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Motivation

50 Famously Successful People Who Failed At First

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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Michael Jordan


Not everyone who’s on top today got there with success after success. More often than not, those who history best remembers were faced with numerous obstacles that forced them to work harder and show more determination than others.

Next time you’re feeling down about your failures in college or in a career, keep these fifty famous people in mind and remind yourself that sometimes failure is just the first step towards success.

 

Successful People Who Failed At First

 

Business Gurus

These businessmen and the companies they founded are today known around the world, but as these stories show, their beginnings weren’t always smooth.

  1. Henry Ford: While Ford is today known for his innovative assembly line and American-made cars, he wasn’t an instant success. In fact, his early businesses failed and left him broke five time before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.
  2. R. H. Macy: Most people are familiar with this large department store chain, but Macy didn’t always have it easy. Macy started seven failed business before finally hitting big with his store in New York City.
  3. F. W. Woolworth: Some may not know this name today, but Woolworth was once one of the biggest names in department stores in the U.S. Before starting his own business, young Woolworth worked at a dry goods store and was not allowed to wait on customers because his boss said he lacked the sense needed to do so.
  4. Soichiro Honda: The billion-dollar business that is Honda began with a series of failures and fortunate turns of luck. Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation for a job after interviewing for a job as an engineer, leaving him jobless for quite some time. He started making scooters of his own at home, and spurred on by his neighbors, finally started his own business.
  5. Akio Morita: You may not have heard of Morita but you’ve undoubtedly heard of his company, Sony. Sony’s first product was a rice cooker that unfortunately didn’t cook rice so much as burn it, selling less than 100 units. This first setback didn’t stop Morita and his partners as they pushed forward to create a multi-billion dollar company.
  6. Bill Gates: Gates didn’t seem like a shoe-in for success after dropping out of Harvard and starting a failed first business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data. While this early idea didn’t work, Gates’ later work did, creating the global empire that is Microsoft.
  7. Harland David Sanders: Perhaps better known as Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, Sanders had a hard time selling his chicken at first. In fact, his famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it.
  8. Walt Disney: Today Disney rakes in billions from merchandise, movies and theme parks around the world, but Walt Disney himself had a bit of a rough start. He was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. He kept plugging along, however, and eventually found a recipe for success that worked.

Scientists and Thinkers

These people are often regarded as some of the greatest minds of our century, but they often had to face great obstacles, the ridicule of their peers and the animosity of society.

  1. Albert Einstein: Most of us take Einstein’s name as synonymous with genius, but he didn’t always show such promise. Einstein did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven, causing his teachers and parents to think he was mentally handicapped, slow and anti-social. Eventually, he was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. It might have taken him a bit longer, but most people would agree that he caught on pretty well in the end, winning the Nobel Prize and changing the face of modern physics.
  2. Charles Darwin: In his early years, Darwin gave up on having a medical career and was often chastised by his father for being lazy and too dreamy. Darwin himself wrote, “I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect.” Perhaps they judged too soon, as Darwin today is well-known for his scientific studies.
  3. Robert Goddard: Goddard today is hailed for his research and experimentation with liquid-fueled rockets, but during his lifetime his ideas were often rejected and mocked by his scientific peers who thought they were outrageous and impossible. Today rockets and space travel don’t seem far-fetched at all, due largely in part to the work of this scientist who worked against the feelings of the time.
  4. Isaac Newton: Newton was undoubtedly a genius when it came to math, but he had some failings early on. He never did particularly well in school and when put in charge of running the family farm, he failed miserably, so poorly in fact that an uncle took charge and sent him off to Cambridge where he finally blossomed into the scholar we know today.
  5. Socrates: Despite leaving no written records behind, Socrates is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the Classical era. Because of his new ideas, in his own time he was called “an immoral corrupter of youth” and was sentenced to death. Socrates didn’t let this stop him and kept right on, teaching up until he was forced to poison himself.
  6. Robert Sternberg: This big name in psychology received a C in his first college introductory psychology class with his teacher telling him that, “there was already a famous Sternberg in psychology and it was obvious there would not be another.” Sternberg showed him, however, graduating from Stanford with exceptional distinction in psychology, summa cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa and eventually becoming the President of the American Psychological Association.

Inventors

These inventors changed the face of the modern world, but not without a few failed prototypes along the way.

  1. Thomas Edison: In his early years, teachers told Edison he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Work was no better, as he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Even as an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Of course, all those unsuccessful attempts finally resulted in the design that worked.
  2. Orville and Wilbur Wright: These brothers battled depression and family illness before starting the bicycle shop that would lead them to experimenting with flight. After numerous attempts at creating flying machines, several years of hard work, and tons of failed prototypes, the brothers finally created a plane that could get airborne and stay there.

Public Figures

From politicians to talk show hosts, these figures had a few failures before they came out on top.

  1. Winston Churchill: This Nobel Prize-winning, twice-elected Prime Minster of the United Kingdom wasn’t always as well regarded as he is today. Churchill struggled in school and failed the sixth grade. After school he faced many years of political failures, as he was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister at the ripe old age of 62.
  2. Abraham Lincoln: While today he is remembered as one of the greatest leaders of our nation, Lincoln’s life wasn’t so easy. In his youth he went to war a captain and returned a private (if you’re not familiar with military ranks, just know that private is as low as it goes.) Lincoln didn’t stop failing there, however. He started numerous failed business and was defeated in numerous runs he made for public office.
  3. Oprah Winfrey: Most people know Oprah as one of the most iconic faces on TV as well as one of the richest and most successful women in the world. Oprah faced a hard road to get to that position, however, enduring a rough and often abusive childhood as well as numerous career setbacks including being fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for tv.”
  4. Harry S. Truman: This WWI vet, Senator, Vice President and eventual President eventually found success in his life, but not without a few missteps along the way. Truman started a store that sold silk shirts and other clothing–seemingly a success at first–only go bankrupt a few years later.
  5. Dick Cheney: This recent Vice President and businessman made his way to the White House but managed to flunk out of Yale University, not once, but twice. Former President George W. Bush joked with Cheney about this fact, stating, “So now we know –if you graduate from Yale, you become president. If you drop out, you get to be vice president.”

