20 Famously Successful People Who Failed At First

Successful People Who Failed At First

Remember when we used to show the report cards to our mom, and she’d respond with an exasperated sigh, followed by an expression of her heartfelt desire that we’d somehow become child prodigies or turn into geniuses like Einstein? And on other occasions, when dad would be chanting in support of Manchester United while glued to the television screen, and then he’d suddenly give us this hopeful look that someday we’d also bend it like Beckham? Yes, we do! Although parents and educational institutions always preach the accomplishments of all great famous personas but it is not a hidden fact that almost all of them had a rough start; that it was only after facing multiple failures, (and also because they possessed lots of motivation and dedication) were they able to climb the ladder of success.

This article sheds light on 20 well-known and powerful people of today, who have permanently carved their name in history, and how their journey was not just a smooth ride, but also one that had to overcome several obstacles and boulders to reach the final destination.

Henry Ford

The very famous businessman and founder of the best car company around the world was no instant success. He also was not able to cash his idea at first. The start of his journey was not so easy or smooth. He failed at his business about five times before he had this innovative line of American-made cars. His success story began with the Ford Motor Company.

Bill Gates

His first business venture co-partnering with Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data failed miserably, after dropping out of Harvard. Success didn’t follow high right away. It took time, but Gates never gave up on the idea, even after his failure. Persistence in life made him the creator of the global empire, Microsoft.

Walt Disney

Today Disney is mass-producing money from merchandise, movies and theme parks around the world. However, it was not easy to reach here; Walt Disney had a rough start as he was fired from a newspaper company on the premise that he lacked imagination. Walt tried his luck in many businesses, but it all leads to bankruptcy. Eventually, all the ideas in his head cooked up a recipe for success.

Albert Einstein

Today consider the smartest of all, but in his time he was thought to be mentally handicapped. He did not speak until four or read till 7. A slow learner and anti-social in nature got him expelled from school and refusal on admission to Zurich Polytechnic School. It took him longer to get the hang of simple thing, but he changed the face of modern physics today, a Nobel Prize winner to say the least.

Charles Darwin

Darwin gave up on having a medical career and was greatly criticized by his father for being incompetent. Darwin once expressed that his superiors and his father always thought of him as an ordinary man with below average intellect. Well, history proves them wrong because he is known as the Father of Evolution.

Isaac Newton

Never being able to accomplish in school, not being able to achieve to his potential in his early life. He was always quick to pick up on math, but soon he was put in charge of the family farm. He too didn’t succeed in that, so his uncle sent him off to Cambridge after taking control over the farm. It was then he became the scholar we know today.


The world’s most regarded philosophers of the Classical Era. His creative ideas opened doors to revolutionizing the young of his time. Best known as an immoral corrupter of youth and was put to death. He never let the narrow-minded people put a stop to his teachings until he was forced to poison himself. Left no written records but great fan following even today.

Thomas Edison

From the beginning being labeled stupid that he was kicked out of school. Work life did not even prove to be fruitful enough for him either, as he was fired from 2 jobs consecutively for being dull and not productive. 1000s of unsuccessful inventions to invent the light bulb wasn’t easy, but persistence was the key.

Oprah Winfrey

The most celebrated T.V. icon with the saddest childhood story. Abused at a young age and having numerous career setbacks, that included being fired as a news reporter as she was not right for TV. Still, this woman had a willpower that got her to being one of the richest and most successful women in the world. She never back down due to difficulties in life.

Abraham Lincoln

America’s greatest and most prestigious President had a tough life, to begin with. He was a caption in a war and returned as private, losing his rank. He failed a lot in his business ventures and was defeated ample of times for public office. But life had great things planned out for him he rose to power, eventually.

Winston Churchill

No other than Winston Churchill’s story is an inspiration, being elected twice as Prime Minister of United Kingdom and Nobel Prize-winning legend. He had trouble in school and failed grade six. Wasn’t lucky at politics either; he faced many failures. Churchill was defeated in every public office election until he finally became the Prime Minister.

Charlie Chaplin

The best comedian of all times to come, without whom the film industries can’t be imagined, Charlie was rejected by Hollywood Studios on the pretext that his act was a little too nonsensical ever to sell. Now, look what great things he has done, if he had given up at that time we would have been robbed of our childhood memories.

Marilyn Monroe

One of the most beauty-oriented icon even today had a short period of success but worth sharing. Not only did she suffer from a harsh upbringing and was rejected by several modeling agencies, but she was also suggested to overlook her passion and pursue something else. She became a star by both modeling and acting, still admired by many.

K. Rowling

The top selling novelist of our age but before Harry Potter, she had a lot of personal distress. She was divorced, left alone to raise a child on her own, depressed, writing and paying the bills along. Then facing criticism on her famous novel series Harry Potter but she survived ultimately. She is the most determined and hardworking woman to get her life out of the gutters in just five years.

Elvis Presley

Elvis at the o2 … 2014 …Elvis Presley

Elvis was a nobody in 1954, after just a performance he was fire. He was always reminded that he could not perform and he should return to driving a truck. This did not stop Elvis. He rose to success, being one of the best selling artists of his time. His name is still chanted, even years after his death.

Michael Jordon

The famous basketball player was cut from his high school basketball team. He practiced with great determination and rigor; this setback didn’t stop him from playing the game he loved the most. Jordon, himself admits he has missed ample of shots to get here, even match winning shots but all this got him a career he is proud of.

The Beatles

The new music they brought to us is still impeccable. When they began, they were rejected by a recording company that they simply didn’t like their sound and guitar music was on the way out. The band has an everlasting power the showcased in their music.


Mocked and rejected by the artistic elite, Paris Salon but this didn’t stop Monet from pursuing his dream. He kept his impressionist style that later caught attention. He changed the perception of art in the modern era. Monet’s work sells like hot buns today and is showcased in esteemed institutions in the world.

The Wright Brothers

Both of them suffered from depression and family illness before the road to success. They set up a bicycle shop that leads to them attempting at creating flying machines. They invested their time in prototypes, but finally, the became creators of am an airplane.

H. Macy

The owner of the largest departmental store chain who failed several times, before hitting the jackpot in New York City. He attempted 7 times at business ventures. It was not easy for him. Once he got a gust of the situation, he cashed his ideas.

So there you have it guys. The next time you think about how your mom wanted you to become Stephen Hawkins’s apprentice miraculously, or how your dad wanted you to be the next Ronaldo, remember that they all had to struggle before they became to be recognized as they are today. And remember, if they could, then so can you! We believe in you!