20 UNEXPECTED SUCCESS STORIES THAT WILL INSPIRE YOU

Inspiration, motivation and faith can make a man who was told by doctors he will never walk again, to believe he would run in the Olympics someday.

One paramount height every individual wants to attain in life is Success. And guess what, success is not rocket science, it is achievable if only you can strive for it. It’s a matter of being decisive and working towards it. By decisive, I mean you have to be positive-minded to do what you want to do.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy idea. You are so sure you will get there but you don’t know-how. The ‘how’ is usually discovered as you go or work towards it.

Somehow, the thought that you are not the only one going through some kind of difficulty seems to give you comfort as human. This is one of the reasons why some have even turned motivation into a career. Helping people stand on their feet can be a fulfilling thing to do.

As a person who wants to succeed, you need to keep learning from people who succeeded against all odds. Success stories will help you sit up and prepare you mentally for the hurdles on the way to achieving your dreams.

Hopefully, these lives will make you rise and strive to do more. Below are people who persevered and pushed on until they became who they desired to be.

1. Abraham Lincoln

20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You
20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

Abraham Lincoln was an American statesman and Lawyer. He was also the 16th president of the United States up until he was assassinated in 1965. Abraham Lincoln is most famous for leading the country through the civil war; he led the great north to victory over the south and kept the country united.

However, Abraham Lincoln didn’t just become president by chance, in fact; he contested for elections and lost several times. Honest Abe, as he was fondly called, had a humble beginning. His father lost everything and his mother died when he was just nine.

His sister took care of him until their father remarried. Abraham soon moved out of the house and set out on his own, he did several jobs including a surveyor, postman and at a time, started splitting wood with an axe for a living. Abraham Lincoln later moved into politics.

He contested and won a seat in the Illinois legislature at the age of 25.

You might assume that it was happy ever after from that point but you will be wrong. It went downhill for young Abraham AGAIN. Abraham decided to borrow money from a friend to start a business, but by the end of the year, he was bankrupt and spent the next seventeen years of his life paying the arrears he owed.

In 1934, he decided to take a chance with politics again and against all odds he won the seat and did several terms.

In 1935, young Abraham could have sworn that all was in his favour after he was engaged to his sweetheart, but she died and his heart was broken again. Abraham had a complete nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.

He, however, came back and won that seat in the senate. Abraham Lincoln was a man who disliked slavery not just because he didn’t want to compete economically with slaves, but also because he stood against the immorality of it. His church greatly opposed it too.

Abraham Lincoln story is one of a man with unwavering integrity. His success was due to his steadfast braveness to stand for what is right. Through Lincoln’s story, you will learn what it means to be persistent, consistent and morally upright.

“It is never the first strike on a hard rock that breaks it. It is as a result of several strikes. Do not give up”

2. Robert Downey Jr.

4 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You
20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

His Twitter biography is as brief as can be. 😀 

You know who I am.

In case you are one of the very few people that don’t know this man, then you must know the famous Iron Man from the movie; The Avengers. Before his glory days, Robert Downey experienced a lot of horrible, revolting things as a child, one that any child shouldn’t go through.

At a very young age, Robert was introduced to hard drugs by his father and he became addicted ever since. In the early days of his now successful career, Robert cleared tables at SoHo restaurants. However, this tagged failure is now one of the most expensive actors in Hollywood.

Robert Downey Jr was born on the Fourth of April, 1965. His father was also in the movie industry and was a filmmaker who gave Rob his first role at the age of five. Such a young age you would say.

However, Robert Senior had a murky secret, he was a drug addict and he gave Robert his first marijuana at the age of nine.

This became a huge problem for Robert over the years as the wind of life blew him to ugly places, and his addiction to drugs didn’t help matters. Robert saw a sinusoidal movement in his career. He was constantly in and out of rehab and prison for drug use and procession respectively.

This had a ricochet effect on his marriage which led to a divorce. He later remarried and with the help of his new wife, Robert started working to get himself back on track. He did just that when he got the role of Tony Stark in Iron Man 2007.

A movie starred by a struggling actor, and produced by an equally pugnacious marvel studio was a movie no one expected to be a blockbuster but it was. That single success in his career gave Robert Downey Jr purpose coupled with his adored performance by portraying famous detective Sherlock Holmes.

