famous failures:

1. Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft, has literally changed the work culture of the world in the 21st century, by simplifying the way computer is being used. He happens to be the world's richest man for the last one decade. However, in the 70's before starting out, he was a Harvard University dropout. The most ironic part is that, he started a software company (that was soon to become Microsoft) by purchasing the software technology from "someone" for only $US50 back then.

2. Abraham Lincoln, received no more than 5 years of formal education throughout his lifetime. When he grew up, he joined politics and had 12 major failures before he was elected the 16th President of the United States of America.

3. Isaac Newton was the greatest English mathematician of his generation. His work on optics and gravitation made him one of the greatest scientists the world has even known. Many thought that Isaac was born a genius, but he wasn't! When he was young, he did very poorly in grade school, so poor that his teachers became clueless in improving his grades.

4. Ludwig van Beethoven, a German composer of classical music, is widely regarded as one of history's supreme composers. His reputation has inspired - and in many cases intimidated - composers, musicians, and audiences who were to come after him. Before the start of his career, Beethoven's music teacher once said of him "as a composer, he is hopeless". And during his career, he lost his hearing yet he managed to produce great music - a deaf man composing music, ironic isn't!

5. Thomas Edison who developed many devices which greatly influenced life in the 20th century. Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1,093 U.S patents to his name. When he was a boy his teacher told him he was too stupid to learn anything. When he set out on his own, he tried more than 9,000 experiments before he created the first successful light bulb.

6. The Woolworth Company was a retail company that was one of the original five-and-ten-cent stores. The first Woolworth's store was founded in 1878 by Frank Winfield Woolworth and soon grew to become one of the largest retail chains in the world in the 20th century. Before starting his own business, Woolworth got a job in a dry goods store when he was 21. But his employer would not let him serve any customer because he concluded that Frank "didn't have enough common sense to serve the customers".

7. By acclamation, Michael Jordon is the greatest basketball player of all time. A phenomenal athlete with a unique combination of grace, speed, power, artistry, improvisational ability and an unquenchable competitive desire. Jordan single-handedly redefined the NBA superstar. Before joining NBA, Jordan was just an ordinary person, so ordinary that was cut from high school basketball team because of his "lack of skill".

8. Walter Disney was American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, and animator. One of the most well-known motion picture producers in the world, Disney founded a production company. The corporation, now known as The Walt Disney company, makes average revenue of US $30 billion annually. Disney started his own business from his home garage and his very first cartoon production went bankrupt. During his first press conference, a newspaper editor ridiculed Walt Disney because he had no good ideas in film production.

9. Winston Churchill failed the 6th grade. However, that never stopped him to work harder! He strived and eventually became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. Churchill is generally regarded as one of the most important leaders in Britain and world history. In a poll conducted by the BBC in 2002 to identify the "100 Greatest Britons", participants voted Churchill as the most important of all.

10. Steven Spielberg is an American film director. He has won 3 Academy Awards an ranks among the most successful filmmakers in history. Most of all, Steven was recognized as the financially most successful motion picture director of all time. During his childhood, Spielberg dropped out of junior high school. He was persuaded to come back and was placed in a learning-disabled class. He only lasted a month and then dropped out of school forever.

11. Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist widely regarded as the most important scientist of the 20th century. He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect in 1905 and "for his services to Theoretical Physics". However, when Einstein was young, his parents thought he was mentally retarded. His grades in school were so poor that a teacher asked him to quit, saying, "Einstein, you will never amount to anything!"

12. In 1947, one year into her contract, Marilyn Monroe was dropped by 20th Century-Fox because her producer thought she was unattractive and cannot act. That didn't deter her at all! She kept on going and eventually she was recognized by the public as the 20th century's most famous movie star, sex symbol and pop icon.

13. John Grisham's first novel was rejected by sixteen agents and twelve publishing houses. He went on writing and writing until he became best known as a novelist and author for his works of modern legal drama. The media has coined him as one of the best novel authors even alive in the 21st century.

