The Most Successful Failures Of All The Time

posted Aug 13, 2013, 3:14 AM by Maurice Nyamoti   [ updated Jan 19, 2015, 11:23 AM ]

The Most Successful Failures Of All The Time

J.K Rowling,
the author of Harry Potter, spoke to the graduating class of Harvard in June 2008. She didn’t talk about success. She talked about failures. Her own in particular. I absolutely love her quote.
“You might never fail on the scale I did,” Rowling told that privileged audience. “But it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.
She should know. The author didn’t magically become richer than the Queen of England overnight. Penniless, recently divorced, and raising a child on her own, she wrote the first Harry Potter book on an old manual typewriter.
Twelve publishers rejected the manuscript! A year later she was given the green light by Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury, who agreed to publish the book but insisted she get a day job cause there was no money in children’s books.
What if she stopped at the first rejection? The fifth? Or the tenth?
The measure of success can be shown by how many times someone keeps going despite hearing only no.
The following people are not the only ones who have succeeded despite failure and rejection.
I thought they would be the most interesting to you.
People who found success despite failures

Colonel Sanders : The founder of KFC. He started his dream at 65 years old! He got a social security check for only $105 and was mad. Instead of complaining he did something about it.
He thought restaurant owners would love his fried chicken recipe, use it, sales would increase, and he’d get a percentage of it. He drove around the country knocking on doors, sleeping in his car, wearing his white suit.
Do you know how many times people said no till he got one yes? 1009 times!

Walt Disney: The man who gave us Disney World and Mickey Mouse. His first animation company went banktrupt. He was fired by a news editor cause he lacked imagination. Legend has it he wasturned down 302 times before he got financing for creating Disney World.

Albert Eistein: He didn’t speak till he was four and didn’t read till seven. His parents and teachers thought he was mentally handicapped. He only turned out to win a Nobel prize and be the face of modern physics.

Richard Branson: He’s a billionaire mogul of Virgin but has had his share of failures. Remember Virgin Cola or Virgin credit cards? Probably not. He’s lost hundreds of millions of dollars but has not let failure stop him. When you’re rich like him you can rent his private island for $53,000 a night.

Mark Cuban: The billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks got rich when he sold his company to Yahoo for $5.9 billion in stock. He admitted he was terrible at his early jobs. His parents wanted him to have a normal job. So he tried carpentry but hated it. He was a short order cook but a terrible one. He waited tables but couldn’t open a bottle of wine. He says of his failures,
“I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how many times you failed,” Cuban says. “You only have to be right once. I tried to sell powdered milk. I was an idiot lots of times, and I learned from them all.”

Vincent Van Gogh: He only sold one painting in his lifetime! Just one to a friend. Despite that he kept painting and finished over 800 pieces. Now everyone wants to buy them and his most expensive painting is valued at $142.7 million.

Theodor Seuss Giesel: Dr. Seuss gave us Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. Books every child reads. At first many didn’t think he would succeed. 27 different publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first book To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

John Grisham: The American author first was a lawyer who loved to write. His first book A Time to Kill took three years to write. The book was rejected 28 times until he got one yes for a 5,000 copy print. He’s sold over 250 million total copies of his books.

Steven Spielberg: He applied and was denied two times to the prestigious University of Southern California film school. Instead he went to Cal State University in Long Beach.
He went on to direct some of the biggest movie blockbusters in history. Now he’s worth $2.7 billion and in 1994 got an honorary degree from the film school that rejected him twice.

Stephen King: His first book Carrie was rejected 30 times and he threw it in the trash. His wife retrieved it out of the trash and encouraged him to resubmit it. The rest is history. He has sold more than 350 million copies of his books. (He’s also made many adults fear clowns too.)

Stephenie Meyer: The author of the crazy Twilight series said the inspiration from the book came from a dream. She finished it in three months but never intended to publish it until a friend suggested she should.
She wrote 15 letters to literary agencies. Five didn’t reply. Nine rejected. One gave her a chance. Then eight publishers auctioned for the right to publish Twilight. She got a three book deal worth $750,000. In 2010, Forbes reported she earned $40 million.

Tim Ferris: The man behind the 4 Hour Workweek, who changed how many people view work and life, was rejected by 26 publishers before one gave him a chance. It’s been on the bestseller’s list for years, sold all over the world, and last year published The 4 Hour Body that went to #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list.

The Beatles: They were rejected by many record labels. In a famous rejection, the label said,“”guitar groups are on the way out” and “the Beatles have no future in show business”.
After that the Beatles signed with EMI, brought Beatlemania to the United States, and became the greatest band in history.

Michael Jordan: He’s famous for being cut from his high school basketball team. He turned out to be the greatest basketball player but never let failure deter him. I love this quote…
“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.”

Thomas Edison: No list of success from failures would be complete without the man who gave us many inventions including the light bulb. He knew failure wouldn’t stop him.
If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.

MEET ABRAHAM LINCOLN


One of the most outstanding failures of all times is a man who lost his job in 1831, was defeated in the run for Illinois state legislature in 1832 and failed in business in 1833.
This successful failure was not about to give up yet. He still had more things to fail at.
In 1838 he was defeated in the contest for Illinois house speaker. In 1848, he was defeated in the nomination for US congress. In 1849, he was rejected for land officer position. He suffered another defeat in 1854 when he ran for the seat in US senate.
He tried the nomination for vice president in 1856 and he was defeated. In 1858, he again failed to win a seat in the US senate.
By this time, he had been defeated in practically every elective position he could run for. There was, however, a major one that he had not been yet vied for it. It is also important to note that whenever he got defeated at one level, he went higher next time.
As it turned out, the only office that this successful failure had not lost an attempt at was that of the president of the United States! In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States! It can aptly be said that he failed his way to the top.
This is the clearest demonstration that every failure you have experienced is too valuable to waste time crying about. Locate the ashes and begin to build again from there. The difference between you and the success you envy lies in the ability to build beauty from ashes********************

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