What do people like Jay-Z, J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, and Arianna Huffington all have in common?
They did not let their failures stand in the way of achieving their goals and became some of the most successful business people and entrepreneurs of all time.
In honor of the rejection and failure endured by these nine celebrities, British financial website GoCompare published “I’m Possible: a series of illustrations honoring the world’s greatest innovators – and the harshest words they ever heard when they were climbing the ladder of fame.
9) Arianna Huffington – “This website venture is the sort of failure that is simply unsurvivable.”
Arianna Huffington is no stranger to rejections and failure: her second book was rejected by publishers 36 times and she suffered humiliating results during her 2003 run for governor in California.
Likewise, the launch of the Huffington Post blog was accompanied by lots of ill-wishes and expectations of certain failure, but Huffington surprised everyone by co-founding one of the most influential media outlet of recent times.
8) Jay-Z – “This guy is terrible. He’s nothing.”
At the beginning of his career, no record label was willing to take a chance on a young rapper from Brooklyn named Shawn Corey. Little did they know that he would grow up to be a best-selling musician who also eventually founded his own entertainment company.
In 2017, Forbes listed Jay-Z as the second-richest hip hop artist in the US with a net worth of $810 million.
7) J.K. Rowling – “Get a day job. It’s impossible to make a living writing children’s books.”
Not many people have ever been as wrong as the person who told J.K Rowling that she would never be able to make a living out of her biggest passion.
Rowling went from depending on welfare to one of the richest women in the world and is now the UK’s best-selling living author. Over 400 million copies of the Harry Potter novels have been sold, making them the best-selling book series of all time.
6) Oprah Winfrey – “Unfit for TV and too emotionally invested.”
People were calling for Oprah to run for president earlier this month after she spoke out against sexual harassment in the entertainment industry at the Golden Globes – but can you believe the talk show host and media proprietor was once fired from a news show because she was “too emotionally involved” in the stories she was reporting about?
5) Thomas Edison – “Too stupid to learn anything.”
Far from being stupid, Thomas Edison became one of the greatest inventors of all time with over 1,000 patents held in his name in the US alone, revolutionizing everyday life with inventions such as the light bulb and the phonograph.
4) Anna Wintour – “You’d never understand the American market.”
Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue and artistic director at Condé Nast, was fired from her position as a fashion stylist at Harper’s Bazaar after only 9 months.
However, the fashion icon believes that setbacks are just another part of life and recommends that everyone go through this experience at least once.
3) Sheryl Sandberg – “I would never hire anyone like you.”
It is hard to not get discouraged when the CEO of a tech company tells you he would never hire someone like you, but that is exactly what happened to Sheryl Sandberg during an interview. In 2001, she was struggling to establish herself in the tech industry – but ever since 2008, she has been Facebook’s chief operating officer.
2) James Dyson – “You must be mad.”
20 years ago, James Dyson developed a revolutionary vacuum. The only problem was that no manufacturer wanted to sell it, as it didn’t include the traditional technology of bags and filters, so it was seen as bad for business.
After perfecting the design for 15 years and selling his first model in the Japanese market, Dyson founded his own company in 1993 – and the rest is history.
1) Steve Jobs – “Hey, we don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet.”
When pioneers of the personal computer Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak presented their ideas to Atari and HP, the rejection was immediate and indisputable. One company even argued that Jobs hadn’t even graduated – not knowing that they had just dismissed the future co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc.
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