Failure Stories of Famous People Who Failed

“Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.”

John C. Maxwell

I’ve had a mild obsession with failure for much of my life. Maybe that’s because I’ve failed so many times. But I do believe there’s more to it than that. You see, growing up, I used to look at failure as the ultimate form of defeat. The nail in the coffin, if you will.

I was taught that failure was bad. It was a weakness meant to be hidden. Not something to be displayed or flaunted publicly. So I dreaded it my entire life, deathly afraid of what others would think of me if failed in a major way.

However, I didn’t know any better. That’s what I learned growing up. It’s what my parents taught me. Maybe not verbatim, but they certainly led by example. Kids are like sponges in that way, right? Although my parents did their absolute best to raise us, they were constantly worried about the opinions of others.

Failure Hurts

If you’re going through failure right now, my heart goes out to you. I know how painful it is. You feel like you’re at the end of the line, and that things will never get better. I used to think that way. Until I discovered the real truth about failure.

Failure. Is. Not. The. End. Not even close. Yes, failure hurts. But we spend so much more time fearing failure than we do experiencing pain from the actual failure itself. It’s not the actual event that’s bad. Everything leading up to it in our minds is what drives us crazy.

Still, it’s hard to reason away these fears. Even when you know that these are just fears and you should stop worrying so much about them, it’s hard to stop. Your mind has a funny way of keeping you trapped in its mental constructs.

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It’s about famous people who failed repeatedly but never gave up.

Famous Failure Stories

Let’s face it, life is not easy. No one ever said it would be easy. But when you’re a wild-eyed kid, growing up, you’re entirely naive to the real world. Then, when you strike out on your own, reality hits you like a ton of bricks. That’s when you realize the enormity of what’s ahead of you.

When you start something new and fresh, it’s easy to be enthusiastic about it. But we all know what happens over time, right? Things get tough and we struggle. We hit roadblocks and setbacks along the way and failure rears its ugly head.

It’s hard to keep going when you feel like you’re at the end of your proverbial rope. That’s why it’s important to stay inspired by others who came before you (and more who will surely come after you). Failure stories from some of the most famous people who failed are not only inspiring, they’re also motivating.

What I never realized was just how inspiring or motivating they were. Years ago, when I first started sharing those stories, the response was off the charts. In fact, those posts about some of the most famous people who failed have been viewed well over ten million times!

So that got me thinking. Why not compile those stories into the form of a book. That’s when I decided to write this book. It’s a compilation of stories that will inspire you to keep going. Some of the stories you’ll find in this book include tales from the lives of people like:

The Starting Point Of All Achievement

In the book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill outlines a concept that he paints as the foundation of success. He states that the starting point of all achievement is desire. Meaning, if you want to achieve something big, you must have a burning desire for its attainment.

But desire isn’t the entire picture, is it? There’s a deeper foundation that exists. If you’ve ever started out towards a goal and eventually given up, there’s one thing that you were missing. Without this one thing, it’s impossible to succeed at all.

So what’s the one thing you must have first? Well, that my friends is called belief. Without belief, you will always give up. But it’s hard to believe in yourself. Especially when all you’ve experienced in the past are failures and setbacks, only to give up to live a life of mediocrity.

Sometimes, we play it safe. After all, we have families to look out for, children to feed, and the absolute necessity to keep a roof over our heads. But when you give up and throw in that proverbial towel, a piece inside of you dies along with your dream.

How To Create Rock-Solid Belief In Yourself

One thing I learned writing this book was that belief is the most central theme to success. Without belief, it is impossible to succeed. No amount of money or connections or skill level can help the person who lacks belief. Yet, for the person who has deep-rooted belief, anything is possible.

And when I say anything, I do mean anything. Take the story of Oprah Winfrey for a moment. Oprah was born to a single unwed mother in the south and by her own accounts, was abused repeatedly by family and friends growing up.

Her mother was so poor that she was sent to live with her grandmother, Hattie Mae Presley Lee. And later with her father in Nashville, Tennessee. Winfrey had no role models growing up. There was nothing there to provide her guidance or inspiration or motivation to press forward.

