Thomas Edison had remarked years ago “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were when they gave up”. Edison, like many other accomplished people we know of today, believed in not giving up despite early setbacks in life. Our efforts towards realising our dreams are never enough until we actually achieve what we set out to do. Being disheartened by our failures and quitting is the only thing that can keep anyone away from doing what they really want to do in life. There are countless examples of people in this world who believed they had it in them even though the world did not agree with them in the beginning. Thankfully these people did not give up and gave it their 100% to whatever they were doing so that today we draw inspiration from them and learn to follow their footsteps.
To begin with, Thomas Edison himself was expelled from school because his teachers thought he would never amount to anything owing to his short attention span and dreaminess. He was home schooled by his mother ever since and throughout his child hood and early adult hood; Edison lived a difficult life doing odd jobs to sustain himself while continuing to keep his passion for experiments alive. His love for experiments also cost him a job. After enough hard work and many failed attempts later, he did succeed in inventing the most commercially viable light bulb that changed the world forever.
Similar was the case with the man we know as one of the most intelligent people in the world. Albert Einstein also did not show much promise as a kid and was considered a slow learner. He spoke his first few words at the age of three, much to his parent’s surprise who did not know he could speak. His teachers thought he was lazy and uninterested in studies. However, Einstein while still working at the patent office did not let his genius mind rest. The scientific papers he wrote there and the theories he propagated would subsequently get him the Nobel Prize for Physics.
Who hasn’t heard of the media queen Oprah Winfrey but few would know of her struggles as a child and what it took for her to become one of the most known faces on television. Growing up battling poverty and abuse, Oprah bagged the role of a news reporter for a local television channel in Nashville based on sheer talent. She moved to Baltimore to host an evening news show. It was here that Oprah’s talent was not admired by her producers and she was demoted from news reporting to becoming the co-host of a talk show. She learnt of another news channel that had a vacancy for a talk show host and grabbed that opportunity. The rest as we know is history. Oprah is considered the most influential woman in the world today and has won numerous awards and honours including the highest civilian award in America, the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.
The music industry is also full of people who have proven the critics wrong and beat all odds to reach the pinnacle of success. The Beatles did not become who they were from the moment they picked up their instruments. This mega successful band was refused by a record company early in their career because they weren’t impressed by their music. The Beatles went on to finding other companies and became the most successful rock band in the world.
Another artist to prove all the sceptics wrong is Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem. In a world dominated by African Americans, it was nothing less than a miracle for him to carve a niche for himself and get past all the other rap artists of that time. A high-school dropout, he released his debut album Infinite in 1997 which did not do well and he was often criticised by the critics. However he managed to secure second position in the Rap Olympics which brought him back in the public eye. Over the course of his career he has seen the best and worst of it all. Life was so difficult at one point for him that he even attempted suicide. Thankfully for his millions of fans today, that attempt was unsuccessful. Controversies, allegations and lawsuits have always gone hand in hand with him, including one by his very own mother!
Perhaps the most famous story of failure and success is that of the iconic entrepreneur Steve Jobs. How would it feel to be removed from the company you started? Jobs would have never thought that this would happen but it did. Despite this major setback at a time in his life when everything seemed to be going well, he did not let it deter him from achieving more and soon started thinking of ways of utilizing the time he had available now. As mentioned in his Stanford speech, Jobs realised it was a blessing in disguise because if he wasn’t fired from Apple, there would be no Pixar and all those amazing animated movies it produced. Steve Jobs did not just learn from his failures, he made the best use of them. He also became the largest shareholder of Disney.
Speaking of Disney, Walt Disney and Steve Jobs have something in common – They have both been fired. These two gentlemen who have proven themselves by becoming the best in their fields have had to endure the scepticism and doubt of others who did not believe in them. In the early days of his career, Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he did not have enough creativity required for the job. He was also cheated and lost the rights of one of his successful characters and all his animators to someone else. While contemplating about his future on a train ride having recently lost so much, he doodled on paper a mouse that we know today as Mickey.
JK Rowling was also fired from her job as a secretary because she spent way too much time day-dreaming. She was 28, jobless and a single mom when she finally penned down Harry Potter, the most successful book series in the world.
Almost every hugely successful person we know of today has had their share of ups and downs in life. People such as Elvis Presley have also been told they were not good enough with what they were doing. We are glad that these people did not lose heart and kept on marching ahead. As we can see, today we know these stars and their amazing work instead of the people who fired them or made them feel incompetent.