“Failure is a stepping stone to success!”
To some of us this may seem like an intellectualisation of when we fail while for others, it is a quote that keeps them going. We have all heard the classic stories of Jobs & Gates, of resilience & perseverance, of phoenixes rising from the ashes, and people who made it big when the world told them they wouldn’t.
Listed below are some of these success stories that have proven to the world that failure is just one of those stones that you come across as you build your way to success…
A personal favourite, her success story is as inspiring as that of her protagonist, Harry Potter. Rejected by not less than 12 publishers, JKR’s debut novel finally saw the light of day, thanks to the daughter of Bloomsbury’s editor who thought that the bespectacled boy’s journey was worth reading. The only author to have become a billionaire through writing fiction novels, it must be noted that her publisher advised her to get a day job as her writing would fetch her little, in terms of Muggle money.
Can you imagine a childhood without Mickey, Winnie the Pooh, or Snow White? If you are one of those millions who can’t, then you could join us in laughing at the editor of the Kansas City Star who in 1919, fired Disney because he “lacked imagination and had no original ideas”. The co-builder of a billion-dollar franchise, Walt Disney, even has the honour of having his handwriting turned into a font!
The voice that is so revered today was once the reason for rejection for the biggest star of Bollywood. Before entering the film industry, Amitabh Bachchan had auditioned for an announcer’s job at All India Radio, a job for which his voice was deemed “unsuitable”. Well, what’s a success story without a little bit of irony, huh?
He’s been called the ‘God of Cricket’, and has bowlers praying to the almighty when they face him; he is, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. He was always a great batsman, no doubt. However, when he was 14, he attended the MRF Pace Foundation’s training clinic at Chennai where he couldn’t impress Australian fast bowler, Dennis Lillee, who then advised the Master Blaster to focus on his batting… and as they say, rest is history.
When this humble visionary produced his first car, Indica, as part of the Tata Motors division, it failed terribly. He then decided to sell it to Ford, an industry veteran. According to Pravin Kadle, Head of Tata Capital, Ford insulted Tata by insisting that he was doing a favour by buying the failing Indica. This was in the year 1999, let’s move to 2008 where Ford’s famous luxury brand, Jaguar-Land Rover, was incurring heavy losses. Guess who bought this failing brand and resurrected it to epic proportions? Mr. Tata, of course!
Columbia Pictures thought she was not talented and pretty enough to become an actress. Modelling agencies told her that she should rather apply for the position of a secretary.
Today, we are thankful that the gritty actress believed in her own worth and we have a number of iconic films to remember her by.
Known for his unbelievable slam dunks, who would’ve thought that this NBA champion didn’t make it to his varsity basketball team because he wasn’t considered good enough? ‘His Airness’ took this rejection hard, but rose to the challenge and is now synonymous with ‘basketball’ across the world.
She empathises like no therapist ever could. However, who would’ve thought it was THIS quality to be able to connect and emotionally invest in her stories that would get her fired from Baltimore’s WJZ-TV? Today, she is the most identifiable talk-show host in the history of television, thanks to her eponymous show, The Oprah Winfrey Show.
So fellas, take that failure in your stride and be the phoenix that we talk about.