Top 12 Most Influential Failure to Success Stories of All Time

36 replies
Inspiration galore: Top 12 Most Influential Failure to Success Stories of All Time

1. Michael Jordan - Missed more than 9,000 shots over 3,000 games. 26 times he was trusted to the game winning shot and missed. M.J. was kicked off the high school basketball team, he went home locked himself in his closet and cried. Jordan is considered the greatest professional basketball player of all time. He was elected to the basketball hall of fame, won countless awards including 5 MVP awards, is a 6 time NBA Champion and 4 time NBA All-Star.

2.The Beatles - Turned down by the Decca recording Studio who said, "We don't like their sound and guitar is on it's way out." After finally signing a deal they became the most successful and loved act in history. They have had more number one albums on the charts in the UK, and held down the top spot longer than any other musical act. The Beatles have sold more in the US than any other artist in history.

3.Thomas Edison - He was told, "He was too stupid to learn anything, and that he should go into a field where he would succeed by the virtue of his pleasant personality." Edison failed at making the light bulb 10,000 times before succeeding and when asked how he felt about it he said.

4. Walt Disney - Was fired from a newspaper for "lacking originality and having no creative ideas of his own." Disney became one of the best known motion picture producers in the world. The Walt Disney corporation today has annual revenues of over 35 billion dollars. He received 59 Academy award nominations, 22 of which he won, and won 26 Oscars.

5. Henry Ford - He failed and went broke five times before successfully creating the first Model T car. The Model T revolutionized the automobile and transportation industries forever. Ford was a prolific inventor and was awarded 161 US patents. He also is responsible for Fordism - that is the mass production of a large number of inexpensive automobiles using an assembly line style of production, coupled with higher than average wages and benefits for the workers.

6. Albert Einstein - His parents and teachers where worried he was mentally challenged because he didn't speak until he was 4 and didn't read until the age of 7. Einstein was described as "Mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift in foolish dreams." It was said "He won't go very far in life." He is now known as the father of theoretical physics, and is considered to be one of the most influential influential people in history. He is best known for discovering the theory of relativity and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.

7. Charlie Chaplin - Was initially rejected by Hollywood executives because they felt "His act was nonsense." Chaplin was one of the most creative and influential personalities of the silent film era, he brought joy and laughter to a tired war torn world. He is one of the best know actors and directors in the world.

8. Elvis Presley - After his first performance the king was told "You ain't going nowhere son, you outta go back to driving a truck." He became the King of Rock almost overnight, toppling the charts with one smash hit after another. He is the best-selling solo artist of all time. Presley is honored in four music halls of fame. He won three Grammy s, and the Grammy lifetime achievement award at age 36.

9. Steven Spielberg - Rejected by the use film school 3 times, Steven Spielberg dropped out of high school and was "Talked into"coming back as a part of a disabled learning class. He lasted a month, and his career started as a un-paid, seven-day-a-week editing intern. Spielberg has won two academy awards for best director, and three of his films have achieved box office records. Each becoming the highest grossing film at the time.

10. J.K. Rowling - Was a single parent living on welfare when she started writing the famous Harry Potter series. The book was rejected by the first twelve publishers before a small London publisher accepted it. Within five years she amassed a fortune with the series gaining worldwide attention. She has won multiple awards, sold millions of copies, and the books have been the basis for a very popular and financially successful series of films.

11. Steve Jobs - At 30 years old he was left devastated and depressed after being ceremoniously removed from the company he started. He moved on and founded Apple Inc, and was the Co-founder of Pixar animation studios. His companies are know as leading innovators of their respected industries, both of which have cult like followings.

12. Sylvester Stallone - Had to sell his dog for $50 in order to survive and it broke his heart, his wife left him. After watching an Ali and Weppner fight he came up with story of Rocky and spent 24 straight hours writing it. Stallone was denied more than 2,000 times when attempting to sell the rights to Rocky. He was finally offered $100,000 for the screenplay as long as he wouldn't play the part of Rocky, he refused the offer. He was broke and nearly homeless in a New York Winter when he settled for $25,000 and the main role as the Italian Stallion. He took the money, waited in front of the store where he sold his dog for three days, he eventually bought the dog back for $15,000. He has become, and still is one of the most successful film stars in United States history.
#failure #influential #stories #success #time #top
  • Profile picture of the author natebunger
    I was really interested with Albert Einstein because as mentioned, he was really slow when he was a toddler growing up. Parents are worried when their children are not learning fast like the others but they shouldn't pressure their kids like this. I've read articles though that there's a connection between mental illness and being a genius.