Hollywood Types

These faces ought to be familiar from the big screen, but these actors, actresses and directors saw their fair share of rejection and failure before they made it big.

  1. Jerry Seinfeld: Just about everybody knows who Seinfeld is, but the first time the young comedian walked on stage at a comedy club, he looked out at the audience, froze and was eventually jeered and booed off of the stage. Seinfeld knew he could do it, so he went back the next night, completed his set to laughter and applause, and the rest is history.
  2. Fred Astaire: In his first screen test, the testing director of MGM noted that Astaire, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Astaire went on to become an incredibly successful actor, singer and dancer and kept that note in his Beverly Hills home to remind him of where he came from.
  3. Sidney Poitier: After his first audition, Poitier was told by the casting director, “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?” Poitier vowed to show him that he could make it, going on to win an Oscar and become one of the most well-regarded actors in the business.
  4. Jeanne Moreau: As a young actress just starting out, this French actress was told by a casting director that she was simply not pretty enough to make it in films. He couldn’t have been more wrong as Moreau when on to star in nearly 100 films and win numerous awards for her performances.
  5. Charlie Chaplin: It’s hard to imagine film without the iconic Charlie Chaplin, but his act was initially rejected by Hollywood studio chiefs because they felt it was a little too nonsensical to ever sell.
  6. Lucille Ball: During her career, Ball had thirteen Emmy nominations and four wins, also earning the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors. Before starring in I Love Lucy, Ball was widely regarded as a failed actress and a B movie star. Even her drama instructors didn’t feel she could make it, telling her to try another profession. She, of course, proved them all wrong.
  7. Harrison Ford: In his first film, Ford was told by the movie execs that he simply didn’t have what it takes to be a star. Today, with numerous hits under his belt, iconic portrayals of characters like Han Solo and Indiana Jones, and a career that stretches decades, Ford can proudly show that he does, in fact, have what it takes.
  8. Marilyn Monroe: While Monroe’s star burned out early, she did have a period of great success in her life. Despite a rough upbringing and being told by modeling agents that she should instead consider being a secretary, Monroe became a pin-up, model and actress that still strikes a chord with people today.
  9. Oliver Stone: This Oscar-winning filmmaker began his first novel while at Yale, a project that eventually caused him to fail out of school. This would turn out to be a poor decision as the the text was rejected by publishers and was not published until 1998, at which time it was not well-received. After dropping out of school, Stone moved to Vietnam to teach English, later enlisting in the army and fighting in the war, a battle that earning two Purple Hearts and helped him find the inspiration for his later work that often center around war.

Writers and Artists

We’ve all heard about starving artists and struggling writers, but these stories show that sometimes all that work really does pay off with success in the long run.

  1. Vincent Van Gogh: During his lifetime, Van Gogh sold only one painting, and this was to a friend and only for a very small amount of money. While Van Gogh was never a success during his life, he plugged on with painting, sometimes starving to complete his over 800 known works. Today, they bring in hundreds of millions.
  2. Emily Dickinson: Recluse and poet Emily Dickinson is a commonly read and loved writer. Yet in her lifetime she was all but ignored, having fewer than a dozen poems published out of her almost 1,800 completed works.
  3. Theodor Seuss Giesel: Today nearly every child has read The Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham, yet 27 different publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first book To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
  4. Charles Schultz: Schultz’s Peanuts comic strip has had enduring fame, yet this cartoonist had every cartoon he submitted rejected by his high school yearbook staff. Even after high school, Schultz didn’t have it easy, applying and being rejected for a position working with Walt Disney.
  5. Steven Spielberg: While today Spielberg’s name is synonymous with big budget, he was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times. He eventually attended school at another location, only to drop out to become a director before finishing. Thirty-five years after starting his degree, Spielberg returned to school in 2002 to finally complete his work and earn his BA.
  6. Stephen King: The first book by this author, the iconic thriller Carrie, received 30 rejections, finally causing King to give up and throw it in the trash. His wife fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit it, and the rest is history, with King now having hundreds of books published the distinction of being one of the best-selling authors of all time.
  7. Zane Grey: Incredibly popular in the early 20th century, this adventure book writer began his career as a dentist, something he quickly began to hate. So, he began to write, only to see rejection after rejection for his works, being told eventually that he had no business being a writer and should given up. It took him years, but at 40, Zane finally got his first work published, leaving him with almost 90 books to his name and selling over 50 million copies worldwide.
  8. J. K. Rowling: Rowling may be rolling in a lot of Harry Potter dough today, but before she published the series of novels she was nearly penniless, severely depressed, divorced, trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel. Rowling went from depending on welfare to survive to being one of the richest women in the world in a span of only five years through her hard work and determination.
  9. Monet: Today Monet’s work sells for millions of dollars and hangs in some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Yet during his own time, it was mocked and rejected by the artistic elite, the Paris Salon. Monet kept at his impressionist style, which caught on and in many ways was a starting point for some major changes to art that ushered in the modern era.
  10. Jack London: This well-known American author wasn’t always such a success. While he would go on to publish popular novels like White Fang and The Call of the Wild, his first story received six hundred rejection slips before finally being accepted.
  11. Louisa May Alcott: Most people are familiar with Alcott’s most famous work, Little Women. Yet Alcott faced a bit of a battle to get her work out there and was was encouraged to find work as a servant by her family to make ends meet. It was her letters back home during her experience as a nurse in the Civil War that gave her the first big break she needed.

Musicians

While their music is some of the best selling, best loved and most popular around the world today, these musicians show that it takes a whole lot of determination to achieve success.