14. Henry Ford's first two automobile companies failed. That did not stop him from incorporating Ford Motor Company and being the first to apply assembly line manufacturing to the production of affordable automobiles in the world. He not only revolutionized industrial production in the United States and Europe, but also had such influence over the 20th century economy and society. His combination of mass production, high wages and low prices to consumers has initiated a management school known as "Fordism". He became one of the three most famous and richest men in the world during his time.

15. Soichiro Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation during a job interview as "engineer" after World War Two. He continued to be jobless until his neighbors starting buying his "home-made scooters". Subsequently, he set out on his own to start his own company. Honda. Today, the Company has grown to become the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer and one of the most profitable automakers - beating giant automaker such as GM and Chrysler. With a global network of 437 subsidiaries, Honda develops, manufactures, and markets a wide variety of products ranging from small general-purpose engines and scooters to specialty sports cars.

16. Akio Morita, founder of giant electric household products, Sony Corporation, first product was an electric rice cooker, only sold 100 cookers (because it burned rice rather than cooking). Today, Sony is generating US$66 billion in revenue and ranked as the world's 6th largest electronic and electrical company.

Add your own list if you have a fantastic stories about a successful person. I'm pretty sure the warrios will appreciate your contribution.

Send me a Thanks if you like it. Appreciated
#personal development #failures #famous #inspiring #successful people
  • Profile picture of the author SuccessWarrior
    Abraham Lincoln and Soichiro Honda were the first to come to my mind when I saw the title of the thread. Glad to see they both made the cut. Great list, thanks for sharing.
  • Profile picture of the author mervyngoh
    Thank for sharing and a big thank for u
  • Profile picture of the author Nail Yener
    That was a nice read Kenneth. I guess failure is a great motivation for people who take lessons from it and do better the next time. I believe that's why those famous people achieved great success after failing. I really liked Einstein's and Honda's story. Telling what they cannot do or turning them down work great on some people.
    • Profile picture of the author ccora
      These are great reminders that failures are basically learning experiences to help us for eventual success. Many thanks for this post.
  • Profile picture of the author omoblessed
    They all demostrated that through persistence any obstacles can be smarshed for success attained.
  • Profile picture of the author Joseph Robinson
    The Abraham Lincoln one was a surprise to me. I knew about the little formal education; but what were the 12 major failures?
    • Profile picture of the author Paul Parkhouse
      Originally Posted by Joe128139 View Post

      The Abraham Lincoln one was a surprise to me. I knew about the little formal education; but what were the 12 major failures?
      He had a business that failed (more than 1?)

      Rejected for law school

      Went bankrupt

      Spent 17 years in debt

      Lost his job

      Ran for state legislature and lost

      Ran for congress and lost (twice)

      Ran for senate and lost

      and there were quite a few more.
    • Profile picture of the author KingOfMusic
      Originally Posted by Joe128139 View Post

      The Abraham Lincoln one was a surprise to me. I knew about the little formal education; but what were the 12 major failures?
      I saw his one in detail somewhere last time and it was really amazing, I found this on Google:
      A list of Abraham Lincoln’s Failures:
      Lost job, 1832
      Defeated for legislature, 1832
      Failed in business, 1833
      Elected to legislature, 1834
      Sweetheart (Ann Rutledge) died, 1835
      Had nervous breakdown, 1836
      Defeated for Speaker, 1838
      Defeated for nomination for Congress, 1843
      Elected to Congress, 1846
      Lost renomination, 1848
      Rejected for Land Officer, 1849
      Defeated for Senate, 1854
      Defeated for nomination for Vice-President, 1856
      Again defeated for Senate, 1858
      Elected President, 1860

      Credit to: Famous Failures – Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan and More

      Thanks for sharing your article Kenneth!

  • Profile picture of the author Joseph Robinson
    Accidentally double posted.
  • Profile picture of the author ladywriter
    Einstein's story is amazing--he couldn't even get a job in physics so he had to work as a patent clerk. He told his family he was a failure.

    But his job at the patent office gave him a lot of extra time for the 'thought experiments' that lead to his major theories.
  • Profile picture of the author JingQuimPo
    Good thing you did not include the Online Gurus because it will fill up this whole page. They battle scars and battle stories that will make any IM cry :p
    Just wondering why is Steve Jobs not there?
    Nikola Tesla should be there but unfortunately overshadowed by Edison?

