Successful People Who Failed (10 People Who Failed At First)

Successful People Who Failed

Success isn’t the end goal. You would think it is, but it’s actually just the byproduct of failure. Every emotion that you feel is a test to see what you will do. It is a test that will determine whether or not you give up to the face of failure. Whenever you look in the mirror and see a disappointment, remember that the current reflection is just the stepping stone to something greater. Remember that there are a large number of successful people who failed first.

The people who failed had just enough courage to persevere, and that’s what made their success. Below we review ten successful people who failed, overcame that failure, and then went on to accomplish great things.

1. J.K. Rowling

Picture yourself in the shoes of J.K. Rowling. You’re alone, depressed, and have a passion for writing. In your childhood, you looked up to many great writers, but now you’re lost.

Your husband left you almost on the streets with a young daughter, and your mother passed away once you finished writing the first chapter of your book.

Soon, after countless rejections, a company called Bloomsbury notices your book and publishes it. Finally, your book becomes a hit as it sells over 500 million copies. That’s what it’s like to be J.K. Rowling.

Her failures outweigh her success, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t succeed, it means she persevered.

2. Elon Musk

Now think of yourself as Elon Musk, an entrepreneur with a passion for space exploration. After receiving consistent rejections from the public, you decide to expand on your idea of commercial space travel.

Your first three rockets explode as you see the odds of success to be around one percent. You don’t exactly give up, but rather slow the progress of your odyssey.

However, you soon decide to persevere through the rejections of even your favorite astronaut. You spend millions of dollars on a fourth rocket you know will succeed, and so it does.

3. Bill Gates

Now you’re Bill Gates, someone who people see as the natural example of success. That’s not how it had always been, though.

After launching your first company, Traf-O-Data, you sat back and waited for it to take off. That didn’t happen. Instead, your first company failed miserably, and you lost all motivation to create a second.

Finally, after years of research and perseverance, you decided to launch Microsoft. You promised yourself that you wouldn’t make the same mistakes again, and it worked.

Microsoft soon became one of the most notable companies of all time.

4. Walt Disney

Here you are as Walt Disney. Your childhood wasn’t the wealthiest, but that didn’t discourage you from starting a business.

Soon after starting your journey, you file for bankruptcy because of all of the debt and failures you’ve encountered. As a result, that costs you Laugh O’Gram Studios.

One of your creations, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, wasn’t so fortunate as you expected. It turns out to be one of your most significant failures, so you have a mental breakdown.

However, you aren’t that easy to take down. Creating Disney Land in 1955, you finally witnessed what it’s like to be successful. The worth of your company grew from 6 million dollars to 70 million dollars in a matter of five years.

5. Albert Einstein

Being Albert Einstein, school didn’t intrigue you at all. Sure, the numbers say that you’re a genius, but you never enjoyed following instructions.

It got to the point where your school was so unbearable that you decided to drop out at the age of 15. You began to sell life insurance, as that was the only chance of success.

Your father died thinking you were a mere failure. In 1905, you persevered and created E = mc2, a formula that proves the equivalence between mass and energy.

Two years later, you create general relativity, a concept that explains the relation of bodies in space. Having experienced Nazi Germany, you still experience traumatizing memories and feelings.

6. Stephen King

Now picture yourself as Stephen King, a famous horror novelist. You couldn’t have just got your inspiration from thin air, right?

Though you didn’t get your talent as a gift, you sourced your inspiration from your dark past. Having witnessed your friend getting run over by a train, you adopted great shock and terror.

Instead of giving up, you’ve decided to outsource your inspiration from the demons strolling in your mind. You wrote it all down in a few novels, which would soon earn you 400 million dollars.

Not everyone’s past is perfect, but the key is how you use it.

7. Steve Jobs

You’re now Steve Jobs, and you didn’t have the best start. As soon as you were born, you were abandoned and put up for adoption.

As the years went by, nobody wanted to believe in you, as your insane ideas didn’t seem possible. You didn’t listen to the opinion of others, and so you co-founded Apple in 1976.

First, you had to go through the struggles of being severely criticized. You’ve been criticized not only by the public but also by your colleagues.

Apple soon took off, but you, unfortunately, died from pancreatic cancer before you could see the full greatness of your success.

8. Thomas Edison

Think of yourself as the famous Thomas Edison, an American inventor who possessed great passion. Before presenting the light bulb, your most recent creation, you make 999 prototypes, all of which failed.

You didn’t see those attempts as failures. Instead, you thought of them as stepping stones to your end goal. Luckily, all of the effort and persistence paid off, since your 1000th prototype is a complete success.

You proudly present it to the world, which deeply fascinates the public. Not only did you surprise everyone, but you also revolutionized the world.

You prove that persistence and perseverance are key to success. Furthermore, you shouldn’t give up just because initially, something doesn’t go your way.

9. Colonel Sanders

Being Colonel Sanders, you’ve experienced many traumatizing events in your life on the way to success.

Your father passed away when you were just five years old, so you were left to care and cook for your younger siblings.

Many years later, your son had passed away at the young age of 20. You became depressed, and your passion for Kentucky fried chicken ceased to exist.

After barely overcoming your past, you decide to open a small restaurant in a gas station. You’ve come a long way and you’re finally getting noticed by passing travelers.

After seeing yourself becoming a true success, you finally decide to expand your restaurant into a worldwide corporation. This corporation turns out to be something much more than you have ever thought it was going to be.

Final Thoughts

The most fascinating part of success is failure, because that’s precisely what fuels creativity. You should focus more on perseverance and hard work because that is what’s going to drive success.

Don’t ever consider giving up, because that is what’s going bring you down.

In this post, you read out about ten successful people who failed and went through difficult times. You read about nine of them, but the tenth is the one you’re most familiar with, the tenth person is you.

You have the power to make your future a successful one.

While it is easy to become discouraged due to failure, the fight to overcome it will only make you stronger. Use the examples above as motivation to keep working hard to overcome your failure. Keep in mind that while they are now known as successful people, they too were once individuals who failed.

Follow in their footsteps and don’t let your failures stop you from chasing after your dreams.


The realization that there are 86,400 seconds each day. What are you doing today, so that tomorrow you are a step closer to where you want to be? If not now, then when?

eightysixfourhundred, make them count

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Hi, I'm James! I want to help you make the most of your day by providing helpful tips and informative articles on motivation, time management, productivity, and happiness.

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