  1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Mozart began composing at the age of five, writing over 600 pieces of music that today are lauded as some of the best ever created. Yet during his lifetime, Mozart didn’t have such an easy time, and was often restless, leading to his dismissal from a position as a court musician in Salzberg. He struggled to keep the support of the aristocracy and died with little to his name.
  2. Elvis Presley: As one of the best-selling artists of all time, Elvis has become a household name even years after his death. But back in 1954, Elvis was still a nobody, and Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after just one performance telling him, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”
  3. Igor Stravinsky: In 1913 when Stravinsky debuted his now famous Rite of Spring, audiences rioted, running the composer out of town. Yet it was this very work that changed the way composers in the 19th century thought about music and cemented his place in musical history.
  4. The Beatles: Few people can deny the lasting power of this super group, still popular with listeners around the world today. Yet when they were just starting out, a recording company told them no. The were told “we don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out,” two things the rest of the world couldn’t have disagreed with more.
  5. Ludwig van Beethoven: In his formative years, young Beethoven was incredibly awkward on the violin and was often so busy working on his own compositions that he neglected to practice. Despite his love of composing, his teachers felt he was hopeless at it and would never succeed with the violin or in composing. Beethoven kept plugging along, however, and composed some of the best-loved symphonies of all time–five of them while he was completely deaf.

Athletes

While some athletes rocket to fame, others endure a path fraught with a little more adversity, like those listed here.

  1. Michael Jordan: Most people wouldn’t believe that a man often lauded as the best basketball player of all time was actually cut from his high school basketball team. Luckily, Jordan didn’t let this setback stop him from playing the game and he has stated, “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.”
  2. Stan Smith: This tennis player was rejected from even being a lowly ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because event organizers felt he was too clumsy and uncoordinated. Smith went on to prove them wrong, showcasing his not-so-clumsy skills by winning Wimbledon, U. S. Open and eight Davis Cups.
  3. Babe Ruth: You probably know Babe Ruth because of his home run record (714 during his career), but along with all those home runs came a pretty hefty amount of strikeouts as well (1,330 in all). In fact, for decades he held the record for strikeouts. When asked about this he simply said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”
  4. Tom Landry: As the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Landry brought the team two Super Bowl victories, five NFC Championship victories and holds the records for the record for the most career wins. He also has the distinction of having one of the worst first seasons on record (winning no games) and winning five or fewer over the next four seasons.

I am the the Founder of Addicted2Success.com and I am so grateful you're here to be part of this awesome community. I love connecting with people who have a passion for Entrepreneurship, Self Development & Achieving Success. I started this website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances. I'm proud to say through my podcast and through this website we have impacted over 100 million lives in the last 6 and a half years.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Rachna

    Jul 13, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Very very nice site..

  2. pro football picks

    Mar 10, 2016 at 2:04 am

    Spot on with this write-up. I truly feel this website needs a great deal more of my attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more.
    Thanks for the information!

  3. Dr ani nnenna

    Oct 6, 2015 at 3:27 am

    Very inspiring listed. A thought activating list.

  4. Laura

    Apr 30, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    I wish there are more details about how these people failed, how they restarted and grabbed new opportunities and finally succeeded. That will make the stories more convincing, and related to ordinary people.

  5. Trey

    Nov 2, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Inspiring. Infact, I will have to save this page. Thank you for this post

  6. Jam

    Feb 6, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Very Inspiring indeed!!!

  7. lisa o brien

    Sep 13, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Thanks guy’s. You just saved my butt from a lot of thinking on my essay

  8. Bob Scorey

    Feb 3, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    bill lear

  9. dniel

    Oct 29, 2012 at 7:06 am

    I did not see Steve Jobs?

  10. Suchismita Pai

    Oct 28, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    What a lot of big names. We most often see these names on a success list. To see them as people who failed first.. it is inspiring in a very different way. Nice post.

    • Joel

      Joel

      Oct 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      Agreed Suchismita, it is great to see that these achievers are all just human like the rest of us and that we do fail and make mistakes on the way to the top sometimes.

  11. Kellie Hosaka

    Mar 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Aloha!

    Wow! That is an incredible list! Thank you so much for posting all of these 50 successful people and their “failure” along the way.

    They key to success is consistency and persistancy… over & over & over.

    Much aloha & thank you,
    Kellie 🙂

  12. Aamir Musharraf

    Mar 6, 2012 at 5:50 am

    “He is foolish to blame the sea who is shipwrecked twice.”
    — Publilius Syrus

  13. Paul Foster

    Feb 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Quite a large list! Very inspiring. Is it fair to conclude that a willingness to fail and not give up when you do fail, is a major key to success?

    • vivid

      Nov 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      there is no single key to the success. Success is not a simple lock with a single key. There is a combination to it. You get all combinations right, you will be able to open it. 🙂

  14. mikerosss

    May 3, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Nice site, nice and easy on the eyes and great content too.

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Motivation

Embrace The Suck.

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Embrace the Suck

I suck at spreadsheets.
I suck at maths because numbers do my head in.
I suck at attending meetings because I just want action.

You will suck at your first blog post.
You will suck at your first startup, and the one after that, and so on.
You will suck at giving your first speech.

We all suck 24/7.

None of us are 100% motivated all the time.
None of us get anything right the first time – unless it’s a fluke.

We all have nightmares of our failures.
We all secretly want to be perfect – even me.

 

It’s time to embrace the suck.

A lot about life F*cking sucks hard.

My #EmbraceTheSuck story (thanks Sina Fak for the idea) was failing at high school and dropping out. After a break, I went back and finished high school, and the only subjects I excelled at were music and English.

Even though the headmaster told me I’d always be a no good, punk a$$, drop out, I proved him wrong.

I used my expertise in English to become a blogger and that’s why I’m writing these words to you right now.

