10 Famous Failures Who Kept Going and Succeeded

10 Famous Failures Who Kept Going and Succeeded

The initial failure in life is not enough to continue to be a failure in life. Many successful people in the world today, have one reason or the other not to succeed because most of them were not successful at their first attempts. Failure is bound to occur either in jobs, school, housework, and even in the family. The truth is that it is unavoidable. What makes the difference is the way you approach failure, and the lessons you learn from that. Failure means an opportunity to start again, and this time avoiding those things that caused the failure in the past. It is common for anybody to fail before succeeding. Read the stories of people you consider as successful people. They faced obstacles at one point in time, but the difference is how they can overcome those obstacles. Failures happen, you can learn from it.

To illustrate the point clearly, here is the story of ten famous failures who kept going and succeeded. These may be people you are familiar with.


Jeff Bezos

The creator of Amazon Jeff Bezos was one of the people that faced serious challenges at the beginning, and who never gave up. He said that they had three big ideas at Amazon which he conceived for about eighteen years. He maintained the ideas were the reason they were successful. These ideas include putting their customers first, inventing, and patient. Amazon was not the first company built by Jeff. He created a company known as zShops, and this is where he got the idea of Amazon Marketplace. He introduced several products that have failed at Amazon. However, he was prepared for the failure and that is why he has in place a plan that will embrace failure. He was creative. The man’s network is put at $150 billion and the company has continued to grow and even bigger. It is perhaps the most popular eCommerce website in the world today.

Innovation can lead to failure because anybody can create, and it can lead to keen competition. He believed that the best way to place products above its competitors is to put a different spin which can make it better than the existing products. If your product is to stand out among its competitors, you add something to put it at an edge. This is the idea incorporated into business by Jeff Bezos. He did not allow the initial failure to pull him down, rather he pushed forward until he gets what he wants.


Sara Blakely

Sarah Blakely is a billionaire and she was motivated by her father who kept asking her what have you failed to do this week. She is regarded as one of the failures who never allowed such a failure to stand on her way of success. She felt in several approaches to create a wonderful fax machine but she did not give up until her ideas come into fruition one day.

She has an idea for adding an undergarment in her machines. That idea which she wanted to be created does not exist. She cut holes at the pantyhose and this motivated her more to create what she wanted. Sarah could not create one but she looked for manufacturers who transform that idea into reality. Many of the manufacturers of that time do not understand that, and they thought that the idea was crazy and they rejected to create one. She kept trying until one day one of the manufacturers who had earlier rejected that idea decided to create the fax machine with the particular features she wanted.

The creation of that product changed her story, and she was able to create her brand known as Spanx. She did not give up the idea because she was frustrated on the way. Persistence is the key to success. Once you have that idea and you are convinced it can fetch something good and great, do not give up until you get what you want. It can change your story to life.

3. Walt Disney

You can learn from Disney’s famous quotes that all our dreams can come true if there is the courage to pursue those ideas. Disney remained famous for the magical things he has introduced to this world. Creating such things is not easy because it is accompanied by lots of setbacks.

Anytime one is discussing famous failures in the world who later became successful in life, Walt Disney will always make the list. When he was just 22 years old, he was fired in his place of work by a newspaper editor who considered him uncreative and not inspirational. The editor said that he lacked imagination and bereft of ideas.

This became a challenge and he pursued the life of creativity. He acquired the Laugh Gram studio for this first animation project. Even the studio was not successfully managed because it ran into debt and went to bankruptcy.

He left the city with just forty dollars in his pocket. When he arrived in Los Angeles he discovered that as popular as Hollywood was there were no animation studios that serviced the company. He decided to create the Mickey Mouse. This is the most successful studio in the world today. A man that once ran a company declared bankrupt today has a network of more than $95 billion. Not only that this company has won numerous awards in the past. Though the man died in the year 1966, he remained a good example of a successful person one can learn from.

His creativity did not only affect the past and present generations even generations to come will continue to be impacted by his creativity. Yet this was a man who was fired for non-creativity.

4. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is another person worth emulating. He believed that it is a waste of time to emulate or copy what others have created. Jobs advised not to allow yourself to be guided by dogma because it is something created by other people.

Steve Jobs was once fired and this has also motivated him to become successful. The company he created fired him when he had issues with the board of directors at Apple. The firing motivated him because it pushed him forward. He was able to acquire animation studio Pixar. Because of this, the same company that fired him has to hire him back. When he was hired he has to create the greatest technologies which the company is ever known for in history.

Some of the most innovative creations from the company include the iPad, MacBook, and iPod. Pixar which he acquired was later acquired by Disney at the cost of $7.4 billion in the year 2006.

By time Jobs died in the year 2011, his worth was estimated to be $10.2 billion. This is a great achievement and it inspired a lot of people. It is great because the setback he suffered then was painful and he was able to learn new skills in the process. This opened a new chapter in his life. When one door closes, another one will open and that is what you can learn from the example of Steve Jobs.

5. Sir James Dyson

James Dyson is one of the greatest inventors of his time. He has an idea and that is the creation of a vacuum design that does not need a bag. As at that time nobody has ever considered that kind of design. He did not give up and it took more than 5,126 designs before he got what he wanted to create. Many manufacturers refused to create his ideas but he never gave up. However, when the idea was accepted and the vacuum created, the brand became the most powerful product in the world. The brand has made well over $1.03 billion in profit. The company has made well over 10 billion dollars.

Several designs were created and in the process, the best and needed design was created. Dyson Vacuum cleaner is reputable, and it is among the most popular brands in the world. This is not the first time he conceived the idea. It has been with him since the time he was in the 30s. These days there are different variations in the market and the company is one of the greatest manufacturers of vacuum cleaners in the world.

6. J.K. Rowling

Life is full of ups and downs. It is not possible to live without failing at one point in time. This is an assertion from J.K Rowling. Rowling herself was an author and she was the one that created Harry Potter. She experienced failures and whenever one is discussing failures, she is described as one of the famous failures in this world. Before she published Harry Potter, she faced serious challenges in life. She was unemployed and divorced. The hardship that followed motivated her to create Harry Potter on a napkin. To bring her ideas to the life she decided to publish that idea in a book form. Even to publish that book was not easy because she was rejected by at least 12 publishers.

Despite the challenges, she has to publish that book along with six other books. At a time, she achieved a lot as the ninth bestselling fiction author in this world, and more than five hundred million copies of that book were sold.

The Harry Potter franchise was able to make over $25 billion. This creative idea in that book was also turned to movies. Today, the network of the lady is estimated to be about $650 million.

The lesson to learn here is that even in the face of failure, you can succeed and once you have an idea, you should not hesitate to put those ideas into action. Rowling did not want her ideas to die. To date, the story of the woman is the most inspiring success stories in the world. Some people do not know her by her name but as somebody who created Harry Potter.

7. Nick Woodman

Nick Woodman has a passion for business but his previous attempts at business never paid off. He once established a business like Empower All which was about selling Fun Bug and electronics as well as gaming and marketing platforms. The business was not a success. He did not give up and he decided to do what other investors do to succeed. He refused to give up and pursued his ideas. Nick continues to surf and travel and he traveled a lot. In the course of his travels, he discovered there was nothing that can assist him to take surfing videos so he decided to invest and create one. He created GoPro. His net worth is more than $990 million. More than thirty million of this camera was sold across the globe. He believed that the successes of GoPro are because of the lessons he learned from his previous encounter in his other failed businesses.

His previous failures instead of setting him back have inspired and motivated him to succeed. The best way to be great is by solving problems.


Oprah Winfrey

Oprah has a great philosophy that guided her in life. She believed that one should think like a queen because a queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is nothing but a stepping stone to achieving greatness. This woman is perhaps the biggest sensation today. She did not have a solid start. Oprah has rough childhood and she was pregnant at a teenage age and had a miscarriage. Right from her young age, she has learned how to persevere. She also landed a big television gig in Baltimore and she knew that she was right for television news.