Robert touched the stars with his index finger or perhaps even became one, through what he did.

Today Robert Downey Jr is now one of the most celebrated actors of the decade, and quite expensive to hire as well.

Considering his background and the cards life dealt him, it is safe to say that Robert conquered. He beat addiction, depression and failure turned around and tried his luck again and his hard work paid off. Robert Downey Jr is proof that a major setback in life isn’t the end of the world; bad chapter does not define an entire book.

“It is ok to hit rock bottom once in a while, but getting back up or staying down is a choice.”

3. Eminem

4 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You
20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

Fifteenth time Grammy winner and one-time Oscar winner, Eminem, is one of the highest-selling musicians of all time. Eminem like Robert Downey Jr had a very rough childhood although not one where he was introduced to drugs by his father.

He claims to have experienced a physical and emotionally abusive childhood with his mother. Eminem’s mother was seventeen when she had the rapper and almost died in labour that lasted seventy-three hours. Eminem was raised by his single, inexperienced young mother who had a zilch idea on how to properly care and raise a kid in a majorly black neighbourhood.

For this reason, Eminem was constantly bullied by his peers and had nobody to fight for him but himself. Eminem never really knew his father and claims it affected him as a child. He failed ninth grade five times and finally gave up education to pursue a career in hip-hop music.

This is a life choice he doesn’t recommend for younger fans, yet, he saw succour in this transfusion and became a legend in the rap industry.

Eminem’s music career

Eminem’s first album was a commercial letdown; it was haughtily ignored by Djs who even advised the young rapper to consider switching his sound to rock and roll. Eminem says that this was exactly what inspired him to start doing moodier, more vulgar music. His follow up album, Marshal Mathers LP was well received in the hip hop market but that wasn’t really his big break.

Eminem’s success came after he went for a nationwide rap Olympics. Although he did not win but came second, he caught the attention of Interscope records who gave his demo to a Jimmy who then played the record for popular producer Dr Dre.

According to Dre, immediately he heard that particular record he asked his crew to find him (Eminem). “I had no idea he was white, I thought it was a black dude,” Dre said during an interview. Dr Dre was criticized by fellow African American industry friends for signing a Caucasian rapper from Detroit. However, this was the producer’s reply to the disparagement “I don’t care if you are purple, if you can kick it, then I am working with you”.

Read: The incredible life and achievement of Nick Vujicic

Under Dr Dre, Eminem saw a catapult-like impact on his career. His album was a major historical success in the market. The album broke records like the fastest-selling hip-hop album which was previously held by Snoop Dogg and the fastest-selling solo album that was then held by pop star Taylor Swift.

He went from a short-time white Detroit rapper to an all-time best Hip-Hop selling artiste. However, things went awry when Eminem admitted to his fans about his chronic use of drugs especially Methadone. One time, he was even rushed to the ER unit of a trauma centre where he was immediately placed on dialysis.

According to doctors, he was only two hours away from certain death because he nearly overdosed himself. That was pretty close and not many people get that chance. Fortunately, Eminem realised this miracle or luck and finally admitted that he was an addict. He decided that he was going to fight this addiction and checked himself into a rehab centre.

He also solicited the help of the most unlikely celebrity- Elton John. Given that they both shared a lot in common especially the experience of being bullied as kids. It was a good relationship, one that Eminem credits for helping him stay off drugs. In view of the fact that Elton also had similar problems in the past, it can be said that Eminem’s relationship with Elton John helped his fight with addiction.

It’s been over twenty years and Eminem has unswervingly remained sober and recently celebrated his forty-ninth birthday an abstemious man.

“The first step to thumping addiction is by first admitting that you are an addict” Eminem

4. Oprah Winfrey

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Her show was the home to several celebrity emotional breakdowns, spilt secrets, rumours and the truth behind worldwide gossip. Oprah Winfrey show was the most talked about show in the ’90s. This poor little girl from rural Tennessee somehow, against all odds became the richest woman in the world.