I failed in the short-term, but by persevering at school, it eventually led me to right now. I could have done nothing and become a bum. I could have listened to my headmaster and agreed with him.

I knew that I was destined to do something big and I believe the movement I’m creating right now is part of my crazy goal to change the world.

All of us can succeed when we embrace the suck and persevere.

“We can listen to our critics or we can lift the middle finger at them and keep going”

Making it through the suck made me smarter, more courageous and it helped me build a newfound resilience.

 

How do we embrace the suck?

1. Be prepared to fail.
2. Look like an idiot.
3. Be willing to start at the bottom
4. Persevere
5. Challenge the critics

When everything sucks, get back up.
Have a second go even if there’s no reason too.
Back yourself and believe you can push through the suck.

 

Embrace the suck is a call to action.

It’s about being prepared to eat sh*t because the upside makes it worth it. It’s about doing what so many are not prepared to do because you believe in yourself.

It’s about taking action and executing instead of being a daydreamer and being stuck in a foreplay of ideas, dreams, goals that never happen.

Starting at the bottom and sucking harder is how you get to the top.

Once you arrive at the top, make sure you help other people who are embracing the suck.

Let’s all commit to doing more things that suck and being okay with it. Let’s challenge each other to be courageous.

If I can go from being a high school dropout to making something of myself, then why the heck can’t you?

Embrace the suck because that’s what the people you idolize and anyone you’ve ever looked up to did.

Embracing the suck is part of life.

“Hello, adversity. Come at me!”

 

One day you’ll look back on all the sucky moments and be proud.

That’s the cherry on top of the cake right there.

That is all the motivation you need to embrace the suck.

 

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Motivation

Keep Going – Never Give Up. Good People Are Always Rewarded.

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Last week there was some real lows. This week there have been some major highs.

At one point, it looked like my career was down the toilet. Everything I worked for looked like it was done.

The reality is that when you hit a low point, there’s always an upside. The point where you want to give up is just the beginning of something new and amazing. When you hit that low, it’s so easy to want to give up.

You feel like you can’t go on and the odds are stacked against you.

Everything and everyone feel like they are working against your vision for your life. Most of all, you don’t know why you’ve suddenly hit this giant low point that feels like it’s going to last forever.

Your motivation is non-existent; you get out of bed and feel like crap; you’re not sure what today will mean – or the next for that matter.

All of this is fine. No, I’m not giving you some empty promise or meaningless reason to go on. What I’m telling you is that you must keep going. Even though you feel like you can’t, you must!

“All of these low points mean something. All of these low points turn into one giant moment of triumph if you keep stacking them up like shot glasses after a big night”

 

Good people are rewarded.

As long as you do your absolute best to be a good person, eventually your life will change.

All those small things you did for people will be remembered.
Someone will give you a chance and believe in you.
An opportunity will come from nowhere that you never expected.

Rewards always come for those who have earned it. How do you earn those rewards? By being a kind, humble and good person that serves the greater good. Let’s dumb it down further. You get the rewards by:

1. Helping people who have nothing
2. Smiling at as many people as you can
3. Answering messages on social media and helping people without getting anything in return
4. Staying positive through books and blogs like this
5. Waiting out the winter cold for summer to come into your life again

This list of five things is how you remain a good person through the chaos that we all experience. Many people say “That sounds easy Tim, but it’s harder than you think.”

That’s why I’ve made it practical with these five points.

 

How my luck changed this week.

I followed this formula I’ve laid out, and this week my luck changed. All of a sudden, I got multiple opportunities to do work that I love and get paid well for it so that I can focus on my blogging.

The messages I got with these opportunities all started with something like this:

“Thank you for sharing your story and having the guts to do so. You’ve inspired me and I appreciate it. I’d love to chat to you about opportunity X. Are you free for a few minutes?”

Then I got two more emails from television networks wanting me to spread some inspiration on their respective shows.

Your luck will change and opportunities will be presented to you if you keep going, never give up and continue being a good person.

It’s a long road towards getting up close and personal with your most important goal but if you stay the path, stay focused and be the person that makes you proud, it will happen.

 

Keep going.

So, if you’ve ever felt like I felt when my career went down the toilet last week, or you’re feeling that way right now, you must keep going.

I believe you can get what you seek if you remain focused and don’t let the negative emotions in your head take over. I know it’s tough but that’s no excuse. If you want your goals bad enough, then you’ll keep motivated to push through the rejection and failure.

Use selflessness to change your perspective. Look at yourself in the third person. See who you are now and who you can be. All of us can be leaders and when we look at ourselves without our self-talk and ego’s in the way, we can see who we really are.

Dare to dream a little. Don’t be afraid to think big. If you have crazy, audacious goals, then that’s even better.

Don’t be talked out of your mission.
Let your passion rip through the barriers that stand in your way.

Never give up. Keep going.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Motivation

We All Have It Tough – It’s What You Do With The Struggle.

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Lots of my people who read my stuff email me with their struggles. They’re hoping that I will be blown away by how hard they’ve had it. They think it’s some sort of competition to see who has the most battle scars.

By reading so many of these emails of struggle over the last few years, I realized something: we all have it tough. All of us struggle – even me.

– Right now, I have 14 days left until I’ll be out of a job.
– I’ve got some very challenging personal issues to deal with.
– My investments need a major rework and I’m completely lost.

I’ve been offered an opportunity to do public speaking to a large audience and am scared of whether I should say yes. Do I have what it takes? Will I mess it up?

We all have it tough.

What I’ve learned is it’s what you do with the struggle that will define your future.

 

Are you going to sit there and take it?

That’s right I’m asking you right now. What are you going to do with the struggles?

There are only two options:

1. Toughen up and use the struggles as motivation
2. Be a piss weak, sook, and give up.

Your struggles can take you to a new level. When George Lucas tried to make Star Wars, it was a total F*ck up. Everything went wrong. There were natural disasters, lack of money and even the actors thought it was the worse film ever to be made.

