“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
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Like I have talked about many times before, failure is not something to be ashamed of. Each of us encounters failure in some form or fashion throughout our lives. Artists from Walt Disney to J.K. Rowling had to go through hardship to find success.
Here are just a few notable examples of people who have failed:
Early in his career Disney created an animation studio called Laugh-O-Gram Films. This studio became loaded with debt and ended up bankrupt. He could have quit after this failure, but he chose to go Hollywood instead. There Walt and his brother Roy set up another studio.
Now, Disney is one of the most iconic brands in the world, and his characters are nearly universally recognized.
Spielberg may be known for his many blockbusters, but he hasn’t always been so successful. Before becoming the icon he is today, he was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Cinema Arts three times for having poor grades.
Spielberg went on the create some of the most iconic movies in film history. In 1995 he was rewarded an honorary degree from USC, and in 1996 he became a trustee.
You may know Harrison Ford as one of his many iconic characters like Han Solo or Indiana Jones, but Ford was not always a successful actor.
Ford began his acting career as a contract player earning $150 a week. Initially, he did not find much success. One studio official even told Ford he would never be a movie star. Before catching his big break, he had to become a carpenter to supplement his income.
Ford is now one of the most well known actors in Hollywood and has acted for over 40 years.
Theodor Seuss Geisel was the editor-in-chief of the Darthmouth humor magazine Jack-O-Lantern, and was kicked off the staff for breaking the Prohibition law. So he began using the pseudonym “Seuss.” He later became known for his pen name Dr. Seuss.
Seuss spent years making a living by drawing cartoons for advertisements and magazines. On his boat trip back from Europe, Seuss, the rhythm of the ship’s engine inspired his first book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. This book was rejected 27 times.
Seuss was going to destroy the book until he had a chance encounter with a friend who had just become editor at a publishing house’s children’s section.
That moment changed his life. The book became a sensation, and he wound up publishing over 60 books including The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham.
Stephen King may be known as one the the greatest horror writers, but it wasn’t always this way.
When King left university, he got a teaching certificate, but wasn’t able to find a job initially. So he had to work at a laundry, where he wrote short stories on the side.
King even threw away his first novel, Carrie, because he became discouraged writing. His wife retrieved it from the trash and encourage him to finish it. That ended up being the tipping point of his career.
Since completing Carrie, King has written over 50 novels and nearly 200 short stories. He has sold over 350 million copies of his books and many of them have been adapted into films and mini series.
Before J.K. Rowling found fame with Harry Potter, she considered herself a failure. She had a failed marriage. She was jobless and raising a child by herself. She was clinically diagnosed with depression and contemplated suicide.
Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book while on welfare. You might think after the outrageous success the books had that publishers would have killed for the chance to publish the book. You would be wrong. The book was submitted to twelve publishing houses, all of which rejected it.
We know the rest of the story. Rowling ended up writing seven Harry Potter books in total, which turned into eight films. According to Forbes, she became the first billionaire writer and the second-richest female entertainer.
These stories show the failures of some of the most well known artists of our time. Each one reached a low point in their careers, but was able to overcome them and move on to great things.
If you are to learn anything from these people it’s that failure is not uncommon, it is inevitable. It is only by making it through these failures that one will find success.
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Thanks to Business Insider for the list of failures.