Oprah Winfrey was born on January the ninth 1954 to an unwed teenage mother and spent most of her time on her grandmother’s farm in Mississippi. While her mother rummaged around for work. She claims to have received love and support from her grandmother and the church that raised her as a gifted child.

Her nightmares

The devil came knocking when Oprah was just six years old. She was taken to a man in Nashville Tennessee who she was told was her father. She was raised with an iron fist constantly and abused from age nine to thirteen. Broken, lonely and lost Oprah found solace in reading books.

The Turning Point

Her intelligence grew with every book she read and with the help of a teacher, she secured a scholarship to a much better school where she excelled. She earned recognition for her love of on-stage performance, her spontaneity and her charming humour. She came into limelight after winning pageantry by answering questions brilliantly and was appointed host of a popular night show which later went on to become the Oprah Winfrey show.

The show was popular for having celebrities, politicians come to air their opinions, speak their truth and sometimes apologize to fans. When Oprah had Michael Jackson on the show, over a billion people tuned in to watch the live interview. When the same Michael passed in 2009, his mother also came on the show to spill some facts about her son in a very emotional interview, where fans praised the way Oprah handled the condition.

Read: Story of a roadside beggar turned lawyer

Being a success, she has won an Oscar, bought vehicles for all 217 members of her audience, rewarded her other audience with an all-expense paid trip abroad, started a foundation, donated to women development and inspired young women like herself who struggled to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

A true visionary and philanthropist, the sixty-five year old hung her Mic and has stayed away from too much media ever since. The curtains were closed on the show but the production company is still a formidable competitor in the industry.

“Be thankful for what you have; you will end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough” – Oprah Winfrey

I hope you feel inspired to do more despite what life throws at you. Success is a desire you must follow up with to overcome the fear of failure.

5. HELEN PAUL BASIMILE

20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You
20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

A Nigerian comedian, singer and actress married to Barrister Bamisile and blessed with children. Popularly known as Tatafo, Helen grew up alone with her great grandmother in Fadeyi, Yaba, Lagos state but had a bad experience growing up with lots of difficulties and intimidating words & actions from relatives and neighbours.

Her self esteem was damaged but she had a way of encouraging herself continuously whenever anyone talked her down even at that tender age. While she was in primary and secondary school, she had to plead to unknown individuals to attend her Parents/Teacher Association Meetings anytime the meeting was fixed. She only got to know her mum after secondary school.

After her secondary school studies, her mother wanted her to go into business but Helen had a strong will to study more.

She tried gaining admission at Obafemi Awolowo University but couldn’t. She later gained admission at the University of Lagos because of her quest for success. Her mum was uneducated, hence, she had to study the lives of successful people and was also prayerful. 

After graduation, she managed to scale through the various hurdles of job-hunting and got a job at Eko Remix Studio (Eko FM) as a receptionist where her salary was nine thousand and five hundred (N9500) which was the starting point of her career. One fortunate day, she was just doing her duty as a receptionist as usual when she was called to the studio to act like a child.

They urgently needed a baby voice for peak milk advertisement and the child who was supposed to do it was writing an exam. She helped out and did excellently well after which she was given a paper to sign which was a contract of N400,000. That was how she was having constant opportunities to officiate in the studio until she became successful as a comedian.

Read: 50 daily success habits for exceptional people

6. JIM CARREY

He is a comedian and actor born in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. He was once married and had a daughter. Jim Carrey is popularly known as a laugh-out-loud zany comic. Some of his comedies are Mask, Dumb and Dumber and Ace Ventura.

Jim Carrey came from a poor family and his father struggled to take care of the family. He had to drop out of high school at age fifteen and got a job as a janitor to support the family. He was once sent off stage and also failed on his audition for Saturday night laugh but that did not make him give up on his career.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he talked about how he used the law of attraction to fuel his determination. He wrote himself a cheque of ten million dollars and kept it in his wallet. After seven years, he was paid ten million dollars for his work in Dumb and Dumber.

Carrey took a successful dramatic turn as Truman Burbank in Peter Weir’s ‘The Truman Show’ for which he won a Golden Globe award of best actor. He became one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood.