Did the creator of the Jedi Knight give up?

Not a chance. He kept going and defied the odds. His reward? One of the most watched movies of all time and plenty of cash to go with it.

You may still be thinking option two is your only hope. Maybe you could be piss weak and just give up. Then you could sit on the couch, watch Netflix, drink wine and pretend that your struggles didn’t stop you from achieving your goals.

 

The good news is giving up works short-term. The bad news?

After the short-term gain of giving up, and getting to Netflix and chill, you’ll be really pissed off at yourself. You’ll have regret and feel even worse than before you began your journey of struggle. Not getting your goals and making next to no progress feels like crap.I spent several years doing this.

“Every night I would get home, watch a Hollywood movie, go to 7-Eleven for some sugar and send useless texts to the toxic people in my life”

These same people were going nowhere and telling me to give up.

Screw that. I did this for a while and felt so empty. Life had no meaning and I was making no impact. The sugar diet made me sick and I ended up becoming bedridden.

 

The struggle is the beginning.

Looking back, without the struggle, I would have never got off my lazy ass and actually taken action. When I say “It’s what you do with the struggle,” what I mean is this:

Having it tough and struggling – like trying to walk up a hill while there’s a mudslide happening at the exact same time – is a big fat signal that you’re onto something.

The motivation and momentum you need to get started is right there in front of your blue eyes.

“You can’t get started on some mammoth task to change your life unless you get pissed off and do it tough”

If you were doing it easy, there’d be no urgent reason to take action.

When you’re like me and you are about to be unemployed, have lots of tough decisions to make and are unsatisfied with your career progression to date, you have to embrace your circumstances.

Now, this sounds like a lot of big words that you’d read in some 2000-page self-help book that repeats the same ideas over and over.

I’m going to dumb it right down:

The struggle is a sign to get started. When you struggle, things can’t really get much worse. What you’re left with is nothing but upside.

 

What action do we take then when we’re struggling?

Let’s use my situation as an example. Here are the action steps I’m using and implementing this week:

1. Accept where you are right now
– This will give you a reality check.

2. Meditate to relax your busy brain
– Stress will force you to make dumb decisions.

3. Get really uncomfortable
– I said yes to a new business venture that involves a lot of public speaking.

4. Resist the temptation to be pissed off
– Getting angry is only going to make things worse. Reserve your energy.

5. Write three things a day you’re grateful for
– This will force you to find the positive.

6. Delete whingers, sooks, liars and complainers from your contact list
– You’ve got enough issues; it’s hard enough to be positive without having toxic people talk nonsense and distract you.

 

Final step: Chill out amigo.

Your world is not going to end tomorrow. You can always start again. You can always fall down and get straight back up. Don’t be so angry with yourself. We all struggle and you’re doing the best that you can. Focus your energy on building your confidence and supporting your growth mindset.

“My future looks like a nuclear apocalypse right now but I’ve learned through the struggles that I always come out the other side on top”

Being impatient and stressing will only bring on more problems for you. It’s not that bad. Things always turn around. This moment of struggle and how you handle it will define who you become.

All of us have unlimited potential and we’re all struggling every day.

Once you learn to accept the struggle, embrace it and see it as a seed to something better, you’ll be well on your way to becoming someone you’re proud of.

Wish me luck with the struggles coming in the next few weeks. We’re in this together don’t forget.

Peace, love, respect.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Motivation

6 Lessons You Can Learn from The King of the Jungle

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lions

Do you watch documentaries on lions? If yes, then you must have seen that they dominate their territory and are apex predators. Lions are among the strongest animals in the world, and no one dares to confront or challenge them. They are called ‘kings’ because they have a touch of royalty in everything they do. From eating habits where 20-25 royal members dine at the same to conquering huge lands. A lion always has a bold attitude and lives like a true ruler.

But their life is full of obstacles and problems. There is less space for errors, as one mistake may make them lose their life, reign, or offspring. Also, hunting is not an easy task; their success rate is only 17-19 percent. Compared to human beings their quandaries are bigger because they never get a second opportunity.

But, have you ever seen a depressed lion or one who wants to give up? They always struggle to hunt and rule lands, but they never quit. Sometimes they fail in hunting a zebra, a gazelle, and a wildebeest. But do they give up? No. They try hard and succeed in hunting.

So, what motivates them to not surrender to the harsh life? The answer is survival. The only thing that keeps them moving is survival. Many lions lose their reign, children, and queens to other lions, but they never give up on life.

Here are six life lessons from the king of the jungle:

1. Your goal is the only way to survive

Set a life goal and work hard to achieve it; consider that there are no alternatives. As lions are born to hunt and rule; acknowledge that you are born to accomplish your life goal. Consider your purpose and work as a source of motivation. They will keep you going through good and bad times because fame is temporary, but work pleasure and sense of achievement are permanent.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” – Richard Branson

2. Fail and evolve

Lions fail eight out of ten times in hunting, but this makes them fine-tune their skills; thus, they can catch bigger prey to feed their family. Likewise, we should also embrace our failures and evolve each time we face them. We must study and analyze our failures and make sure to not repeat them. As Jack Ma has rightly said, “If the guy only checks himself, yeah, something wrong with me here, something wrong with me there. Then, this guy has hope.” Also, we must follow this law of nature: ‘Evolve and survive’ to achieve success in life.

3. Focus is the key

When lions go on a hunt, they make less noise and focus on the prey. They always have an element of surprise and keep everything low to make their raid successful. Now imagine, if a lion makes noise, will they be able to hunt? The answer is no! So, what do we learn? Too much talking makes us lose focus. Don’t tell everyone about your goals and what you are doing, keep it low and completely focus on your aim.

