23 Incredibly Successful People Who Failed At First
Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/APOprah Winfrey
Rejection can feel devastating, but you shouldn't let it crush you. Some of the world's most successful people have failed - sometimes more than once.
We've put together a list of highly successful people, from movie stars to scientists, who experienced massive failure before they found fame and fortune.
Weaker people might have given up. Instead, these folks remained focused on their goals.
Scroll down to see the underdogs who went on to change the world.
Winston Churchill was estranged from his political party over ideological disagreements during the "wilderness years" of 1929 to 1939.
Thomas Edison's teachers told him he was "too stupid to learn anything."
Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first television job as an anchor in Baltimore, where she said she faced sexism and harassment.
Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas."
Steven Spielberg was twice rejected by the University of California School of Cinema Arts.
R.H. Macy had a series of failed retail ventures throughout his early career.
Soichiro Honda's unique vision got him ostracized from the Japanese business community.
Colonel Harland David Sanders was fired from dozens of jobs before founding a successful restaurant.
After having trouble adjusting to the culture and his classes, Dick Cheney dropped out of Yale — and then returned, only to drop out for good.
Sir Isaac Newton's mother pulled him out of school as a boy so that he could run the family farm. He failed miserably.
Vera Wang failed to make the U.S. Olympic figure-skating team. Then she became an editor at Vogue and was passed over for the editor-in-chief position.
When Sidney Poitier first auditioned for the American Negro Theatre, he flubbed his lines and spoke in a heavy Caribbean accent, which made the director angrily tell him to stop wasting his time.
As a child, Albert Einstein had some difficulty communicating and learning in a traditional manner.
In one of Fred Astaire's first screen tests, an executive wrote: "Can't sing. Can't act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little."
J.K. Rowling was a single mom living off welfare when she began writing the first "Harry Potter" novel.
Charles Darwin was considered an average student. He gave up on a career in medicine and was going to school to become a parson.
Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting, "The Red Vineyard," in his life, and the sale was just months before his death.
After Harrison Ford's first small movie role, an executive took him into his office and told him he'd never succeed in the movie business.
Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, had his first book rejected by 27 different publishers.
Lucille Ball appeared in so many second-tier films at the start of her career that she became known as "The Queen of B Movies."
A young Henry Ford ruined his reputation with a couple of failed automobile businesses.
While developing his vacuum, Sir James Dyson went through 5,126 failed prototypes and his savings over 15 years.
Stephen King grew so frustrated over his attempt to write the novel "Carrie" that he threw away the entire early draft.
For some more inspiration when you're knocked down...