It’s true that not all business ventures work out. In fact, according to Fortune Magazine, 9 out of 10 businesses fail. The U.S. Census Bureau has reported that for every “400,000 businesses that are started in the United States, about 470,000 are also dying”. So… we are failing more than we are succeeding? In a way, yes. But this might actually be a good thing. Whether it’s through news articles or watching T.V, we always hear about cool product launches and innovations from successful business people. However, we don’t always think about the amount of times these people have failed in order to get to where they are today. Of course, it is not easy to overcome failing so this list is dedicated to 7 people who have failed but have embraced the power of failure.
1. Theodor Seuss Geisel
More commonly known as Dr. Seuss, submitted his first children’s book to 27 publishers and all of them rejected it. According to Geisel, after being fed up with constant failure he was walking home one day to burn his manuscript but he ran into an old classmate from Dartmouth who helped him find a publisher. Had it not been for his classmate, we probably wouldn’t even know Dr. Seuss. He then went on to create the iconic classics like “Cat in the hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham”.
2. Oprah Winfrey
Chances are if you have ever owned a T.V, computer, or a phone, you have more then likely heard of Oprah Winfrey. One thing you might not know about Oprah is that at 23 she actually got fired from her first TV gig as a news anchor in Baltimore and the TV producer even told her “she was unfit for Television news”. So as a result, she went on to become the host of one of the longest running talk shows ever. And as a way to never get fired again, she even created her own T.V. channel.
3. Walt Disney
At age 22, Walt Disney was fired from a Missouri newspaper company and was told that he “lacked imagination and and had no good ideas”. Undeterred, he then went on to create one his first business ventures “Laugh-O-Gram Studio” which lead him to create Oswald The Lucky Rabbit. His then unhappy distributor, Charles Mintz also threatened Disney to either lower his production costs or else he would start his own studio. Sadly, this is exactly what happen. Mintz moved the production of the Oswald character to his new Winkler Studio and took more than half of Disney’s employees. Leading Laugh-O-Gram to bankruptcy. Still not discouraged, Walt Disney went on to create Mickey Mouse and got nominated 59 times at Academy Awards and to no ones surprise, won 32 for his creations.
4. Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein is widely known for his theoretical take on physics and for his famous revolutionary formula, E=MC2. However, what many people don’t know about Einstein is that he didn’t start speaking until he was four, reading until he was seven, and was thought to be slow by his teachers. The same quiet child went on to create the theory of General Relativity, provided empirical evidence for the atomic theory, solved the riddle of the photoelectric effect, and also went on to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. Maybe he was quietly brewing up genius in his early years, who knew?
5. Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs of course, is well known for pioneering a number iconic Apple products and revolutionizing the way we interact with technology. However, even the brilliant creator of the famous Iphone had to deal with failures through out his lifetime. When Jobs turned 30, he made his finest creation the Macintosh but was also fired from Apple. However, former CEO, John Scully recently said he remembers it differently. Stating that Steve Jobs was never actually fired and still remained on the board but was taken off the Macintosh project. Jobs also had other product failures such as Apple Lisa, NeXt, and the Power Mac G4 Cube but also had very successful products which we carry around today.
6. Joanne Rowling
The story of J.K Rowling has become one of most inspirational stories of our time. Before becoming known as the woman who created Harry Potter and the magical world of wizards, J.K. Rowling was a divorced mother who was depressed and struggling financially. During this time in her life, Rowling saw herself as a failure as well. Similar to Walt Disney, she was also rejected by all 12 major publishers but did not lose hope. It wasn’t until a year later that a small publishing house by the name of Bloomsbury accepted the Harry Potter script and eventually led J.K Rowling to become who she is today.
7. Abraham Lincoln
Many things come to mind when we hear the name Abraham Lincoln, our penny, the five dollar bill, the beard, and the ending of slavery. However, one word we usually don’t associate with Abraham Lincoln is “failure”. Why is that? Well, because history teaches us just so much about our 12th president. Abraham Lincoln earned his spot as number one on this list because he has embraced the power of failure throughout his entire life time. He has failed not only once but but many, many times. In 1832, he lost his job and was also defeated for state legislature but got elected company captain of the Illinois Militia. In 1833, he failed in business, in 1836 he had a nervous breakdown and in 1843, he was defeated for nomination in Congress. He was defeated two more times, for the U.S. Senate in 1854 and for a nomination for Vice president in 1856 before going on to become the 12th President of the United States in 1860.
Source(s): Wisebread, Lifehack, Wiki, CBS, Time, Learnodo-Newtonic, Business Insider, PCMag, Huffington, Wanderlustworker, and Abraham Lincoln Online