Abraham Lincoln was a failure in business and was defeated in eight elections persevered and became the 16th president of The United States of America, Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in solitary confinement he sowed seeds of love and became the first black president in apartheid South Africa; Steve Jobs was fired from his own company. And the list goes on from Aliko Dangote, Walt Disney, and Oprah Winfrey. So how did all these former notable failures rebound to achieve such extraordinary success?
It is believed that in many of these failures that the human mind undeterred find inspiration to greatness. the following achievers stories are shared to motivate and inspire the business leader to strive for more in the midst of challenges.
1. Walt Disney (Innovator)
Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901 in Chicago Illinois, to his father, Elias Disney, an Irish-Canadian, and his mother, Flora Call Disney, who was of German-American descent. Walt was one of five children, four boys and a girl.
Try to imagine a world without Walt Disney. A world without his magic, creativity, and optimism. Walt Disney shaped the entertainment industry, into what it has become today. He pioneered the fields of animation, and found new ways to teach, entertain, and educate. His views and visions, came from the fond memory of yesteryear, and persistence for the future.
Failure after failure, Disney did not give up. Even though he failed several times (apparently over 300) which included failing to open a business, and being shut down from newspaper companies because he “lacked artistic integrity”, Walt Disney kept pushing the envelope and consistently pursued what he knew he was capable of doing. Rather than focus on the past, he put his attention to the achievements of the future. This is what made his story such a legendary tale.
2. Oprah Winfrey (Self Made) Talk Show Host, Television Producer, Philanthropist, Film Actress
Billionaire Oprah Winfrey is best known for hosting her own internationally popular talk show from 1986 to 2011. She is also an actress, philanthropist, publisher and producer.
Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first television job as an anchor in Baltimore, where she said she faced sexism and harassment.
But Winfrey rebounded and became the undisputed queen of television talk shows before amassing a media empire. Today she is worth an estimated $2.9 billion, according to Forbes.
3. Steve Jobs (Persevered) Founder of Apple
Steven Paul Jobs was born on February 24, 1955 in San Francisco, California. His unwed biological parents, Joanne Schieble and Abdulfattah Jandali, put him up for adoption. Steve was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs, a lower-middle-class couple, who moved to the suburban city of Mountain View a couple of years later.
Steve Jobs may be one of the greatest innovators of all time, but even the tech genius’s career hit a nadir. Ousted from the company he helped to build in 1985, Jobs felt despair and rejection but funneled his energy into new ventures (like Pixar) before returning to Apple in 1996. In his famous 2005 commencement speech at Stanford, Jobs said “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”
4. Bill Gates (Smart) Founder, Microsoft
Entrepreneur Bill Gates founded the world’s largest software business, Microsoft, with Paul Allen, and subsequently became one of the richest men in the world.
His first company was Traf-O-Data, the objective of which was ‘to read the raw data from roadway traffic counters and create reports for traffic engineers‘. In this way, the company would optimize traffic and end road congestion.
The company’s product was the Traf-O-Data 8008, a device which could read traffic tapes and process the data. They first tried to sell the processing service to the local County, but their first demo failed because the machine ‘didn’t work’, recalled Gates.
His partner, Paull Allen, summarised the experience for exactly what it was: ‘Even though Traf-O-Data wasn’t a roaring success, it was seminal in preparing us to make Microsoft’s first product a couple of years later’
And happily, that’s exactly what they did. They kept on going and Microsoft became the largest personal-computer software company in the world. But it’s still nice to know that even the richest philanthropist in the world can make business blunders.
5. Nelson Mandela (Trailblazer) First Black President of Apartheid South Africa
Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa in 1994, serving until 1999. A symbol of global peacemaking, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
The legacy that Mandela leaves behind is immense. He spent 27 years in prison before he was released. The fact that he survived his ordeal is a testament to the strength of his character. A strength that has inspired many people fighting against oppression all over the world. The Nobel Laureate leaves us all aspiring business leaders to persevere in the wake of insurmountable challenges.
6. Abraham Lincoln (Never Quit) 16th of USA
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States. He preserved the Union during the U.S. Civil War and brought about the emancipation of slaves. His is a remarkable story of the rise from humble beginnings to achieve the highest office in the land; then, a sudden and tragic death at a time when his country needed him most to complete the great task remaining before the nation. Lincoln’s distinctively human and humane personality and historical role as savior of the Union and emancipator of the slaves creates a legacy that endures. His eloquence of democracy and his insistence that the Union was worth saving embody the ideals of self-government that all nations strive to achieve. When young Abraham was 9 years old, his mother died of tremetol (milk sickness) at age 34. The event was devastating on him and young Abraham grew more alienated from his father and quietly resented the hard work placed on him at an early age. A few months after Nancy’s death, Thomas married Sarah Bush Johnston, a Kentucky widow with three children of her own. She was a strong and affectionate woman with whom Abraham quickly bonded. Though both his parents were most likely illiterate, Sarah encouraged Abraham to read.
Lost his job, 1832
Defeated for the legislature, 1832
Failed in business, 1833
Elected to legislature, 1834
Sweetheart (Ann Rutledge) died, 1835
Had nervous breakdown, 1836
Defeated for Speaker, 1838
Defeated for nomination for Congress, 1843
Elected to Congress, 1846
Lost re-nomination, 1848
Rejected for Land Officer, 1849
Defeated for the Senate, 1854
Defeated for nomination for Vice-President, 1856
Again defeated for the Senate, 1858
7. Steven Spielberg (failed high school exams 3x)
Undoubtedly one of the most influential film personalities in the history of film, Steven Spielberg is perhaps Hollywood’s best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. Spielberg has countless big-grossing, critically acclaimed credits to his name, as producer, director and writer. Due to poor grades in high school, Steven Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California three times. He was awarded an honorary degree in 1994 and became a trustee of the university in 1996. “Since 1980, I’ve been trying to be associated with this school,” joked the 62-year-old filmmaker. “I eventually had to buy my way in,” he told the Los Angeles Times. Spielberg has to date directed 51 films and won three Oscars. Forbes Magazine puts Spielberg’s wealth at $3 billion.
Rick Newman, the chief business correspondent at U.S. News & World Report, studied 12 successful, well-known people from various professions and determined that they all had one trait in common: failure.
He are Newman’s nine key attributes of a “rebounder”:
They accept failure (and can recognize their own mistakes)
They compartmentalize their emotions (they don’t internalize bad feelings)
They have a bias toward action (responding aggressively to a challenge)
They change their minds sometimes (the need to discard old thinking and reprogram a dream)
They prepare for things to go wrong (rebounders are not necessarily optimists)
They’re comfortable with discomfort (they’re willing to accept inconveniences as long as it leads them closer to an important goal)
They’re willing to wait (overnight success is deceptively untrue)
They have heroes (rebounders set and meet higher standards when inspired by others)
They have more than passion (success requires drive too)
By: Paa Swanzy-Essuman || Ghanatalksbusiness.com