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  • These are truly inspirational stories.

    I did not know that Michael Jordan failed in basketball many times in high school; it just shows that failures often turn ordinary people into greats.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Ten
    Henry Ford is quite amazing to think about, it seems. It seems that he was not wildly successful until his forties. If he gave up in his twenties or thirties, then life on Earth may be quite different than it is today.
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  • Profile picture of the author Diversion52
    That bit about Sylvester Stallone really got to me. That is beautiful.

    P.S - Albert Einstein wasn't awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It was the Nobel Prize in Physics.
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    • Profile picture of the author devonm
      Originally Posted by Diversion52 View Post

      That bit about Sylvester Stallone really got to me. That is beautiful.

      P.S - Albert Einstein wasn't awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It was the Nobel Prize in Physics.
      The Sylvester Stallone got me too. I nearly cried because I know what it is like to "lose" things. I think a dog is worse, though to lose than things, but, still.
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  • Profile picture of the author sidneyng
    The difference between a big shot and a small shooter?

    The big shot fires at the same point over and over and over again when all the small shooters have given up.
    I think you can also add Abraham Lincoln to the list. He has got one of the most interesting biographies next to Teddy Roservelt....
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  • Profile picture of the author chg
    This was a very inspiring list. Thank you!

    Albert Einstein..."mentally challenged"...the irony lol
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    • Profile picture of the author singhavn
      Originally Posted by chg View Post

      This was a very inspiring list. Thank you!

      Albert Einstein..."mentally challenged"...the irony lol
      It's not Irony, It's god grace on them.
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      • Profile picture of the author jllagu01
        I've seen this list many times over on forwarded emails and websites I visited somewhere but the stories of these people are just timeless. Failing at something---once, twice or many times, is something that anyone has to go through. It's tough but life's like that. It's very important to learn from your failures and get inspired by these successful people's stories in order to grow personally in things that we try to endeavor. If they can be successful after many failed attempts, why can't you?
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Shelton
    Reading your list, it's almost like if you aren't rejected at the start, then you are doing something wrong - you aren't original enough or revolutionary enough. So you might think about taking this excellent list and refer back to it when you are rejected, even rejected over and over again - maybe it is because you are on the right track.
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  • Profile picture of the author joesfortune
    Very encouraging thread.

    Joseph M. Dabon
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  • Profile picture of the author jay walters
    I truly admired what these men and women are. They are an inspiration to all of us.
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  • Profile picture of the author herisetiyawan
    It's amazing..Not everyone has this kind of determination and never give up mentality..the most popular of the stories above is thomas edison..If I were him may be I will give up and not continue the project..
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  • Profile picture of the author HeadStartSEO
    How about the two richest men in human history?

    1. Rothschild
    2. Rockefeller

    Their level of discipline must have been on par with Jesus Christ or Buddha.
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  • Profile picture of the author tobyjensen
    The Thomas Edison reference ended without the quote. Here is one of them since he said it in a few different ways:

    Quote Investigator: The earliest evidence QI has located for this tale was written in 1910 in a comprehensive two volume biography called “Edison: His Life and Inventions”. The anecdote was told by a long-time associate of Edison’s named Walter S. Mallory. Edison and his researchers had been working on the development of a nickel-iron battery for more than five months when Mallory visited Edison in his laboratory. The key dialog below has been highlighted with boldface [WMTE]:

    I found him at a bench about three feet wide and twelve to fifteen feet long, on which there were hundreds of little test cells that had been made up by his corps of chemists and experimenters. He was seated at this bench testing, figuring, and planning. I then learned that he had thus made over nine thousand experiments in trying to devise this new type of storage battery, but had not produced a single thing that promised to solve the question. In view of this immense amount of thought and labor, my sympathy got the better of my judgment, and I said: ‘Isn’t it a shame that with the tremendous amount of work you have done you haven’t been able to get any results?’ Edison turned on me like a flash, and with a smile replied: ‘Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work.’

    He went on to say similar things about the invention of the light bulb and his other inventions as well.