7. KATH PERY

20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You
20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

Her full name is Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson. She was born in Santa Barbara, California, the middle child of pastor parents. Most people know her by the name Kath Pery but they do not know the struggles she went through to finally get the breakthrough she has.

Perry started her career quest early in her life, dropping out of high school after freshman year in 1999 to pursue music, a passion she had at the age of fifteen. She was originally a gospel singer taking cues from her parents who were born again Christians.

In 2001, Pery released her first gospel album with Red Hill Records, which was commercially unsuccessful with only 200 copies of her album sold.  The record company went out of business and Pery switched to popular music moving to Los Angeles to record with producer Glen Ballard.

In 2003, she signed up for the Island Def Jam which was a contract that was terminated. In 2004 again, she signed with Columbia Records and shelved the project at about 80% completion.

Despite being dropped from three labels, Pery did not give up. She continued with her career as a back-up vocal combining it with odd jobs until she was signed to newly-formed Capitol Music Group in 2006. It was there that she worked on her first huge hit single – Kissed a girl – which became a huge commercial success.

Read: 9 steps to setting realistic new year resolutions

8. COLONEL HARLAND SANDERS

Are You Embarrassed by Your FAILURE? Read the failure stories of 20 successful people.

Founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) who had a struggle and numerous failures in life and in business. He was born in Indiana and had a sad beginning on his journey to success. 

At the age of five, he lost his father and was left with his mother and three of his siblings. Harland had no choice than to assist his mother by learning how to make bread, vegetables and meat. By the time he was ten years old, he was already working as a farmhand.

At age twelve, his mother remarried, subjecting the children to an arduous environment which caused Harland to leave home the following year. By fourteen years old, he began started work at another farm in Southern Indiana as a farmhand.

Harland did odd jobs for years and sold tires in Winchester, Kentucky. He was 40 years old at that time.

Later in 1930, he opened a restaurant inside a Shell Oil Company-owned gas station in North Corbin Kentucky where he began serving chicken dishes. 

In July 1939, he worked hard to own a Motel and a restaurant which lasted for four months. It was destroyed by a fire. In 1940, he finalized his so-called ‘secret’ chicken recipe at the age of 50. Though in 1942, during the war, he sold his business and subsequently got divorced in 1947.

IN 1955, his other restaurant failed after an interstate route that led traffic past that restaurant changed. That year, with just $105 social security check to his name, at the age of 65 years old, he set out to sell his franchised-chicken model to restaurants across the country.

He was famously rejected by 1009 (one thousand and nine) restaurants before one agreed to his idea. Here we are today, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is one of the top-notch restaurants all over the world. Thanks to his resilience.

9. MILTON HERSHEY

20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

Milton, the founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company located in Hershey, Pennsylvania was born in 1857. He had struggles while growing up and worked on his family farm which gave him the values of persistence and hard work.

Milton was just fourteen years old in 1871 when he got fired from his job as an apprentice with a local printer because he dropped his hat by accident into one of the machines. After working for a candy factory near Lancaster, he decided to start his own business by opening a candy store close to Philadelphia. That business failed.

He left town and went to New Orlean’s and then Chicago. He finally settled in New York where he started working for Huyler’s, a Candy and restaurant chain. After working for a few years, he quit and decided to sell candies on the streets of New York City but it was also unsuccessful. Milton moved back to the farm where he grew up. Due to the large supply of fresh milk from the dairy cows, he experimented on chocolates and candies and this was how he learnt to make delicious chocolates from condensed milk.

At the age of thirty-six, he established the Lancaster Caramel Company, which he eventually sold for one million dollars after seven years. Then, at forty-three, Milton established Hershey Chocolate Company which is still in existence today and one of the famous best-tasting brands of chocolate in the world.

Milton success did come easy and early but he was resilience and that brought him to the limelight. 

Read: 32 mindblowing ways to improve your emotional intelligence

10. STEPHEN KING

20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

He was born on September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine. He is recognized as one of the most famous and successful horror writers of all time. His parents, Donald and Nelie Ruth Pillsbury King separated when he was very young and he and his brother lived in both Indiana and Connecticut for some years. 

He later moved to Maine with his mother and brother. Over there, he attended the University of Maine and worked as a teacher after graduation.

