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6 Extremely Successful People Who Failed Forward to Success

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6 Extremely Successful People Who Failed Forward to Success

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

Fred SmithWhile 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

Michael JordanJordan 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

Abraham LincolnPerhaps 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

Lucille BallFrom 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

Theodor S. GeiselGeisel 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

Thomas EdisonEdison’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!

Doug is a chiropractor, a business coach and a writer too. He coaches and speaks on healthcare business success systems while he blogs and podcasts about strategies for handling life’s changes. In the last 3 years alone he has sold a business, evolved his career, moved his family from Texas to Wisconsin, lost control of his autistic son… and gained it back again. He knows change!  His goal is to help you face it and conquer it too! Join him at AchievementRenewed.com and Dr. Doug Sullivan on Facebook.

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Change Your Mindset

5 Ways To Achieve Your Goals (With Examples)

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Setting goals is a crucial first step, whether you’re striving to reach personal or professional milestones. However, achieving those goals requires planning, determination, and focus. In this post, we’ll discuss five actionable strategies that can help you achieve your goals in 2023, and we’ll provide real-life examples to inspire and motivate you. By implementing these tips, you can train your brain to achieve your goals and make meaningful progress toward your aspirations.

1. Write Down Your Goals

The first thing needed to achieve a goal is to have one. A goal becomes very clear and precise once you have written it down most simply and easily to remember.

Here are some examples:

  • I am the world’s best dancer!
  • I am the greatest athlete!
  • I have created the world’s most innovative tech company!

They are all written with the belief that these things have already happened. Once you start believing it has already happened, other people too can sense your confidence and things start happening.

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” — Andrew Carnegie

2. The One Page Plan

A simple one-page plan to accompany your goal is much more powerful than a detailed 30-page plan. After you have written your clear goal – write down all the things you will have to do to achieve it. Make it as simple and direct as possible so that you can refer to it every day and take action. A simple plan is easier to follow and keep up with.

3. Get The Right Skills

Once you have a clear goal that has been inked into your mind, and a clear plan in place, it is very important to invest in the skills you need to achieve your goal.

So for example, if you want to become a movie star, you should immediately start developing your acting skills. Observe how other actors perform, join an acting class, read about acting, and most importantly, start honing your craft by joining a local theatre group and going for as many auditions as you can. Practice is very important for mastering any skill.

Struggling To Achieve Your Goals? Here Are 9 Possible Reasons Why! 

4. Surround Yourself With The Best People

The best way to achieve our goals is to make sure we have the best people supporting us. People who succeed are always those who understand the power of people.

So let’s say your goal is to be an entrepreneur and you have developed your entrepreneurial skills, the next step would be to get the best people to join your team to help you achieve your goal. These would be people who you consider to be the best marketers capable of getting you the best customers and investors.

Once you have the best people supporting you, it becomes much easier and faster to achieve your goals.

“It takes tremendous discipline to control the influence, the power you have over other people’s lives.” – Clint Eastwood

5. Power of Faith

Nothing beats the power of faith and belief. Sometimes you might face challenges, sometimes things might not be going your way, and you might feel like giving up – these are the times when faith and belief will keep you going.

So many people give up, just a few inches away from victory. I am sure you are not one of them since you are investing time into self-development which gives the highest returns! Now go out there and start achieving your goals!

Need more motivation? Read our blogs on motivation and become your best self now!

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Change Your Mindset

5 Easy Ways to Find Motivation When You’re Feeling Stuck

One of the easiest and most beneficial ways to get motivated is to get up and get active

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We’ve all had those days when we feel like we just can’t get motivated to do anything. Whether it’s an important task that needs to be done or something we just don’t feel like doing, it can be hard to get going. (more…)

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Change Your Mindset

7 of The Best Motivational Speeches of All Time

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What could we possibly achieve by listening to motivational speeches? Isn’t that a waste of time? It’s not. A great motivational speech can be a trigger to action. It inspires you to do something. Powerful speeches make you realize you’re not just a useless individual in this world. Everyone matters. You matter, too. (more…)

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Change Your Mindset

Motivational Advice You Never Hear From Elon Musk

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Elon Musk is the hottest entrepreneur on the planet right now. From launching an electric car into space, buying Twitter, and tunneling holes throughout the country, his unconventional ventures are inspiring millions. (more…)

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