4. Always trust each other

A pride of lions always back each other in good and bad times. Rather in tough phases as an individual they contribute more to the survival of the pride. We should also learn that strength is in the pack. It’s necessary to not break each other’s trust for a short-term gain. Also, we must support each other in overcoming tough problems and situations.

“Attack your goals like your life depends on it”

5. Survival is everything

Lions don’t harm anyone without any reason. But, when someone tries to mar their territory, life, and family, they leave no stone unturned in giving a tough fight. Likewise, we should concentrate on our own betterment. However, if someone is trying to ruin our career or life, then instead of getting disappointed we should fight back and overcome such smotherers.

6. Have fun in life

Lions go through a harsh life filled with everyday challenges. But they don’t let them ruin their daily moments. They always enjoy every minute with their pride members. They play with each other and take care of everyone. You should also make sure to relish each moment of your life. Leave your stress and worries in your workplace, and when you are at home, relish the time with your family.

Lions teach us to dominate problems in life and live like a true winner. As someone has rightly said, “If size really mattered, the elephant would be king of the jungle.” Similarly, every animal’s life is full of struggle, and we can learn a lot from them to become successful and prosperous in our own lives. So next time you watch a documentary on lions, try to learn from them.

How will you become a lion in your everyday life? Comment below!

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Life

How to Get Better at Anything by Using This Self Encouragement Practice

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self encouragement

Whether you’re turning your sidehustle into a career, sculpting a fitter body, or perfecting your favourite sport, getting better at anything requires a simple yet specific sequence: (more…)

Daniel Dowling is waging a war against distraction at MillennialSuccess.io, where he teaches the art of planning and making sh!# happen.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Rachna

    Jul 13, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Very very nice site..

  2. pro football picks

    Mar 10, 2016 at 2:04 am

    Spot on with this write-up. I truly feel this website needs a great deal more of my attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more.
    Thanks for the information!

  3. Dr ani nnenna

    Oct 6, 2015 at 3:27 am

    Very inspiring listed. A thought activating list.

  4. Laura

    Apr 30, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    I wish there are more details about how these people failed, how they restarted and grabbed new opportunities and finally succeeded. That will make the stories more convincing, and related to ordinary people.

  5. Trey

    Nov 2, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Inspiring. Infact, I will have to save this page. Thank you for this post

  6. Jam

    Feb 6, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Very Inspiring indeed!!!

  7. lisa o brien

    Sep 13, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Thanks guy’s. You just saved my butt from a lot of thinking on my essay

  8. Bob Scorey

    Feb 3, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    bill lear

  9. dniel

    Oct 29, 2012 at 7:06 am

    I did not see Steve Jobs?

  10. Suchismita Pai

    Oct 28, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    What a lot of big names. We most often see these names on a success list. To see them as people who failed first.. it is inspiring in a very different way. Nice post.

    • Joel

      Joel

      Oct 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      Agreed Suchismita, it is great to see that these achievers are all just human like the rest of us and that we do fail and make mistakes on the way to the top sometimes.

  11. Kellie Hosaka

    Mar 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Aloha!

    Wow! That is an incredible list! Thank you so much for posting all of these 50 successful people and their “failure” along the way.

    They key to success is consistency and persistancy… over & over & over.

    Much aloha & thank you,
    Kellie 🙂

  12. Aamir Musharraf

    Mar 6, 2012 at 5:50 am

    “He is foolish to blame the sea who is shipwrecked twice.”
    — Publilius Syrus

  13. Paul Foster

    Feb 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Quite a large list! Very inspiring. Is it fair to conclude that a willingness to fail and not give up when you do fail, is a major key to success?

    • vivid

      Nov 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      there is no single key to the success. Success is not a simple lock with a single key. There is a combination to it. You get all combinations right, you will be able to open it. 🙂

  14. mikerosss

    May 3, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Nice site, nice and easy on the eyes and great content too.

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Motivation

Embrace The Suck.

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Embrace the Suck

I suck at spreadsheets.
I suck at maths because numbers do my head in.
I suck at attending meetings because I just want action.

You will suck at your first blog post.
You will suck at your first startup, and the one after that, and so on.
You will suck at giving your first speech.

We all suck 24/7.

None of us are 100% motivated all the time.
None of us get anything right the first time – unless it’s a fluke.

We all have nightmares of our failures.
We all secretly want to be perfect – even me.

 

It’s time to embrace the suck.

A lot about life F*cking sucks hard.

My #EmbraceTheSuck story (thanks Sina Fak for the idea) was failing at high school and dropping out. After a break, I went back and finished high school, and the only subjects I excelled at were music and English.

Even though the headmaster told me I’d always be a no good, punk a$$, drop out, I proved him wrong.

I used my expertise in English to become a blogger and that’s why I’m writing these words to you right now.

I failed in the short-term, but by persevering at school, it eventually led me to right now. I could have done nothing and become a bum. I could have listened to my headmaster and agreed with him.

I knew that I was destined to do something big and I believe the movement I’m creating right now is part of my crazy goal to change the world.

All of us can succeed when we embrace the suck and persevere.

“We can listen to our critics or we can lift the middle finger at them and keep going”

Making it through the suck made me smarter, more courageous and it helped me build a newfound resilience.

 

How do we embrace the suck?

1. Be prepared to fail.
2. Look like an idiot.
3. Be willing to start at the bottom
4. Persevere
5. Challenge the critics

When everything sucks, get back up.
Have a second go even if there’s no reason too.
Back yourself and believe you can push through the suck.

 

Embrace the suck is a call to action.

It’s about being prepared to eat sh*t because the upside makes it worth it. It’s about doing what so many are not prepared to do because you believe in yourself.

It’s about taking action and executing instead of being a daydreamer and being stuck in a foreplay of ideas, dreams, goals that never happen.

Starting at the bottom and sucking harder is how you get to the top.

Once you arrive at the top, make sure you help other people who are embracing the suck.