King had so much passion for writing. Many times, his works were rejected to the extent that the nails supporting his rejected works could not support them any more because of the weight and he had to replace the nail with a spike. At that time, he was only fourteen years old.

He still continued with his writings when the idea of his first book, Carrie, a story about a girl with telekinetic powers, first came to him. He had envisioned creating it as a short story for a magazine called Playboy. But after beginning the story, he realized it was going to be longer than the required format.

Though he had some moments of frustration while writing the book, he once crumpled it up and threw it into the garbage, but his wife retrieved it and encourage him.

After the completion of the work, he got thirty rejections from thirty publishers. Eventually, the book was published by Doubleday and he received a $2500 advance pay. A short time after, he was told that he would receive $200,000 for the rights to the book.

11. STEVEN JOBS

20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

Jobs is an inventor and entrepreneur responsible for the companies to have ever been created- Apple Computers. Before Jobs attained the height of success, he experiences numerous setbacks and felt unwanted at some point in life.

He was put up for adoption by his mother and was raised by a blue-collar couple in Palo Alto, Califonia. He dropped out of college and started taking courses that were most interesting to him rather than trying to complete his degree.

In 1976, jobs co-founded Apple Computers with his friends, Steve Wozniak. The company was highly successful. However, in 1983, Jobs hired John Scully from Pepsi to helm the company as a CEO, which ended up being one of his worst decisions he ever made.

After a disagreement with Scully, he resigned from Apple and took five employees with him to start his new business venture, NeXT.

Read 17 money management skills you need as a low-income earner

12. MARY KATHLYN WAGNER

20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

At the sound of the name Mary Kay, 80% of the female folks can relate. Most ladies know and use her cosmetic products but do not know who she was and how the cosmetics business came about.

The popular Mary Kay was founded by Mary Kathlyn Wagner born in 1918. Mary had a fair share of life experiences but later became a founder of Mary Kay.

She married her first husband at the age of seventeen and became a housewife. She had two children, and would later go on to sell books door-to-door when her husband was fighting in the war.

In 1945, she divorced and later worked for a company called Stanley Home Products.

At the age of 45, she retired and wrote her business plan for the business she planned to start with her second husband.

Unfortunately, her husband, Mel Ash, died just a month before the new business started.

Mary took the challenge by taking $5,000 from her eldest son, Richard Rogers. She opened up her first storefront in Dallas and created the company to help empower women to succeed in a market place that was very much in favour of the men.

Mary Kay Cosmetics grew beyond her wildest dreams. Today, the company has over 3 million consultants around with sales topping $3 billion annually. By 1968, the company had gone public but was later taken private again after 17 years as a public company. 

13. ELIZABETH ARDEN

20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

She was a businesswoman and was considered to be one of the wealthiest women in the world. Elizabeth overcame failure to achieve tremendous success creating a beauty empire by 1929 that include one hundred and fifty salons throughout the United States and Europe and eventually selling over one thousand products across twenty-two separate countries.

At the age of 31, she failed in business when she formed a partnership with Elizabeth Hubbard which lasted for six months. A year later, she coined the name Elizabeth Arden with the name ‘Elizabeth’ used in an effort to save money on a shin for her salon and ‘Arden’ which stemmed from the name of a nearby farm, giving birth to her salon name – Red Door Salon – the same year.

She kept herself updated and learnt more about beauty and facial techniques. She joined forces with a chemist and developed a vast number of beauty products. Her company, Elizabeth Arden, Inc., has surpassed %1 billion in annual sales, making it one of the most successful beauty businesses ever started still to this day.

Read: 22 simple ways to increase your intelligence

14. ELVIS PRESLEY

20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

An American musician born in 1935, who sold over 1 billion records worldwide. Elvis failures are often overlooked but he had an inspiring story attached to his success that most persons do not know. He lived with his family in Shotgun house for several years until they finally packed out because they could not pay the rent.

In 1948, at the age of thirteen years old, Presley’s family moved to Memphis, Tennessee from their home in Mississippi. They lived in boarding houses which were temporary rooms rented in a large home where the common areas were usually maintained before moving to a two-bedroom apartment in a public-housing complex.