She started from a television house where she partakes in different television shows. Winfrey later became a host where is now hosting her television show and this was aired for more than 25 years. The woman now is the owner of her television network called OWN. It is estimated that her net worth is more than $4 billion and she is in the list of the topmost five hundred richest people in the world.


Sophia Amoroso

She believes that failure can happen before you can achieve success and that it can happen even throughout your career. This woman is accustomed to public failure. She started the online store known as Nasty Gal and it began as an eBay store. When her account was suspended, she decided to create her store. The Nasty Gal is successful and it is one of the fastest-growing in the world today. This company has grown to make over $100 million and employ more than 350 workers. The business ran into a problem and it was declared bankrupt in the year 2016. She is still striving and age is on her side. Her net worth is more than $10 million and it is not yet the end of the road for her.


Vera Wang

Vera was an employee of another company and she spent fifteen years for the company. She applied several years for the position as Editor in Chief at Vogue company. She decided to change the line and turn into a fashion designer. The woman established a flourishing career in the wedding gown industry and her product is the leading brand in the world.

Her brand is worn across the globe and it is the topmost brand in the world today. The company earns more than $343.8 Million. Her determination should be a lesson for other people. Determination is the key to success.

special mentions:

Steven Spielberg
Perhaps the most famous name in the cinematic world today is Steven Spielberg. It was not easy for him to reach that state today. He has lots of challenges on his way. This blockbuster was rejected no less than two times by the same university of Southern California school of cinematic arts.

Despite that, this name was never discouraged and he pursued his career until he reaches the apex of that career. His output in the cinematic world has earned him not less than $9 billion. Apart from that in the past, the man alone has won three awards in the same field he was rejected three times in the past. 
Even the school that rejected him two times compensated him by building in his name in the University that rejected him. The building was another way of telling him that we were sorry for rejecting you in the past. This is a good example of someone who was determined to succeed in his career and eventually surmounted all the obstacles to reach the pinnacle of that profession.

Thomas Edison 
This is another name worthy of emulation. He did not find it easy to succeed in his career. Even as a lad who was ready to learn, there were obstacles and bumps on his way. Even his teachers made the most discouraging statements that throw anybody off balance. It was reported that his teachers once told Edison that he was too stupid that he could not learn anything. This assessment as wrong and frustrating as it is, it did not throw the man off balance rather it pushed him to achieve more.
The man went ahead to become the most distinguished investors of all time. This was who was written off as not capable of learning anything in life because of his stupidity before has more than 1000 patents in the world and this cut across different areas like practical electric lamp and phonography. The teachers who wrote him would have regretted their assessment of one of the best creators of all time. If for anything, it can be said that this assessment has pushed him to achieve more.

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein is regarded as the father of physics. He laid the foundation of whatever physics is to achieve in life. His beginning was indeed very difficult and many people who knew right from birth have written him off. Yet this man who is today known for his intelligence and inventions in the field of physics could not speak as a child until he has reached the age of four years. This is abnormal. In the same way, he was able to read at the age of seven. Because of the slow development, he was written off. Some people even thought that the man was mentally handicapped.

Despite that, he proved everybody wrong in the field of physics. His major contribution is that he has permanently altered the way the world approach physics. It is not surprising that this man is widely regarded as the father of modern physics. He won the most prestigious award in this world and that is the Nobel Prize and that was because of his contributions to the world of physics. 

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln is synonymous with failure. He tried in a lot of ventures and he failed in almost all of them. What distinguishes him from others is that he never gave up. Lincoln achieved a great foot when he joined the military and left for war as a captain and returned from the war as a private which is the lowest rank in the army.

When he left the military, he attempted on different businesses and he failed in all his attempts. The man was not determined to be a failure in his life so he pushed forward. He entered politics and had a series of failures until he was elected to the highest office in the United States of America. He became one of the best presidents ever produced in America. From failure to the foremost statesman. Lincoln is one of the good examples people should emulate whenever the wish and desire for determination are analyzed. 