Let’s all commit to doing more things that suck and being okay with it. Let’s challenge each other to be courageous.

If I can go from being a high school dropout to making something of myself, then why the heck can’t you?

Embrace the suck because that’s what the people you idolize and anyone you’ve ever looked up to did.

Embracing the suck is part of life.

“Hello, adversity. Come at me!”

 

One day you’ll look back on all the sucky moments and be proud.

That’s the cherry on top of the cake right there.

That is all the motivation you need to embrace the suck.

 

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Motivation

Keep Going – Never Give Up. Good People Are Always Rewarded.

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Last week there was some real lows. This week there have been some major highs.

At one point, it looked like my career was down the toilet. Everything I worked for looked like it was done.

The reality is that when you hit a low point, there’s always an upside. The point where you want to give up is just the beginning of something new and amazing. When you hit that low, it’s so easy to want to give up.

You feel like you can’t go on and the odds are stacked against you.

Everything and everyone feel like they are working against your vision for your life. Most of all, you don’t know why you’ve suddenly hit this giant low point that feels like it’s going to last forever.

Your motivation is non-existent; you get out of bed and feel like crap; you’re not sure what today will mean – or the next for that matter.

All of this is fine. No, I’m not giving you some empty promise or meaningless reason to go on. What I’m telling you is that you must keep going. Even though you feel like you can’t, you must!

“All of these low points mean something. All of these low points turn into one giant moment of triumph if you keep stacking them up like shot glasses after a big night”

 

Good people are rewarded.

As long as you do your absolute best to be a good person, eventually your life will change.

All those small things you did for people will be remembered.
Someone will give you a chance and believe in you.
An opportunity will come from nowhere that you never expected.

Rewards always come for those who have earned it. How do you earn those rewards? By being a kind, humble and good person that serves the greater good. Let’s dumb it down further. You get the rewards by:

1. Helping people who have nothing
2. Smiling at as many people as you can
3. Answering messages on social media and helping people without getting anything in return
4. Staying positive through books and blogs like this
5. Waiting out the winter cold for summer to come into your life again

This list of five things is how you remain a good person through the chaos that we all experience. Many people say “That sounds easy Tim, but it’s harder than you think.”

That’s why I’ve made it practical with these five points.

 

How my luck changed this week.

I followed this formula I’ve laid out, and this week my luck changed. All of a sudden, I got multiple opportunities to do work that I love and get paid well for it so that I can focus on my blogging.

The messages I got with these opportunities all started with something like this:

“Thank you for sharing your story and having the guts to do so. You’ve inspired me and I appreciate it. I’d love to chat to you about opportunity X. Are you free for a few minutes?”

Then I got two more emails from television networks wanting me to spread some inspiration on their respective shows.

Your luck will change and opportunities will be presented to you if you keep going, never give up and continue being a good person.

It’s a long road towards getting up close and personal with your most important goal but if you stay the path, stay focused and be the person that makes you proud, it will happen.

 

Keep going.

So, if you’ve ever felt like I felt when my career went down the toilet last week, or you’re feeling that way right now, you must keep going.

I believe you can get what you seek if you remain focused and don’t let the negative emotions in your head take over. I know it’s tough but that’s no excuse. If you want your goals bad enough, then you’ll keep motivated to push through the rejection and failure.

Use selflessness to change your perspective. Look at yourself in the third person. See who you are now and who you can be. All of us can be leaders and when we look at ourselves without our self-talk and ego’s in the way, we can see who we really are.

Dare to dream a little. Don’t be afraid to think big. If you have crazy, audacious goals, then that’s even better.

Don’t be talked out of your mission.
Let your passion rip through the barriers that stand in your way.

Never give up. Keep going.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Motivation

We All Have It Tough – It’s What You Do With The Struggle.

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Lots of my people who read my stuff email me with their struggles. They’re hoping that I will be blown away by how hard they’ve had it. They think it’s some sort of competition to see who has the most battle scars.

By reading so many of these emails of struggle over the last few years, I realized something: we all have it tough. All of us struggle – even me.

– Right now, I have 14 days left until I’ll be out of a job.
– I’ve got some very challenging personal issues to deal with.
– My investments need a major rework and I’m completely lost.

I’ve been offered an opportunity to do public speaking to a large audience and am scared of whether I should say yes. Do I have what it takes? Will I mess it up?

We all have it tough.

What I’ve learned is it’s what you do with the struggle that will define your future.

 

Are you going to sit there and take it?

That’s right I’m asking you right now. What are you going to do with the struggles?

There are only two options:

1. Toughen up and use the struggles as motivation
2. Be a piss weak, sook, and give up.

Your struggles can take you to a new level. When George Lucas tried to make Star Wars, it was a total F*ck up. Everything went wrong. There were natural disasters, lack of money and even the actors thought it was the worse film ever to be made.

Did the creator of the Jedi Knight give up?

Not a chance. He kept going and defied the odds. His reward? One of the most watched movies of all time and plenty of cash to go with it.

You may still be thinking option two is your only hope. Maybe you could be piss weak and just give up. Then you could sit on the couch, watch Netflix, drink wine and pretend that your struggles didn’t stop you from achieving your goals.

 

The good news is giving up works short-term. The bad news?

After the short-term gain of giving up, and getting to Netflix and chill, you’ll be really pissed off at yourself. You’ll have regret and feel even worse than before you began your journey of struggle. Not getting your goals and making next to no progress feels like crap.I spent several years doing this.

“Every night I would get home, watch a Hollywood movie, go to 7-Eleven for some sugar and send useless texts to the toxic people in my life”

These same people were going nowhere and telling me to give up.

Screw that. I did this for a while and felt so empty. Life had no meaning and I was making no impact. The sugar diet made me sick and I ended up becoming bedridden.

 

The struggle is the beginning.