Yet, somehow, she found it deep down inside of her. But how? How does someone go from living in complete poverty, with absolutely zero role models, to become a multi-billionaire media powerhouse? Especially after experiencing so many setbacks in life?

One word and one word only. Belief. That is how you push forward. That’s how the most famous and successful people weathered the storms of their lives. They had belief. Once you have belief, anything is possible. But without it, nothing can be achieved.

Step 1 – Create A Crystal-Clear Vision

To create real belief, you must start with a real vision. Do you have a crystal-clear vision for your future? Most people say yes, when in fact they’re lying. Here’s what I mean. A crystal-clear vision must be developed in your mind, but then fleshed out on paper.

What is your vision? Have you set SMART goals in your life? Are they detailed enough where you can paint the picture clearly of where you’re going? It’s hard to have real belief when you don’t know where you’re going.

Don’t shrug this off. I assure you that the most successful people have a clear vision of what they want in life. So ask yourself this. Do you? Spend the time to do this and map out your trajectory. This is the most fundamental step to creating the belief you need to succeed.

Step 2 – Understand Why You Want It

Ever want something so badly, you eventually got it? Why did you want it? What was the reason? When you have a strong enough reason to achieve something, you will achieve it. Please understand that it can’t be superficial. Your reason must be deep and underlying to help you overcome failure.

When you don’t have a powerful reason, it’s easy to give up. When the tough times hit, there’s almost zero chance you’ll want to push through. That’s just the way it is. But think about what happens when you have a rock-solid reason why you absolutely must succeed.

That’s the magic and the beauty of understanding why you want something. It helps to create the foundation for belief. Keep in mind that belief is a mixture of many things. If you’re lacking just one ingredient in the recipe, your belief will be flimsy at best.

Step 3 – Overcome Internal Objections

The human mind is a fascinating thing. There is a conscious part of the brain but also a non-conscious part. However, a large part of our lives are controlled by the non-conscious behavior to the tune of 95%. Meaning, most of what we say, think or do is habit-driven.

This is great for automating tasks. In fact, that’s the origin of a mind that can perform functions without much conscious processing. Think about it like when you’re driving and lost in thought and somehow come back to the road and realize you’re driving perfectly fine on the way to your destination.

While this is great in some areas, it’s terrible in others. The non-conscious mind is filled with bad habits, nervous behavior and internal objections that are designed to help you avoid pain. But they also keep us back from taking risks.

These internal objections are also baked into your decision making processes. Why you do or tackle any task is largely associated to the conscious meaning you attribute to it. Unfortunately, it’s hard to identify this until it’s often too late.

However, if you can’t overcome your internal objections, creating enough belief to help you overcome failure will be next to impossible. Find your internal objections and obliterate them. Rewrite the scripts by finding examples of people who overcame the biggest odds to succeed.

Step 4 – Stay In Faith

Sometimes, we must turn to our Higher Power to stay in belief. But faith and belief go hand-in-hand. You cannot be faithful about something and not believe. They are one and the same. But sometimes, we lack the belief in ourselves because we lack faith in our abilities.

Again, it’s all about belief. But belief comes from being faithful. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase. So ask yourself this question. Am I faithful? Do I wholeheartedly believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter what happens, eventually, I’ll achieve my goal?

That is the difference-maker. Sometimes, when things seem bleak, we fall back on our faith. When your faith is strong, your belief is strong. And when you believe, you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Literally, anything. The sky is the limit.

Fail Forward

What does it mean to fail forward? Most people are afraid of failure. They run from it, cowering into the corner. Instead, you must embrace failure and the willingness to fail forward and fail often. If you’re not failing, you’re probably not doing anything.

Because, when you have the audacity to dream big and go for it, you will most certainly fail. But it’s not about how many times you’ve failed. It’s about how many times you’ve picked yourself right back up after a failure. If you can keep getting up, you’ll eventually find a way to succeed.

Yet, that’s not what happens most of the time, is it? When we fail, we run, retreat and we hide. As painful as it feels, if you can push through the pain, you’ll emerge onto the shores of hope. Just don’t expect it to be easy by any measure. But don’t avoid short term pain because it’s the surest path to long term gains.