Almost every human being, with a sound mind, definitely wants to be rich (get a lot of money) and have all the things that will make life worth-living. However, the truth is that only the smallest percentage of the human population enjoys this privilege of having so much wealth to enjoy life to the fullest.

So the question is: Why do some people become so successful in life while some do not? Well, here are some few examples of people who experienced failures at the beginning but succeeded later on, to become rich and famous in the world.

Famous “Successful Failures”      

Scientists and Philosophers

Albert Einsteinalbert-einstein-2 I guess most people know about this genius called Einstein, right? Most of us think of him as a genius, but he couldn’t speak till he was four years old. He did not even read until he was seven. His parents and teachers even wrote him off, thinking he was mentally handicapped. He was dismissed from school and could not get admission to Zürich Polytechnic. Einstein did not quit trying until he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. Today, his formula E=MC2 started a whole new form of physics and it is applied in almost everything.

Isaac Newtonsir-isaac-newton Another scientist who we can call a genius was removed from school at the age of seventeen by her mother. She became widowed for the second time and tried to make young Newton a farmer. After a lot of persuasions, his mother sent him back to school to complete his education. He made a good use of that opportunity and became the science genius as he is known today.


robert-sternbergRobert Sternberg – Sternberg suffered from test anxiety as a child. As a result, he became an inadequate test taker.  He studied and worked hard to become one of the greatest personalities in the field of Psychology.  He graduated with summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in psychology at Yale University. Among his major contributions as a psychologist are the triarchic theory of intelligence, several influential theories related to creativity, wisdom, thinking styles, love and hate, and is the author of over 1500 articles, book chapters, and books.

Business Magnates

Henry Fordhenry-ford When you hear the name “Ford,” your attention is quickly diverted to the famous American car (Ford). You are right. Ford is the father of the Ford Automobile Company in the United States with branches all over the world. But wait! Don’t jump into conclusion yet. Ford is one of the “successful failures” in his early career life.  He failed a couple of times before he was able to establish himself as an undisputed automobile producer. It is one of my dreams to own of Ford’s Sport Utility Vehicles (.SUVs).

bill-gatesBill Gates – Bill Gates was not born into riches as some very wealthy people were. He was a Harvard University drop-out. He failed when he and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen started their first business called Traf-O-Data. However, Bill had his greatest success of his life when he created his Microsoft Empire, which serves the whole world with computer software and hardware. He is still the undisputed wealthiest person in the world today.


akio-moritaAkio Morita – I have never heard this name before till I was researching about people who became very successful after enduring various failures along the way at the beginning of their careers. I am very sure that most of you know about Sony Electronics, however, I am not very sure that a lot of you guys know about someone called Akio Morita. Anyways, he is the founder of the reputable Sony Company of Japan. Like the other successful failures, he started a rice cooker which was supposed to cook rice, right? Well, the device was not cooking the rice which it was meant to cook. It was burning it rather. As expected, he could not make any meaningful profit from it. He sold only 100 units. He did not let this setback stop him from trying. He went on to create the multi-billion dollar Sony Electric Company that we know today.

Harland David Sanders colonel-harland-david-sanders Most of us like to visit KFC when we really want to eat some very nice and mouth-watering fried chicken. However, we are not very familiar with the name Sanders. Colonel Sanders had his chicken recipe rejected more than a thousand times before he was able to start his famous Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant.


walt-disneyWalt Disney – Walt Disney was fired as a newspaper editor simply because he did not have good imagination and ideas. He tried his hands on other businesses that ended up in failure and bankruptcy. He did not give up on his quest for success and eventually, today, when you hear the name “Disney World,” “Disney Land,” “Mickey Mouse,” you know who is behind all of them.



Public Figures

Abraham Lincolnabraham-lincoln-2 Lincoln had his own share of failure in his career. He failed in many businesses that he started and lost several times running for public office. He did not let any of those failures deter him. He persisted until he was elected to become the 16th president of the United States of America. Today, he is counted among the best American presidents.


Winston Churchill winston-churchill Churchill struggled in school and failed at sixth grade. He had political failures as well. Finally, he became the prime minister of Britain. He was the British prime minister during World War II, and together with American president (Franklin Roosevelt) and Russian leader (Stalin), fought and won against the Nazis Germany and brought the second great war to an end. He also won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953.

jerry-seinfeldJerry Seinfeld – This popular American comedian began his career with failure. At the first night he began his stand up comedy show, he was frozen and could not talk. The audience booed when he left the stage without saying a word. The next night he mustered courage and faced the audience. From that time on, he overcame his stage fright syndrome and went on to become one of the celebrated comedians.



charlie-chaplinCharles Spencer Chaplin (a.k.a. Charlie Chaplin)  – “Chaplin’s childhood was fraught with poverty and hardship, making his eventual trajectory ‘the most dramatic of all the rags to riches stories ever told’ according to his authorized biographer David Robinson.” Chaplin was an English comic actor, filmmaker and composer, born in England. However, he did not become famous until he moved to the United States.  When he arrived in the U.S., he went to Hollywood but studio chiefs rejected his show at the beginning because they thought is was nonsensical. He later became a household name all over the world after his early struggles in Hollywood.

