Famous Failures

by Kevin on July 27, 2012

Famous Failures

image courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We all hit setbacks on the journey to success.  Sure it can be frustrating.  Before you throw up your hands and give up on your goals, remember you are not alone.  Some of the most famous and successful people of all time have hit brick walls of failure.  Many of them were at a fork in the road in which they could give up or continue on.

Part of achieving success is not quitting.  It could have been easy for those who eventually became successful to quit when the going got tough.  They persevered when things got tough.  They had a dream and kept on going.

We can all take inspiration in the fact that failing is part of the process.  How we respond is up to us.  We can either think that setbacks are part of the process to our eventual success or that things are too hard and we should quit.  Which do you think is the better solution?

It can be easy to think of certain successful people and think that they were “overnight” successes or born successful.  In reality, there was a great amount of practice and work getting there.  We usually only know of their successes, not of their failures, setbacks, and frustrations along the way.

If you are feeling that you are having setbacks and not where you want to be, know that you can still achieve your dreams by remembering that failures and setbacks are part of the process.  This list of well-known successful people achieved setbacks that would have made many quit.  For them, they could have walked away at some moment of “truth” but they kept going.  The rest is history…

Abraham Lincoln – Honest Abe is regarded as one of the, if not THE, greatest presidents in the history of the United States and possibly one of the most influential figures in world history. He lost eight elections on his way to the presidency.  Through his leadership, the country was able to stay together after a Civil War.  Imagine what the U.S. and the world might look like today if we gave up after that eighth election.

Michael Jordan – Believe it or not, he was actually cut from his high school basketball team before he later made the team, earned a scholarship to play basketball at one of the premiere college basketball programs in the country (North Carolina), made it the pros, and eventually became a player that defined the sport for a generation.  It would have been very easy when he got cut in high school to have given up and not tried again.

Walt Disney –  As I write this, my daughter is watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Before Walt introduced us to a lovable little mouse named Mickey, he lost the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, his most famous and successful character at the time.  This was devastating at the time and fueled his creativity and ambition that led to our friend Mickey.

Steve Jobs – This is a man who made everything he touched seem cool and made a brand around adding “i” to the name of his iProducts.  We all know the iPad, iPod, iPhone, and iMac.  What some people do not realize is that he actually was fired from Apple after he started it.  Apple’s success over the last few years is due to the fact that he came back.  He could have just walked away from the business completely.  Our cell phones would probably be a lot different today if he never went back to the business that created and loved.

Babe Ruth – History remembers the Babe as a hitter who had 714 home runs during his career and was named the Associated Press athlete of the 20th Century.  What gets lost in his storied career is that he also struck out 1,330 times.  This is a perfect example of how you not only have to step to the plate, you have to willing to give it your all even if you fail more often than you succeed.

Anyone who has ever found any level of network marketing success – To draw these examples to network marketing, everyone who has achieved any level of success in network marketing has been told “no” or “not interested.”  What has separated them from those who succeed and those who give up is the ability to keep going and consistently work to improve.

Check out this video with examples of famous failures including some from this list.

If you have some time, here are some other examples of famous failures on these links.




Famous or not, what examples of failures that eventually led to success are you familiar with?  You can benefit others even by sharing examples form your own life.


  • Sandbox of Success

    It’s definitely been part of my process! But I can’t even really name anything right now because I just don’t see them as “failures” – I see them all as opportunities to learn. I heard recently, in network marketing, there are 3 types of consultants: posers, amateurs, and professionals. I’m thankful I was never a poser – that is someone who gets into the business thinking this is a winning lottery ticket, and after sharing with 4 or so people who either say ‘no’ or try to derail them, well, they let someone else steal their dream so they give up on the “luck” they were trying to find rather than work for it. But I went through the amateur stage and I’m pretty much a professional now – gone from going to meetings and taking a zillion notes to actually leading others. Hit a number of “failures” along the way (ex. taking it too personally when someone didn’t see what I saw) but here I am – well on my way to Pro!

    • http://supportyourspouse.com/ Kevin Sanderson

      Very well said! Part of being a professional in the business is to understand that setbacks, opportunities, and failures (how ever you look at them) are just part of the process. Thank you for the comment!