Thought Catalog

10 Hugely Successful People Who Failed Hard Before Making It Big

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There was once a teacher who told me that I would never succeed in anything that involved writing or English. This one goes out to you, Miss Elliot.

1. R.H Macy.

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The man behind the department store chains Macy’s and Bloomingdales started SEVEN failing businesses before finally hitting the target with his store in NYC. Look’s like the seventh time is actually a charm.

2. Walt Disney.


Mr. Happiest Place On Earth, was originally fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and wasn’t good enough.” I bet he had the last laugh.

3. Harland David Sanders.

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Better known as Colonel Sanders of KFC, Harland David Sanders had his secret recipe “thumbs down-ed” by over 1,000 restaurants before it was accepted.

4. Albert Einstein.


The genius with the crazy hair did not always act as such. He didn’t speak until he was four years old and couldn’t read until the age of seven which caused his parents and teachers to think he was mentally handicapped. (It may have taken him a while to bloom, but I think it was worth the wait!)

5. Winston Churchill.


The guy responsible for the quote, “If you’re going through hell, keep going,” wasn’t always so successful. Not only did he fail the sixth grade but he was defeated in every political election until he finally became the Prime Minister of England at the age of 62.

6. Oprah Winfrey.

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The amazing Oprah Winfrey experienced a very rough and abusive childhood, many career setbacks and a firing from her TV Reporter job because she was “unfit for TV,” all before her unmatched fame.

7. Harrison Ford.

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Mr. Indiana Jones was told by numerous movie execs that he didn’t have what it takes to be a star. Boy, did he prove them wrong.

8. Fred Astaire.


Twinkle toes, one of the best on-screen dancers of all time, was told by the screen tester of MGM that Astaire, “Can’t dance. Can’t Sing. Slightly Bald. Can dance a little.” Fred Astaire kept this note in his home in Beverly Hills to remind him of where he came from.

9. Theodore Seuss Geisel.

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Twenty-seven publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’ first book To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street. Oh the places he went!!

10. J.K Rowling.

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The woman every Harry Potter fan worships, was nearly penniless, severely depressed, a single mom, a divorcee, and living on welfare before the success of her series. She is now recognized as one of the richest women in the WORLD. TC mark

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