As achievers ourselves, we are enamored by the wildly successful. And rightfully so. Their accomplishments serve us as both targets and measuring sticks along our own success journey.But, digging deeper into most of these people’s backstories will often reveal even greater inspiration. With little exception, their end success was preceded by a mountain of heartache, rejection and even epic failure. Relentless pursuit of their goals and dreams despite so much defeat has been a driving force behind these icons.
Here are 6 ultra-successful people that failed forward to success:
1. Fred Smith
While attending Yale in 1962, Smith wrote a paper for an economics class outlining the idea for a worldwide, overnight package delivery service. The professor returned the paper to him and commented that, to earn better than a C grade, the idea would have to be feasible. Ignoring this rebuke, Smith went on to form FedEx, the world’s first overnight delivery company.
2. Michael Jordan
Jordan was cut from his high school’s basketball team as a sophomore. Within 2 years though he not only came back to make the team, but was also named high school All-American his senior year. In his professional career he lost over 300 games and missed over 9000 shots, 26 of them were potential game winners. Yet, Michael Jordan lead his team to 6 NBA championships, was named league MVP 5 times and became only the second player ever to score 3000 points in a single season!
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”
3. Abraham Lincoln
Perhaps one of the best examples of failing forward to success is the 16th president of the United States. Abraham Lincoln lost no less than 9 bids for various public offices prior to his presidency. He was fired from multiple jobs, failed at least twice as a business owner and even went bankrupt. But, At 52 years of age Lincoln was elected president and led the nation through its bloodiest war to preserve the union and abolish slavery.
4. Lucille Ball
From the age of 15, she wanted to act even though her drama school teacher once wrote to her mother, “Lucy’s wasting her time and ours…”. Ball went on to be fired from her first two Broadway acting gigs and became nicknamed “Queen of the B’s” for the number of second rate films she had roles in.
Today though we know Lucille Ball as the redheaded firecracker from the TV show, I Love Lucy, named in a 2012 ABC News survey as ‘The Best TV Show of All Time’. Her career persistence resulted in 2 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 4 Emmy Awards, and many other TV and Film honors. She is arguably the most recognized female actress of the 20th century.
“I don’t suppose that hard work, discipline, and a perfectionist attitude toward my work did me any harm.”
5. Theodor S. Geisel
Geisel worked as an illustrator and cartoonist during the Great Depression. But his love was for children’s books. His first manuscript was rejected by 27 publishers with responses such as, “Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling”. Only a chance meeting with an old college friend saved the pages from being burned. The book was published in 1937 opening the door for Geisel to become one of the most popular children’s book authors of all time, selling over 600 million copies. He penned most of his works under his pseudonym, Dr. Seuss.
6. Thomas Edison
Edison’s grade school teachers deemed him “too stupid to learn anything”. He was fired from jobs for being “non-productive”. He persisted in inventing but failed in gaining traction with most items. In fact, the thing Thomas Edison is most remembered for was not even his invention but rather the refinement of an existing idea… the light bulb. And even in that, it took him 10,000 tries to perfect it!
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Thousands more of these failing forward stories exist. In them, lessons abound. Grit, determination, persistence, and even some luck are clearly all part of the achievement recipe. But, there’s no denying that failure is something likely, and even useful, along the road to success.
Thank you for reading my article! Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!
5 Reasons Why Self-Motivation Can Prove to Be Your Strongest Armor to Stress
Stress is a detrimental force that impacts our health at all levels. It exposes us to physical pains, emotional troubles, and mental chaos. All these impacts of stress eat away our enthusiasm for living. We feel drained of all our energy, we don’t feel interested to do anything in life and everything appears meaningless. This vicious circle of stress keeps going on and on. It seems nearly impossible to find a way out of it. But it isn’t impossible in actuality. There is an infinite source of power within all of us by utilizing which we can end this vicious circle. But, rather than accessing that power from inside, we keep looking for it from outside sources. (more…)
11 Success-Boosting Motivational Tips You Need to Hear
If you’d like to learn how to stay motivated so you can find success in multiple areas of your life, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
How many times have you enthusiastically started a weight loss program, started a weight training or aerobics program, or started learning a foreign language, only to stop after a short while? How many times have you tried to make changes in your life, to study a certain subject or to start a certain project, but failed for lack of motivation? (more…)
6 Lessons From Some of the Greats to Keep Your Mindset Strong
Anyone who is a long time student of personal development has probably learned some pretty amazing lessons from some of the greats. In times of uncertainty, these lessons are especially important and we can turn to this wisdom to push us through. One of the biggest lessons to remember to keep your mindset strong is that we control our reality, which can feel like a cruel joke when times are really tough. When the outside world seems to be spinning out of control, we can maintain a sense of inner peace and keep our mindsets strong by remembering some of these important lessons. (more…)
Developing Your Leadership Potential – 8 Methods in Which Writing Can Help Motivate Others
If you’d like to learn how to develop your potential so you can have the confidence to go after the goals you have set, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
When all is said and done, we are all writers in one way or another. From high-school essays, college papers, to social media posts, messages and online forum monologues, everyone has had experience with writing at some point. (more…)
25 Quotes About Resilience to Help You Bounce Back in Tough Times
The Four Ps That Influence Effective Negotiation
8 Traits of an Effective Business Leader
Drawing Boundaries is an Essential Skill for Getting What You Want
5 Keys To Success In All Relationships
55 Inspirational Quotes That Will Change Your Life
(Images) 52 Motivational Picture Quotes For An Epic Year Of Success
30 Famous Quotes That Will Inspire Success In You
72 Positive Thinking Quotes For More Inner Strength & Growth
40 Rare Motivational and Inspirational Picture Quotes
3 Prince EA Videos To Change Humanities Path To Greatness
(Video) What Is Success? An Entrepreneurial Story To Inspire You
(Inspirational Video) What If Today You Knew You Were Going To Take Your Last Breath?
How To Make Enough Money From A Blog To Quit Your Job – Kate McKibbin
How Finding Your Passion And Becoming An Entrepreneur Can Lead To Happiness – Chiquita Searle
- Success Advice3 weeks ago
16 Everyday Habits to Boost Your Creativity
- Life4 weeks ago
5 Stress Management Techniques to Find Bliss in Life
- Life3 weeks ago
5 Essential Tips for Dealing With Uncertainty
- Life3 weeks ago
Read This If You Are Tired Of Finding Excuses For Your Inconsistency
- Life3 weeks ago
8 Ways A Digital Detox Will Increase Your Productivity
- Success Advice4 weeks ago
4 Reasons Why Teachers Make the Best Salespeople
- Success Advice4 weeks ago
How to Plan Your Day for Peak Performance
- Success Advice1 week ago
The 6 Steps You Should Take to Reinvent Yourself