harrison-ford  Harrison Ford – Hollywood executives told Harrison Ford that he did not have what it takes to be a star. Nonetheless, he did not back down and turn away from following his dream. Today, he is one of the celebrated actors in Hollywood’s movie industry.


steven-spielbergStephen Spielberg – University of South California School Theater, Film and Television rejected Spielberg three times. He did not give up, he went to another school only to drop out to become a director.  He went back to complete his college degree after directing movies for over thirty-five years. Despite all the obstacles, he has accomplished his goals in life.


stephen-king-4Stephen King – He threw his first novel, Carrie in the thrash can, out of frustration. His wife later retrieved it and encouraged him to finish it. “His advance for Carrie was $2,500; King’s paperback rights later earned him $400,000.” Today, we can see King’s fame in his writing career all over the world. If he gave up and did not continue to try, he would not have been a world-renowned writer.


Ludwig van Beethoven:ludvig-van-beethoven In his formative years, young Beethoven was incredibly awkward on the violin and was often so busy working on his own compositions that he neglected to practice. Despite his love of composing, his teachers felt he was hopeless at it and would never succeed with the violin or in composing. Beethoven kept plugging along, however, and composed some of the best-loved symphonies of all time–five of them while he was completely deaf.

emily-dickinsonEmily Dickinson: Recluse and poet Emily Dickinson is a commonly read and loved writer. Yet in her lifetime she was all but ignored, having fewer than a dozen poems published out of her almost 1,800 completed works.


j-k-rowlingJ. K. Rowling: Rowling may be rolling in a lot of Harry Potter dough today, but before she published the series of novels she was nearly penniless, severely depressed, divorced, trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel. Rowling went from depending on welfare to survive to being one of the richest women in the world in a span of only five years through her hard work and determination.

oprah-winfrey-2Oprah Winfrey Most people know Oprah as one of the most iconic faces on TV as well as one of the richest and most successful women in the world. Oprah faced a hard road to get to that place She endured rough and often abusive childhood as well as many career setbacks, including being fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for tv.” Despite all those obstacles, she made it and achieved her goals in life.

I can go on and on to talk about a lot of people who succeeded in life after repeated failures and frustrations. However, what I want us all to gain from all these examples is that, we should pay close attention to what brought these people their success stories to fruition.

Looking at their achievements, there are five distinctive characteristics that stand out of their successful careers. They are: vision, determination, hard work, focus and surrendering one’s self with positive minded people..

Vision: You will hardly find a successful person who had no vision. Vision is more than a dream. You may dream about many things and forget everything when you wake up. Vision however, stays in your memory for a long time. You visualize whatever you want to do vividly until you realize it. So to be highly successful in life, you need to have a true vision in what you want to accomplish. With your visionary instinct, you can find the means to reach your goal.  All these successful people we have heard about had visions which propelled them from ordinary to super ordinary achievers in life.

Determination: In order to get the best results in anything you do, you must have a firm grip of what you intend to do. As the saying goes, “anything worth doing is worth doing well.”You will only be at the top if you do your homework really well. You cannot be among the “successful few” if you are a lousy person. A determined person will never give up when problems begin to show their ugly faces. Without determination, many people will give up on their cherished dreams. As Steve Jobs said, “The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the one who do.” You can only rise to the top if you figure in your mind that you can do it! This means you are prepared to brave through all the storms that you will meet on your way to greater achievements.

Hard work: Tim Notke said, “Hard word beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” I do not know if a lot of successful people never work hard. The fact is that no matter how brilliant you and your ideas are, if you do not work very hard, you will never do much. “Genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work…” says Albert Einstein. So pick yourself up anytime laziness sets in, if you really want to reach the goal you have set in your life’s journey to success.

Focus: If you want to hit the “bull’s-eye” in a dart contest, you must stay focused and aim at the center of the dart board. When you lose your focus, all your darts will be flying everywhere and miss the mark, and in the end, you come out a big loser. Successful people always stay focused on the project they are working on. They do not let other non-essential items come in the way of the main projects they are working on. Like athletes running to the finish line, you must set an “eagle’s eye” on the price you have worked so hard for, and make sure you do not miss it.

Positive minded people: If you want to fail in life, just surround yourself with negative minded people, and you are guaranteed to fail miserably! Cheerleaders are there to spur their favorite teams on to victory. Hence, if you want to reach your goals and make your dreams come true, you must surround yourself with positive minded people who will serve as moral boosters to achieving your goals.

Summing up everything, you can see clearly that it takes courage and hard work to climb the “success ladder.” Nevertheless, once you muster all the qualities of successful people, you sure are on your way to reaching your dream goals in life.