Failure occurs everyday, in school, jobs, housework, and within families. It is unavoidable, irritating and causes pessimism. While the thought of flinging your hands in the air and walking away is all too appealing, take a second to connect with the people who have been there and survived. Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. — Henry Ford.
Here are 5 famous failures to success stories around the world that will inspire you to keep going and achieve greatness:
1. J.K. Rowling
During a Harvard commencement speech, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling outlined the importance and value of failure.
Why? Simply because she was once a failure too. A few short years after her graduation from college, her worst nightmares were realized. In her words, “I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.”
Coming out of this failure stronger and more determined was the key to her success.
2. Steve Jobs
The now revolutionary Apple started off with two men in a garage. Years later we all know it as a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees.
Yet, almost unbelievably, Steve Jobs was fired from the very company he began. The dismissal made him realize that his passion for his work exceeded the disappointment of failure. Further ventures such as NeXT and Pixar eventually led Jobs back to the CEO position at Apple. Jobs said in 2005: “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”
Lost your job today? Keep kicking and you could be just like this guy!
3. Albert Einstein
The word ‘Einstein’ is associated with intelligence and synonymous with genius. Yet it is a famous fact that the pioneer of the theory of general relativity, Albert Einstein himself, could not speak fluently until the age of nine. His rebellious nature led to expulsion from school, and he was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.
His earlier setbacks did not stop him from winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. After all, he believed that: “Success is failure in progress.”
To this day, his research has influenced various aspects of life including culture, religion, art, and even late night TV. Just because you haven’t achieved anything great yet, doesn’t mean you can’t be an Einstein yourself.
4. Abraham Lincoln
Failing in business in 1831, suffering a nervous breakdown in 1836, defeated in his run for president in 1856, Abraham Lincoln was no stranger to rejection and failure. Rather than taking these signs as a motivation for surrender, he refused to stop trying his best.
In this great man’s words: “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” Lincoln was elected in 1861 as the 16th President of the United States of America. The amount of rejection you receive is not a defining factor. Success is still within your reach.
5. Vincent Van Gogh
During his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh suffered mental illness, failed relationships, and committed suicide at the age of 37. He only ever sold one painting in his life, pinning him a failure as an artist. However that did not put a damper on his enthusiasm and passion for art. He would never know that years and years after his death he would become known as a key figure in the world of post-impressionism, and ultimately, one of the greatest artist that ever lived. He would never know that he became a hot topic in art classes and his image was going to be used in TV, books and other forms of popular culture. In the words of this great, but tragic man: “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”