14 Famous Failures

You failed? Congratulations, you’re in good company.

1. Stephen King


In his book, On Writing, Stephen King explains that every time he got a rejection, he would post it on a nail on the wall.

“By the time I was fourteen … the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and kept on writing.”

On Writing / Via onehundredrejections.com

2. Jerry Seinfeld


Seinfeld was booed off stage after freezing during his first performance.

3. KFC Founder Harland Sanders (aka: Colonel Sanders)


KFC founder Harland Sanders traveled around the country marketing his recipe, while sleeping in his car. He was told no 1,009 times.

4. Henry Ford


Henry Ford went broke five times before creating the Ford Motor Company.

5. Nicholas Sparks


Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook was reportedly rejected 24 times.

6. Oprah Winfrey


When working as reporter, young Oprah was told she was “unfit for TV.”

7. Steven Spielberg


Steven Speilberg was rejected from the University of Southern California film school not once, but twice.

8. Fred Astaire


The director of MGM said this of Astaire: “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”

9. Dick Cheney


The former VP failed out of Yale twice.

Just don’t follow his lead and shoot someone.

10. R.H. Macy


Macy created seven businesses, all of which failed, before creating his famous department store in NYC.

11. Robert M. Pirsig


Don’t know the name? The Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance author was rejected 121 times, enough to earn him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

12. Michael Jordan


We all know he was cut from his high school basketball team, but he also said this of his failures:

“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

13. Walt Disney


Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”

14. Stephenie Meyer


Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series, submitted her book to 15 publishers. 9 rejected her. 4 didn’t bother to respond. 1 gave her a chance. In 2010, Forbes reported she made $40 million.

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