Not everyone falls into success with their first try. In fact, very few of us do.
Life for most people is a journey of self-discovery – finding out who we are, what we’re best at, and how we can make a difference in this world.
Unfortunately, the inescapable obstacles that plague our path can stop us in our tracks.
Some of the best places to look for inspiration during times of trouble are from those who have succeeded through the tough times.
Some you may have heard of, some may surprise you, but hopefully all will inspire you today.
1. Oprah Winfrey
Noted as one of the most influential women in the world and a multi-billionaire, Oprah has certainly done well for herself.
With her success on the Oprah Winfrey Show, autobiographies, radio shows, and involvement in the weight loss industry, it’s hard to imagine that her life was anything but perfect.
But she had plenty of overcome as a young girl.
She was born to a poor single mother, lived in poverty, and was sexually abused on multiple occasions.
2. Stephen King
Most of us know Stephen King as the twisted writer who almost always sets his horror stories in Maine.
To date, he has produced and sold upwards of 350M copies of his novels.
But being an author is not always easy because it comes with a lot of competition.
Unbelievably, King’s first novel was rejected a total of 30 times before a firm would publish it. He even threw the book (Carrie) in the bin, giving up.
Luckily for us, his wife fished it out of the bin and the rest is history.
3. J.K. Rowling
This British native’s success is no secret to anyone, whether you’re a fan of Harry Potter or not. The Harry Potter empire is valued at about $15 billion (yes, you read that correctly).
What many people don’t know about Rowling is that she went through a very tough time just prior to the advent of her books.
She married, suffered abuse, had a daughter, then divorced her husband. She lost her mom to MS and had to put herself on welfare just to get by.
What’s more, the first Harry Potter book was also rejected by all of the major British publishing houses. Once one finally said yes, the franchise took off immediately.
4. Bill Gates
Yes, it was only a matter of time before Bill showed up on the list.
He’s best known for Microsoft and being incredibly wealthy because of it.
Despite his aptitude for business and incredible intellect, his first business venture failed.
This venture, also technology related, wouldn’t even operate during a presentation to potential buyers.
Thank goodness Bill didn’t give up after this initial failure, or all of our lives would probably look a lot different right now.
5. Bethany Hamilton
Bethany Hamilton is an extremely talented professional surfer who won her division of the NSSA National Championship.
The kicker? She had a near-death experience at 13 years old when her left arm was bitten completely off by a shark.
For those in the sporting realm looking for some inspiration, look no further than this truly brave soul who was back on the surfboard only a month later.
6. Jim Carrey
Overly-enthusiastic, high-energy extraordinaire Jim Carrey was not always a comedic success.
While he was in his early teens, his family became so poor that they resorted to living in a van.
Young Jim even dropped out of school to try to help support the family.
After years of going from comedy club to comedy club to do stand-up, Carrey was finally recognized as a great comedic talent and is now one of the biggest stars in the industry.
7. Vera Wang
Vera is one of the biggest names in the fashion industry today after having gotten her start designing wedding dresses at age 40.
She is a great example of someone who didn’t find their true calling until a bit later in life. Vera started out as an athlete but failed to qualify for the 1968 Olympic figure-skating team.
When sports didn’t work out as she’d hoped, she worked at Vogue but never rose to the top.
Today, she is huge in the fashion realm with a business worth over one billion dollars.
She even successfully broke into the jewellery designing industry!
8. Walt Disney
As just about everyone knows, the Disney corporation is one of the most lucrative companies in existence, with high standards of quality and a never-ending stream of innovations.
Walt himself was fired from a newspaper job early in life because he “lacked imagination.”
After a few failed businesses, Disney’s upbeat attitude was clearly what kept him going forward.
He’s been quoted saying that “a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
Once his first movie Snow White premiered of course, the rest became history.
9. Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn may not be everyone’s idea of the perfect role model, but there’s no denying she was outrageously successful in her field.
She is responsible for one of the most iconic American photographs in the pop culture sphere.
The crazy part? She was advised early on by a modeling agency that it wasn’t going to happen for her, and that she may wanted to be a secretary instead.
She, of course, thought differently.
Life is hard.
Especially when you’re not exactly sure what you want to do, or where you’re heading…
But power through, struggle on and you will reap the rewards.
I do hope I helped to inspire you today.
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