Oprah Winfrey
Home SME Why Failure Shouldn’t Stop You: See 5 Billionaires Who Failed Woefully but Didn’t Give Up
SME - January 11, 2021

Why Failure Shouldn’t Stop You: See 5 Billionaires Who Failed Woefully but Didn’t Give Up

If wishes were horses, beggars will ride, they say. Everyone wants to have the affluent life of billionaires and hugely successful people but many are not ready to endure the rough process and imbibe the habits that are required for the journey to success.

Oftentimes, we tend to focus on the success stories of people and not their years of struggle, failure, and several tries. We forget that the best success stories mostly begin with a series of failure. We, by default, turn a blind eye to the embarrassing first effort, a major stumble, or a radical change of direction that the person had to endure before finally winning.

Understandably, we all dread failure. Yet it is a major prerequisite for success. The truth is, at some point in our lives we all fail at something. Sometimes, we’d fail small or big, depending on the size of the problems we try to take on. Plus, some would fail more than once before they succeed.

However, the real problem is that when some people fail, they are devastated and depressed and refuse to try again. Now, that’s the real failure. The type of failure everyone should dread. Unless you overhaul your mindset and let it believe that failing is part of success, chances are that you’d lose the drive to go on after suffering a setback.

Here are 5 famously successful people who had their fair share of failures before finding what worked. Hopefully, their stories would motivate you to keep trying until you land your own goldmine.

1. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey

In 2020, Oprah, the queen of talk shows, emerged as the richest black woman in the world. If we looked like what we have been through, Oprah wouldn’t appeal to anyone. She is a classic case of a ‘grass to grace’ story. Oprah grew up wearing sacks as clothing in a very poor family. Apart from poverty, she also suffered sexual abuse by her cousin, uncle, and a family friend, forcing her to run away at 14. Before she took off, she was already pregnant. She later delivered a baby boy who died at birth. Late on, Oprah picked up the pieces of her life and continued her education in public schools where she performed excellently. Through the help of scholarships, she went on to college to study Journalism. The rest, they say, is history. With a thriving media empire, OWN, and a net worth of $2.9 billion, Oprah is proof that anything is possible if you keep trying.

2. Elon Musk

Elon Musk
Elon Musk

Last week, Musk became the world’s richest man after the shares of his company, Tesla, surged. But years ago, Musk had been heavily criticised for daring to launch electric cars. He received backlash from many experts in the auto industry who described the innovation as a failure on arrival. Musk went broke in 2010 after sinking all his wealth into building Tesla. He survived on personal loans from friends. Shortly afterward, the company became profitable, and to sustain this profitability, Musk, and his team had to put an unhealthy amount of hours into work. The Tesla team resorted to sleeping on the factory floor just to make sure the company scaled. Tesla is now accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy with electric cars, and the innovation has rattled global automakers as many of them are now in a race to making the most valued electric cars.

3. Bill Gates

Bill Gates
Bill Gates

Bill Gates is a global business magnate and for years retained the position of the world’s richest man. He currently remains in the top three. He’s famously known as the co-founder of the uber-successful Microsoft Corporation. But many are not aware that Bill’s first product was an epic failure. He and a friend, Paul Allen, had created Traf-O-Data, a device that could read traffic data and interpret it. When the device hit the market, it developed a series of malfunction, therefore failing to appeal to consumers. The product failed woefully. Despite the setback, the duo went back to the drawing board and created Microsoft which turned out to be a global success.

4. Richard Branson

Richard Branson
Richard Branson

Growing up, Branson suffered from dyslexia, a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words. Due to this, his performance in school as a young boy was poor. He was considered a challenged student as he failed most of his exams. But Branson was determined not to let his disability define him. Through determination, perseverance, and discipline, he built a business empire, which began with Virgin Records in 1972. The tycoon is the founder and chairman of the Virgin Group, the parent company of Virgin Atlantic. The group employs nearly 70,000 people in 35 countries through its 60-plus companies. Branson is the fourth richest man in the United Kingdom.

Other successful people who had dyslexia were Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Steve Jobs. 

5. J.K. Rowling

J.K Rowling
J.K Rowling

In case her name doesn’t ring a bell, it’s certain ‘Harry Potter’ would. Rowling is a globally-acclaimed and bestseller author of the Harry Potter book series, which was adapted into blockbuster movies. Before fame and fortune came, Rowling’s life was a mess – divorced, dirt poor, and depressed – and with a child to cater for. She depended on welfare to survive. Her first manuscript of the ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ was rejected 12 times by Bloomsbury London publishers. When the book was eventually published, the results made up for Rowling’s years of suffering. She sold over 500 million copies, becoming the best-selling book series in history.

Conclusion

Discipline and perseverance are important recipes for achieving greatness. Enjoy the process – it helps you build character, tenacity, and capacity for the journey ahead – because it is more difficult to sustain greatness than to achieve it. Be inspired by the stories of the successful people above while you get busy with creating your own success story.

 

 

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