Tip #701: Why Failing Isn’t a Big Deal

“A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.” Elbert Hubbard

We all want to succeed at what we choose to do. But when we experience failure after failure, it’s hard to believe that success may be just around the corner.

There have been lots of articles about famous people who failed on their way to success. Some of them failed thousands of times, and yet they still persevered.

Their secret? They believed in themselves and in their dreams. And, as David Bayer has said, “Beliefs are decisions.” Once a positive dream-affirming decision is made, possibilities and opportunities begin to appear that, when grasped, will ultimately build a path to success.

The individuals listed below kept getting up after they fell down. Eventually they achieved enormous success.

Let’s see if you can match the individuals with their failure or the negative feedback they received. Place the correct letter in the column to the left of the number. (The answer key is provided below the table.)

1.     Elvis Presley A.    Defeated in every public election but the last one
2.     Sidney Poitier B.    Considered “mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in foolish dreams”
3.     Thomas Edison C.     “A little too nonsensical to ever sell”
4.     Sir James Dyson D.    Considered “rather below the common standard of intellect”
5.     Fred Astaire E.     Failed to make the 1968 US Olympic figure-skating team
6.     Abraham Lincoln F.     Be a “children’s TV show presenter”
7.     Harrison Ford G.    First book rejected by 27 different publishers
8.     Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) H.    Left for war as a captain and returned a private (the lowest military rank)
9.     Steven Spielberg I.      Dropped by record label after 3 months
10.  Albert Einstein J.      Every cartoon he submitted was rejected by his high school yearbook staff
11.  Saul Bellow K.     “You ain’t going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”
12.  Walt Disney L.     “A dud”
13.  Vera Wang M.   “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”
14.  Oprah Winfrey N.    Rejected twice by the University of S. California’s School of Cinematic Arts
15.  The Beatles O.    “Too stupid to learn anything”
16.  Carey Mulligan P.     Fired for being “Too emotionally invested in her stories”
17.  Charles Darwin Q.    Fired because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”
18.  Socrates R.    Went through 5,126 failed prototypes
19.  Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga) S.     “We don’t like their sound.”
20.  Winston Churchill T.     “You’ll never succeed in the movie business”
21.  Charlie Chaplin U.    “Stop wasting my time and go get a job as a dishwasher”
22.  Charles Schultz V.    “An immoral corrupter of youth”



1-K; 2-U; 3-O; 4-R; 5-M; 6-H; 7-T; 8-G; 9-N; 10-B; 11-L; 12-Q; 13-E; 14-P; 15-S; 16-F; 17-D; 18-V;19-I; 20-A; 21-C

May your learning be sweet.




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