Looking back, without the struggle, I would have never got off my lazy ass and actually taken action. When I say “It’s what you do with the struggle,” what I mean is this:

Having it tough and struggling – like trying to walk up a hill while there’s a mudslide happening at the exact same time – is a big fat signal that you’re onto something.

The motivation and momentum you need to get started is right there in front of your blue eyes.

“You can’t get started on some mammoth task to change your life unless you get pissed off and do it tough”

If you were doing it easy, there’d be no urgent reason to take action.

When you’re like me and you are about to be unemployed, have lots of tough decisions to make and are unsatisfied with your career progression to date, you have to embrace your circumstances.

Now, this sounds like a lot of big words that you’d read in some 2000-page self-help book that repeats the same ideas over and over.

I’m going to dumb it right down:

The struggle is a sign to get started. When you struggle, things can’t really get much worse. What you’re left with is nothing but upside.

 

What action do we take then when we’re struggling?

Let’s use my situation as an example. Here are the action steps I’m using and implementing this week:

1. Accept where you are right now
– This will give you a reality check.

2. Meditate to relax your busy brain
– Stress will force you to make dumb decisions.

3. Get really uncomfortable
– I said yes to a new business venture that involves a lot of public speaking.

4. Resist the temptation to be pissed off
– Getting angry is only going to make things worse. Reserve your energy.

5. Write three things a day you’re grateful for
– This will force you to find the positive.

6. Delete whingers, sooks, liars and complainers from your contact list
– You’ve got enough issues; it’s hard enough to be positive without having toxic people talk nonsense and distract you.

 

Final step: Chill out amigo.

Your world is not going to end tomorrow. You can always start again. You can always fall down and get straight back up. Don’t be so angry with yourself. We all struggle and you’re doing the best that you can. Focus your energy on building your confidence and supporting your growth mindset.

“My future looks like a nuclear apocalypse right now but I’ve learned through the struggles that I always come out the other side on top”

Being impatient and stressing will only bring on more problems for you. It’s not that bad. Things always turn around. This moment of struggle and how you handle it will define who you become.

All of us have unlimited potential and we’re all struggling every day.

Once you learn to accept the struggle, embrace it and see it as a seed to something better, you’ll be well on your way to becoming someone you’re proud of.

Wish me luck with the struggles coming in the next few weeks. We’re in this together don’t forget.

Peace, love, respect.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Motivation

6 Lessons You Can Learn from The King of the Jungle

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lions

Do you watch documentaries on lions? If yes, then you must have seen that they dominate their territory and are apex predators. Lions are among the strongest animals in the world, and no one dares to confront or challenge them. They are called ‘kings’ because they have a touch of royalty in everything they do. From eating habits where 20-25 royal members dine at the same to conquering huge lands. A lion always has a bold attitude and lives like a true ruler.

But their life is full of obstacles and problems. There is less space for errors, as one mistake may make them lose their life, reign, or offspring. Also, hunting is not an easy task; their success rate is only 17-19 percent. Compared to human beings their quandaries are bigger because they never get a second opportunity.

But, have you ever seen a depressed lion or one who wants to give up? They always struggle to hunt and rule lands, but they never quit. Sometimes they fail in hunting a zebra, a gazelle, and a wildebeest. But do they give up? No. They try hard and succeed in hunting.

So, what motivates them to not surrender to the harsh life? The answer is survival. The only thing that keeps them moving is survival. Many lions lose their reign, children, and queens to other lions, but they never give up on life.

Here are six life lessons from the king of the jungle:

1. Your goal is the only way to survive

Set a life goal and work hard to achieve it; consider that there are no alternatives. As lions are born to hunt and rule; acknowledge that you are born to accomplish your life goal. Consider your purpose and work as a source of motivation. They will keep you going through good and bad times because fame is temporary, but work pleasure and sense of achievement are permanent.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” – Richard Branson

2. Fail and evolve

Lions fail eight out of ten times in hunting, but this makes them fine-tune their skills; thus, they can catch bigger prey to feed their family. Likewise, we should also embrace our failures and evolve each time we face them. We must study and analyze our failures and make sure to not repeat them. As Jack Ma has rightly said, “If the guy only checks himself, yeah, something wrong with me here, something wrong with me there. Then, this guy has hope.” Also, we must follow this law of nature: ‘Evolve and survive’ to achieve success in life.

3. Focus is the key

When lions go on a hunt, they make less noise and focus on the prey. They always have an element of surprise and keep everything low to make their raid successful. Now imagine, if a lion makes noise, will they be able to hunt? The answer is no! So, what do we learn? Too much talking makes us lose focus. Don’t tell everyone about your goals and what you are doing, keep it low and completely focus on your aim.

4. Always trust each other

A pride of lions always back each other in good and bad times. Rather in tough phases as an individual they contribute more to the survival of the pride. We should also learn that strength is in the pack. It’s necessary to not break each other’s trust for a short-term gain. Also, we must support each other in overcoming tough problems and situations.

“Attack your goals like your life depends on it”

5. Survival is everything

Lions don’t harm anyone without any reason. But, when someone tries to mar their territory, life, and family, they leave no stone unturned in giving a tough fight. Likewise, we should concentrate on our own betterment. However, if someone is trying to ruin our career or life, then instead of getting disappointed we should fight back and overcome such smotherers.

6. Have fun in life

Lions go through a harsh life filled with everyday challenges. But they don’t let them ruin their daily moments. They always enjoy every minute with their pride members. They play with each other and take care of everyone. You should also make sure to relish each moment of your life. Leave your stress and worries in your workplace, and when you are at home, relish the time with your family.

Lions teach us to dominate problems in life and live like a true winner. As someone has rightly said, “If size really mattered, the elephant would be king of the jungle.” Similarly, every animal’s life is full of struggle, and we can learn a lot from them to become successful and prosperous in our own lives. So next time you watch a documentary on lions, try to learn from them.

How will you become a lion in your everyday life? Comment below!

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