20 Successful Failures

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“Who you are today does not equate to who you will be tomorrow.”

“To experience great success, you must experience great failure”

“The greatest successes are born from failure”

A much respected friend of mine once told me. Don’t be afraid of failures. People go through multiple failures before achieving success. If you’re too afraid to achieve your first failure, then you’re too afraid to achieve success. “Each failure brings you one step closer to success. Embrace your failures.”

Inspired by her words, I felt compelled to share with you the many stories that remind us that failure is not the end. It’s just a phase you go through on the route to success.

1)  Thomas Edison

This story is so widely shared that I hesitate to place it here for fear of boring you. But hell, he deserves this. After experimenting with hundreds of materials before finding tungsten as the filament for the light bulb, he said this: “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work”. Is he the man of a hundred failures or the man of a hundred successes? You decide.


2)  Michael Jordon

Kicked out of his high school basketball team, he was further motivated to be the best in the game. Well, he did.

“I have failed over and over again. And that’s why I succeed” – Michael Jordon


3)  Elvis Presley

The King of Rock is apparently more of a truck driver. That is, if you go by the words of Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, who fired Elvis after his first performance.


4)  Oprah Winfrey

The iconic talk show host who was “unfit for TV”


5)  Monet

His style which ushered in the modern age of art was despised by the experts of his time. He persevered. And as a result, his works revolutionized the art scene and are worth millions today.


6)  Bill Gates

Dropped out from Harvard, Failed his first business start-up. He later moved on to changing the world with Microsoft. Does that name sound familiar to anyone?


7)  Ludwig van Beethoven

Known by his teachers as hopeless both as a violinist and as a composer, he went on to composing some of the most well loved symphonies of all time.


8 )  Albert Einstein

As a child, Albert Einstein was suspected to be intellectually and mentally handicapped. Nowadays, when the word genius is mentioned, his image pops up. And I’m fairly certain it’s not due to his revolutionary hairstyle.


9)  Winston Churchill

Nobel Prize winner and twice-appointed Prime Minister of the UK; Winston Churchill failed sixth grade and in multiple political elections before he was finally appointed as prime minister at the ripe age of 62


10)  Jerry Seinfeld

The first time he went on stage to perform his act, he froze up and was subsequently jeered and booed off stage. Today, everyone who loves comedy knows Jerry Seinfeld.


11)  Babe Ruth

The man with the record for the most numbers of home runs also held the record for the most number of strikeouts.

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”


12)  Harrison Ford

The man behind Han Solo was once told that he doesn’t have what it takes to be an actor. Blasphemy!


13)  Stephen King

His first book was rejected by tens of publishers till it ended in the trash. His wife fished it out and encouraged him to republish it. Today, he’s one of the most well-known writers in the World.


14)  Marilyn Monroe

One of the most iconic female artistes to ever live, Marilyn Monroe was told that she’d be better off as a secretary. Hmmmmm… If I ever have my own secretary, I’d agree.. Now? NO.


15)  J.K. Rowling

The creator of the Harry Potter universe was told that there was no market for children’s books.

Makes me wanna say this: “Ohmigosh! You’re H-h-harry P-p-potter! You’re not meant for the market!”


16)  Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh sold only one painting in his entire life. Now, his paintings are worth hundreds of millions. And let’s not forget the impact that he made to the art scene.


17)  The Beatles

Told that their sound wasn’t good and that guitar was on its way out.. Well.. I know many, many, many people who would beg to differ.


18)  Walt Disney

The man who “Lacked imagination and had no good ideas” is also the man who created the Walt Disney kingdom and brought our childhood stories to life!


19)  You

Why not you?


20)  Me

I’m working very hard to earn my place here one day. =D


So you see, the names of the greatest successes are often well acquainted with failures. Don’t be afraid to fail. For failure makes a way better teacher than success.

“Live life, fail greatly and succeed greatly”

“If you allow the possibility of failure to stop you, you disallow all possibility of success”

Check out more success stories that were born from failures here!

You should also check out this book on people who failed earlier in life before achieving great success: Fail Better!

Got a success/failure story to share? Place a comment! I’d love to hear from you~ =D



About lovtoo

Lovtoo (Launching in Dec '10) is the world's first social network that focuses on expanding your network based on your passions. Encompassing everything from white water rafting to dark chocolate tasting. We know this is what you love.. Let us help you find others who would Lovtoo.
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4 Responses to 20 Successful Failures

  1. tommytrc says:

    This is just spot on! Few people hit the head on the nail the firs time. Look at the famous product WD-40. It’s named that because it was the 40th formula that worked! Keep up the good work!

    • lovtoo says:

      Hi Tommy,

      You’re right! Fail till you succeed. And your failures would just be a part of your success. If you give up when you fail the first time, you remain a failure.

      Thanks for reading and commenting~


  2. Pingback: 20 Successful Failures (via Because you love it too!) « … but I digress

  3. Pingback: 20 Successful Failures (via Because you love it too!) « … but I digress

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