Jerry Seinfeld
Whenever successful comedians are discussed, the name Jerry Seinfeld will be remembered. He did not find it easy at the beginning. If not for his determination, he would have fallen off because he has a reason to fall out at the initial stage. He started as a young comedian but when it comes to the stage, his first attempt at the stage was a disaster.
When he got to the stage and saw the number or the audience waiting for him, he froze and moved out. He was jeered and booed off the stage.

He has options before him but he was determined to continue in the world of comedy. There is the option to drop out of the stage and look for something other than comedy to do. The second option was to continue with the process and come back to the stage next time with the audience in hysterics. He was not discouraged by the first attempt and he decided to return to the stage the second night. He got the courage and he got the inspiration. This man is one of the most celebrated comedians in the world today. He is a good example of one of those who never wanted failure to become the albatross to their way to success.

Theodor Seuss Geisel
Anytime you consider the best children’s authors ever produced in the world, your attention would be drawn to Theodor Seuss Geisel. He is also known as Dr. Seuss. This man was much loved for the number of books about children he has written. He did not find it easy at the beginning because his first books were rejected by at least 27 publishers. These books which were rejected for publication by publishers were the best-selling children’s books of all time. These books sell very well such that more than six hundred million books are sold across the world. He has a reason to fail. His rejection by publishers did not make him fail, rather it pushed him to succeed. Now that those publishers that once rejected the books are also celebrating his successes today.

Vincent Van Gogh
When it comes to the world of painting, Vincent Van Gogh is the man to recognize. Even in his lifetime, the man’s efforts were not recognized because the works were not rewarding. Today if you price any of the works of this painter, you would be prepared to spend well over one hundred million dollars these days. The man never enjoyed such in his lifetime. Throughout his life, the painting he sold was The Red Vineyard. He did not even enjoy it because he died shortly afterward. The works are the most successful and highly-priced in the world. The unfortunate thing here is that other people he left behind are the people who are enjoying his successes.

Colonel Sanders
Those who think that age can be a barrier to the commencement of any business can think twice. They can learn from the example of Colonel Sanders. Before he ventured in that business, he was aged 62, and what he had then as his social security worth was $105. With this, he started his chicken recipe restaurant. He was also widely rejected. He was rejected by more than one thousand companies. This does not deter him and he was determined and he hit the road selling his franchise by himself. This resembled chicken restaurants. He eventually became successful with a restaurant that was located outside of Utah.
His chicken was able to increase the sales of the restaurant. The product becomes famous as he was the first-ever Kentucky Fried chicken ever recorded. The availability of the chicken contributed to the success of that restaurant. The restaurant sales increased more than three times.

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan was the most successful player. He did not start well in his school. Even his school did not include him as part of the school basketball team. This did not make him quit sports. He was not discovered in school. However, he took his career in basketball. Today, he is the most successful and the most celebrated basketball player of all time. In his time, he has won six championships as well as five MVPs. There is no other player that can match his achievement in the world of basketball. He is the best in the field of basketball. It was not like that in the beginning. He was never discovered in school and he never gave up because he was not discovered when he was in high school.
He said that he succeeded because of the failures he had in the field. In his career, he reported that he missed not less than 9000 shots and has lost about 300 games. He also reported that he was entrusted with a winning chance for 26 occasions and he missed on each of these occasions. According to him, he has failed several times, and because of his determination.

Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin is one of the good examples of people who failed and worked hard to succeed. As far as the world is concerned, he has contributed a lot to the understanding of the world especially in the area of chemistry. While the school, he was not considered bright and rated an average student. He was to study medicine but he has to abandon it because he was not considered bright enough for that course.

Instead, he devoted his time to the study of nature. He made a lot of discoveries, and this led to the change in the way people think and see the world today. He was one of those who changed the world. The man has reason to fail but he never gave up.



The lesson to learn from all this is that failure can come and when that happens, it is not going to be the end of the world. Even if you are experiencing a setback, you can turn things around you, and it is determination. Do not lose hope, keep trying.