    Toby Jensen - Invest in what works this time

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  • This is why failure is always an option! That stumbling block might just be your stepping stone to move on to bigger and better things.
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  • Profile picture of the author streetpipscom
    Very inspiring stories, love it!
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  • Profile picture of the author celebcaleb
    I find Abraham Lincoln's story very inspirational.
    Here is what his life was like before becoming the president.
    His family was forced out of their home AND He had to work to support them
    His mother died
    Failed in business
    Ran for State legislature –lost
    Also lost his job-wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
    Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year
    He was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
    Ran for state legislature again—won
    Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken
    Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months
    Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
    Sought to become elector – defeated
    Ran for Congress –lost
    Ran for Congress again – this time he won-went to Washington and did a good job
    Ran for re-election to Congress-lost
    Sought the job of land officer in his home state-rejected
    Ran for Senate of the United States-lost
    Sought the Vice Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – got less than 100 votes
    Ran for U.S. Senate again- again he lost
    Elected President of the United States.
    How cool is that?
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    • Profile picture of the author Vikram Anand
      Originally Posted by celebcaleb View Post

      I find Abraham Lincoln's story very inspirational.
      Here is what his life was like before becoming the president.
      His family was forced out of their home AND He had to work to support them
      His mother died
      Failed in business
      How cool is that?
      No doubt, Abraham Lincoln's story is the greatest failure to success one. He was like the sphinx rising from the ashes of failures!!
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  • Profile picture of the author mistermuscles
    How inspirational to read those examples.

    I wasn't aware of Sylvester Stallone's earlier problems but he certainly went through the tough times to get to where he is now.
    Without wanting to sound negative I sometimes wonder about the many people who must have refused to give up on their dream and who continued to fight against all odds, refusing to give in, but yet they never did receive recognition or success.

    There must be people to whom that happened.

    But, for me, knowing that everyone who perseveres will automatically be successful only drives me forward because the alternative would be to give up and to stop moving forward.

    For me that would be worse than not succeeding - to have given up.
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    • Profile picture of the author FeelGoodIQ
      Interesting thread. All too often in business for example, we only hear about the success stories and in this day and age it seems like someone can create an app on Monday and make millions by Friday. Most "overnight" successes were anything but that. Good to keep that in perspective when working towards our goals.

      Digital self improvement programs from stress relief, improving sleep, weight loss, relationship advice and more.

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  • Profile picture of the author N!cklas
    Inspiring and interesting, thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author hackmypad
    Amazing success stories..One of theme(stallone) is one of my favorite actors..
    We have to remember these incredible people when we plan to give up one day....
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  • Profile picture of the author kite6w
    All these stories are the best. I read biography book for a couple of those mentioned. Really inspiring. Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author AlexGeorge
    I love reading stories like this. I always like to think of failure being one step closer to success. Most people don't realize how close they are to success when they give up, and that's why most people fail. I really love the ones about Michael Jordan, Steven Spielberg and The Beatles.
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  • They are really an inspiring people and most influential people and it really proves that even most people that we are idolized they really endure failures in life before they became successful.
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  • Profile picture of the author abdovic
    It is often said that misery loves company. Does your current conversation partner really want to share their misery? I met too many people in recent years as its default mode is what I call "poor devil of me." I recognize easily have used it myself in my early years. Many people find it is easier to share with others how horrible life feast instead of sharing successes. the logical conclusion would be that if you come from a position of self-pity, then it is unlikely to have a collection of success stories.

    Many of our mothers taught us not to talk about ourselves. "Nobody likes braggers!" Walt Whitman is quoted as saying: "If you did, it does not boast" Although not grammatically correct, is the essence of sharing your story..
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  • Profile picture of the author workdfitness
    I really enjoyed this post. It is awesome to see what happens when people don't give up. Thanks for sharing this.
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  • Very good collection of personalities to view their successes through trails of failure. It is quite amazing how life hauls us around through this and that, up and down, left and right. But before you know it there you are realizing you are witnessing the stories of your self and the many you know. Giant successes like the examples you gave will often have associated with them profound inner spiritual transformations. (Life changing personal experiences) These experiences seem to lead them on to some special amazing efforts to succeed. Persistence always seem to be present. (Oh and did I mention brilliance!)

    Thank you,

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    • Profile picture of the author Augustine M
      These stories bring out the clear distinction between failure and temporary defeat...


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  • Profile picture of the author seonutshell
    Can you find any stories about people who built something up, lost it all, and then became succesful again? I love those.
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  • Profile picture of the author JCodex
    very inspirational sories. many thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author shivcb
    Thanks for motivational story's.
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  • Profile picture of the author javrsmith
    I didn't know that about the Beatles.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheZadoo
      Good post. A great read if you are feeling defeated!
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