7 Famous People Who Failed Before Succeeding



7 Famous People Who Failed Before Succeeding

7 Famous People

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill.

We all know the names of these Legends. The general consensus of success in the arts, entertainment, or business doesn’t take into account personal struggles.

I loved this post.  It tells the stories of “7 Famously Successful People Who Failed at First.”  These people come from all walks of life.

“ Failure isn’t permanent ”

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Well, everybody knows what he went on to do later. He held 1,000 patents and invented some phonograph, practical electrical lamp, a movie camera and many others.

  • Born: 11 February 1847, Milan, Ohio, United States
  • Died: 18 October 1931, West Orange, New Jersey, United States

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin

At the age of nine Charles Darwin entered Shrewsbury School. He was not a very good student. In 1825 Darwin went to Edinburgh University in Scotland to study medicine, but he soon realized that he was unable to even watch an operation being performed. He abandoned it and went on create the foundation of evolutionary biology, ‘On the Origin of Species’.

  • Born: 12 February 1809, The Mount, Shrewsbury
  • Died: 19 April 1882, Down House, Downe, United Kingdom

Walt Disney

Walt Disney’s former newspaper editor felt that he lacked imagination and had no good ideas. He didn’t get bogged down by it and went on to create the biggest kids brand history has ever seen. “I think it’s important to have a good hard failure when you’re young… Because it makes you kind of aware of what can happen to you. Because of it I’ve never had any fear in my whole life when we’ve been near collapse and all of that. I’ve never been afraid,” he said.

Disney’s first go at business landed in bankruptcy when he acquired an animation studio by the name of Laugh-O-Gram. The company was acquired because, at the time, Disney’s cartoon creations had gained popularity in the Kansas City area. But, when he hired on salaried employees, he was unable to manage money and the business wound up heavily in debt. Subsequently, he filed for bankruptcy and moved to Hollywood, California.

  • Born: 5 December 1901, Hermosa, Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • Died: 15 December 1966, Burbank, California, United States

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah had a rocky start in life. As the daughter of a teenaged low-income mother, her start was anything but glamorous. In her early years, Oprah recounts that not only were her living conditions rough, but she was always sexually abused, starting at the age of 9, by her cousin, uncle, and a family friend. At the age of 14 Oprah got pregnant, but her son died shortly after birth.

“There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction,” she said during a Harvard commencement speech. She was fired from her first television job as an anchor in Baltimore. Today she is a billionaire with her own TV channels.

  • Born: 29 January 1954 (age 63), Kosciusko, Mississippi, United States

Stephen King

Stephen King

Stephen King is famous for many critically-acclaimed novels, most of which have been made into movies. However, Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, was rejected 30 times before it was published.

Not only that, but King actually threw the manuscript into the garbage, only later to be retrieved by his wife who wildly believed in his dream of becoming a published author.

  • Born: 21 September 1947 (age 69), Portland, Maine, United States

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling

Author J K Rowling in her own word ‘had failed on an epic scale’. She had a short-lived marriage, was jobless, a lone parent, and poor. In her Harvard university commencement speech in 2008 she said, “Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

  • Born: 31 July 1965 (age 51), Yate, United Kingdom

Bill Gates


Before Microsoft was born, Bill Gates suffered failure in business. Known today to be one of the wealthiest men in the world, Bill Gates’s upper middle-class family is a stark contrast from some of the other successful failures out there that didn’t have well-off parents.

However, Bill Gates didn’t rely on his family. His business acumen was second to none. But his first business was indeed a failure. Traf-O-Data was a partnership between Gates, Paul Gilbert, and Paul Allen. The goal of the business was to create reports for roadway engineers from raw traffic data.

  • Born: 28 October 1955 (age 61), Seattle, Washington, United States

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