Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ever feel like a failure? Feel like nothing you do ever turns out? Feel like you're just not good enough to succeed in life? If any of these feelings or similar feelings pop into your head, read the following examples of people who have experienced "failure" and decide for yourself.

Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he finally succeeded.

FedEx founder Fred Smith received a grade of 'C' on college paper that de­scribed his concept for the overnight air service. His profes­sor wrote, " order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible."

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him hopeless as a composer.

Sir Winston Churchill took three years to get through eighth grade because of his troubles learning English grammar.

Colonel Sanders had the construction of a new road put him out of business in 1967. He went to over 1,000 places trying to sell his chicken recipe before he found a buyer interested in his 11 herbs and spices. Seven years later, at the age of 75, Colonel Sanders sold his fried chicken company for a finger-lickin' $15 million!

The Beatles were turned down by every major record company. In fact it was a small EMI subsidiary Parlaphone that was normally used to put out comedy records that finally took a chance on them after a chance meeting that Brian had with George Martin who was a producer but not A;R man at the label.

Diana Ross and the Supremes first record and it was a flop. They continued recording eight more records and all nine were failures.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas. Disney also went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland.

Charles Darwin, father of the theory of evolution, gave up a medical career and was told by his father, “You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat catching.” In his autobiography, Darwin wrote, “I was considered by my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard in intellect.

In his teens Elvis Presley was still a very shy person, a "kid who had spent scarcely a night away from home in his nineteen years."[14] He was teased by his fellow classmates who threw "things at him - rotten fruit and stuff - because he was different, because he was quiet and he stuttered and he was a mama's boyHowever, at the beginning of his career, critics ridiculed Presley's manner of singing. For instance, on June 11, 1956, Time magazine called the singer "dreamboat Groaner Elvis ("Hi luh-huh-huh-huv-huv yew-hew") Presley."

Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and didn’t read until he was seven. His teacher described him as “mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams.” He was expelled and refused admittance to Zurich Polytechnic School. The University of Bern turned down his Ph.D. dissertation as being irrelevant and fanciful.

The movie Star Wars was rejected by every movie studio in Hollywood before 20th-Century Fox finally produced it. It went on to be one of the largest grossing movies in film history.

Louis Pasteur was only a mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies and ranked 15 out of 22 in chemistry.

Thomas Edison's teachers said he was too stupid to learn anything.

When NFL running back Herschel Walker was in junior high school, he wanted to play football, but the coach told him he was too small. He advised young Herschel to go out for track instead. Never one to give up, he ignored the coach's advice and began an intensive training program to build himself up. Only a few years later, Herschel Walker won the Heisman trophy.

When General Douglas MacArthur applied for admission to West Point, he was turned down, not once but twice. But he tried a third time, was accepted and marched into the history books.

After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the memo from the testing director of MGM, dated 1933, said, “Can’t act! Slightly bald! Can dance a little!” Astaire kept that memo over the fireplace in his Beverly Hills home.

The father of the sculptor Rodin [The Thinker Statue] said, “I have an idiot for a son.” Described as the worst pupil in the school, Rodin failed three times to secure admittance to the school of art. His uncle called him uneducable.

Babe Ruth, considered by sports historians to be the greatest athlete of all time and famous for setting the home run record, also holds the record for strikeouts.

Eighteen publishers turned down Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull, before Macmillan finally published it in 1970. By 1975 it had sold more than seven million copies in the U.S. alone.
Margaret Mitchell's classic Gone with the Wind was turned down by more than twenty-five publishers.

Richard Hooker worked for seven years on his humorous war novel, M*A*S*H, only to have it rejected by 21 publishers before Morrow decided to publish it. It became a runaway bestseller, spawning a blockbusting movie and highly successful television series.

When the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book was completed, it was turned down by thirty-three publishers in New York and another ninety at the American Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim, California, before Health Communications, Inc., finally agreed to publish it. The major New York publishers said, "It is too nicey-nice" and "Nobody wants to read a book of short little stories." Since that time more than 8 million copies of the original Chicken Soup for the Soul book have been sold. The series, which has grown to thirty-two titles, in thirty-one languages, has sold more than 53 million copies.

In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told Presley, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere… son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” Elvis Presley went on to become the most popular singer in America.

Dr. Seuss' first children's book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected by twenty-seven publishers. The twenty-eighth publisher, Vanguard press, sold six million copies of the book.

Abe Lincoln: 1832 Lost job, Defeated for state legislature; 1833 Failed in business; 1835 Sweetheart died; 1836 Had nervous breakdown; 1838 Defeated for Speaker; 1843 Defeated for nomination for Congress; 1848 Lost renomination; 1849 Rejected for land officer; 1854 Defeated for U.S. Senate; 1856 Defeated for nomination for Vice President; 1858 Again defeated for U.S. Senate; 1860 Elected President!

Never give up believing in yourself, never stop trying and see so-called failures as what they are "learning and growth opportunities"

I also recommend reading Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell who goes into detail explaining that success isn't a result of simply a smart or amazing person, it's a result of hard work, opportunities, persistance and so many other things. If we believe successful people were simply born that way or never experienced set backs or failures we're failing to realize our own potential!


  1. Great blog and wonderful thoughts. I've had my bouts with depression and family members with depression. Most of the people I know who are depressed don't want to admit to it but those who do get help from medication and therapy are living productive lives, there is hope, we've all learned.

  2. I really like this post and all of the others I have read. Very inspiring and helpful!

  3. Great examples! I just read your about me section and you and I are in a similar boat. I suffer from mental illness, and I feel the mainstream mental health community as a whole is somewhat misleading and underdeveloped. I write a blog about alternative aspects of mental health (

    I'm loving what I see here so far, and would like to network with you, as we are blogging about very similar things.