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Famous Failures and How They Bounced Back:
4 Entrepreneurs Reveal All
Expecting success without failure is like asking for rainbows without the rain. You have to endure one before you can get the other.
Talk to any successful person and they’ll tell you the same. They’ll likely regale you with their stories of failed attempts that inevitably led them to the path of success. They’ll assure you that the only reason they’re successful is because they didn’t let their failures convince them to quit. They recognized the roadblocks and pushed forward, stronger for the experience.
There is no mathematical equation that clearly sums up the amount of ‘no’s’ one must get before arriving at a ‘yes.’ Remember to be grateful for the roadblocks, and trust that they’ve been purposely positioned there, in order to get you where you need to be.
The key is to bounce back from those failures. If you’re still not convinced, here are four people who did just that (you may have heard of them!)
J. K. Rowling, author of the now famed, Harry Potter series, experienced a string of failures before her career took off.
A recent Lifehack post reflects on the author’s past: “I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.”
How’s that for failure?
Feeling completely alone and destitute, Rowling was focused enough to listen to that little voice in the back of her head, that many of us ignore, and began what would evolve into an amazing writing career.
She certainly had nothing to lose at that point, and apparently, everything to gain. Her failures likely gave her the courage and the drive to pursue something she might not have dreamed of, had she been sailing along living the “perfect” life.
Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder of the Huffington Post, recently shared her entrepreneurial success story in an article featured on fastcompany.com
“I failed, many times in my life. One failure that I always remember was when my second book was rejected by 36 publishers. Many years later, I watched HuffPost come alive to mixed reviews, including some very negative ones, like the reviewer who called the site “the equivalent of Gigli, Ishtar, and Heaven’s Gate rolled into one. But my mother used to tell me, ‘failure is not the opposite of success, it’s a stepping stone to success.’ So at some point, I learned not to dread failure. I strongly believe that we are not put on this Earth just to accumulate victories and trophies and avoid failures; but rather to be whittled and sandpapered down until what’s left is who we truly are.”
Everyone should be so lucky to be given such sound advice at an early age! Huffington’s mother knew of what she spoke when it comes to success. The whittling and the sandpapering she refers to, can be quite painful. It can break a person and strip their desire to push on, but it’s usually at that moment that success is not far off.
We’ve all experienced moments when life has kicked us down, it’s in those times that we learn how to get back up. In a perfect world, we would wake up and be handed success. But, how fun would that be? How would we even know how to handle it if we hadn’t first experienced some rough patches?
Henry Ford experienced plenty of rough patches in his time. Sure, today, we regard him as the king of the automobile, the quintessential entrepreneur, but he, too, had his own share of failures.
He failed numerous times before finally perfecting the automobile. He failed so many times, it’s amazing that he continued to try. He was determined to get it right, and like a true success story, had a driving force or a voice in his head telling him to keep going.
After many failed attempts with failed investors, he finally found someone who believed in his dream and could provide financial backing. What happened from there, is, indeed, history. Visit Forbes.com for the complete story.
One last failure- turned -success story is Richard Branson. Branson, pioneer of the Virgin brand, was a high school dropout and founded Virgin at the young age of 20. Later in life, he found success by starting his own record company, but still experienced some failures in that venture as well.
Projects like Virgin Cola ad Virgin Vodka are perfect examples of how even businessmen like Branson sometimes get it wrong!
When asked about his success in lieu of his education, he had this to say: “Had I pursued my education long enough to learn all the conventional dos and don’ts of starting a business I often wonder how different my life and career might have been.”
If someone had told Richard Branson that he couldn’t start his own business because he didn’t have a college degree, do you think he would have listened. Just like when you experience failure, that dogged determination, despite what others may say or think, is what will enable you to persevere regardless of the odds.
The key to success as an entrepreneur lies in failure. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying. Hard as it may be, do yourself a favor and look every setback in the eye, determined to see the lesson. Each lesson will fit into your puzzle and you’ll soon find success.