    Jing Quimpo
    -chinese proverb-
    You cannot prevent the birds of sadness from passing over your head, but you can prevent their making a nest in your hair
    • Profile picture of the author Simon Willis
      Jing Quimpo
      -chinese proverb-
      You cannot prevent the birds of sadness from passing over your head, but you can prevent their making a nest in your hair”[/QUOTE]

      How do you stop the birds of sadness (aka powers that be, government bureaucrats, private, hackers etc) shatting on you from a great height?
      I guess wear a hat (aka protection, fortify, take action etc.)
  • Profile picture of the author PepperVA
    As they say, if there exists no possibility of failure, then victory is meaningless.

    A very useful and inspiring post Kenneth. Great thanks!
  • Profile picture of the author Alfredo Carrion
    Where there's a will, there' always a way.
  • Profile picture of the author HolyWarrior
    There's an abundance of people like this, that's why many success coaches like Bob Proctor and Anthony Robbins really connect with their audience in regards to personal history, because they came from a place of massive failure where they had next to nothing, then rose up to become resounding successes.
    • Profile picture of the author KennethFoo
      Originally Posted by SEO Agency View Post

      Wonderful beat, I enjoy reading this...
      I'm glad you like it

      Originally Posted by Alfredo Carrion View Post

      Where there's a will, there' always a way.
      Very true, always know what you want.

      Originally Posted by PepperVA View Post

      As they say, if there exists no possibility of failure, then victory is meaningless.

      A very useful and inspiring post Kenneth. Great thanks!
      You're welcome PepperVA, good luck on your success!
  • Profile picture of the author kangtj
    Thanks for great post, those people really give inspirations to the world. I think to gain success, we must focus and persistence, even we must struggle and face some bad days.
  • Profile picture of the author jushuaburnham
    Very inspiring, I love reading this, very nice thread, like other I still wonder why don't include Abraham Lincoln.
  • Profile picture of the author hisham88
    Great post. Enjoy reading this. Where there's a will, there's always a way.
  • Profile picture of the author CharlieFiverr
    Thanks Ken for the list. I love reading stories like this!

    To add to the list...Donald Trump

    << From Wikipedia.com >>

    Donald Trump (billionaire, business tycoon, television personality and author)
    In 2011, Trump ranked No. 17 on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list.

    Early Failure (1989–1997)

    By 1989, the effects of the recession left Trump unable to meet loan payments. Trump financed the construction of his third casino, the $1 billion Taj Mahal.... by 1991 increasing debt brought Trump to business bankruptcy and the brink of personal bankruptcy.

    Banks and bond holders had lost hundreds of millions of dollars, but opted to restructure his debt to avoid the risk of losing more money in court.
    • Profile picture of the author Aubrey Chen
      So really, the biggest winners are the biggest losers ;


      The biggest winners are those who are not afraid to lose.

      Great post, I love reading inspiring success stories!

  • Profile picture of the author Eduard Stinga
    First to come to my mind was of course Einstein, guess he was the "most popular failure", at least in my circles.. It nice to read stories like these.
  • Profile picture of the author CharismaticMannequin
    Thankyou for this post. Very inspiring.

    "If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."

  • Profile picture of the author Onora Oz
    Spielberg's story really touched me. He probably had AD/HD right? In those dark ages, people did not know about things like AD/HD and they were locking kids out of society. And they were putting new-moms in mental hospitals because of what we know as post-partum depression nowadays.

    Thanks Kenneth, it was a nice read.
  • Profile picture of the author shawoon98
    Thanks man. Very very motivational. Thanks again.
    • Profile picture of the author Helena33
      Thomas Edison did 9000+ experiments before creating his first successful lightbulb?! Talk about perseverance! Thanks for sharing this inspiring post and showing us how if we all kept working hard towards our goals and never give up, we could also succeed and we don't have to be born geniuses to do it.
  • Profile picture of the author Newview
    Thank you for the great post! It takes the pain out of failure and replaces it with positive thoughts. Guess it really is true - out of the diseasters and the ashes grow the roses of success!

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