In 1953, when he was 18 years old, he recorded a demo disc in Sun Records but nothing came out of it. A year later, he went back to Sun Records to record another demo which also failed to make any audition to become part of a vocalist quartet called the song fellows. He was told he could not sing.

He was so frustrated that he decided to take up a job as a truck driver. Through a friend named Ronnie Smith, Presley met Eddie Bond who led Smith’s professional band. It turned out they were looking for a vocalist. They arranged some more recordings which also unsuccessful until a months later when Presley randomly launched into ‘That’s All Right’.

15. HENRY FORD

20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You
20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

In 1863, Henry was born in Greenfield Township, Michigan. He was the industrialist who started Ford Motor Company which has been one of the most profitable automobile companies in the world making him one of the richest and famous individuals, though he failed in his early years.

In 1891 and at the age of 28, Henry decided to be an engineer. He worked for Edison Illuminating Company and was promoted to the post of a Chief Engineer in 1893. Around this time, he experimented with gasoline engines.

He designed and built a self-propelled vehicle that he showed off to people, winning the backing of William H. Murphy who, at that time, was a lumber baron in Detroit.

In 1899, Henry founded the Detroit Automobile Company. However, the company failed after an inability to pay back a loan to the Dodge brothers and the inefficiencies in the design of the vehicles.

The company ceased operations which dealt a stealthy blow to Ford. Again, he tried to convince one of the partners to give him another chance but the venture also flopped.

At the age of 40, after two separate failures, he tried again by incorporating the Ford Motor Company. Ford found an unconventional backer who he made an agreement with not to meddle in the business. He created a car that was affordable for the everyday family, helping to develop what was to become the largest boon in the automotive industry. 

Read: 11 incredible ways to develop a growth mindset

16. JAMES DYSON

20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You
20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

Dyson is an English inventor and entrepreneur who launched the wildly popular Dyson brand of products. In the late 1970s, Dyson had the idea of using cyclonic separation to create a vacuum cleaner that would not lose suction. At that time, he was supported by his wife who had to start working as an art teacher to make ends meet.

Dyson once said ‘There are countless times an inventor can give up on an idea. I made my 15th prototype, my third child was born. By 2,627, my wife and I were really counting our pennies. By 3,727, my wife was giving art lessons for some extra cash. These were tough times but each failure brought me closer to solving the problem’.

By 1991, he had a great product but was unable to convince any of the major retailers to sell it since the vacuum bag replacement industry was so large and none of the retailers wanted to buck that trend. So, Dyson created a company after his name in 1993 – Dyson Inc. He was 46 years old at that time.

All through Dyson’s failures, he never lost hope. By 2005, Dyson had become the market leader in the United States by volume sold, allowing him to launch a range of other products that were well-manufactured and worked efficiently. He delivered a value-driven concept that the brand has become known for.

17. MICHAEL JORDAN

20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You
20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

He is a former professional basketball player and owner of the Charlotte Hornets team called ‘the greatest basketball player of all time’. Jordan’s professional career is something for the history books, with a gameplay that will likely be unmatched and unrivalled for decades to come.

Jordan is credited with this saying – ‘I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed’.

At the age of fifteen, while a sophomore in high school, Jordan was passed up for the varsity basketball team. He cried after he saw that list without his name on it. But instead of giving up, his mother encouraged him to push forward. Every time he thought about stopping his training, he would picture the list without his name on it.

He saw failure as a push, a drive instead of defeat. At the age of 21, he entered the NBA as a professional basketball player for the Chicago Bulls, where he went on to win six championship titles and became one of the most impactful players to ever grace the courts.

Read: These 10 secrets will make your life better and happier

18. ROBERT T. KIYOSAKI

20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You
20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

Born in 1947, Robert is an entrepreneur, investor and popular author who wrote the ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad series’ and founded the Rich Dad Company which provides financial education to children and adults.

He created a cash flow board game, which helps to instil the same educational concepts in a game format.

Before the fame and wealth, Robert faced a number of setbacks and defeats. In 1977, at the age of 30 years old, he started a company that sold surfer’s wallets with nylon and velcro but failed so much that company eventually went bankrupt.

He later started a company selling t-shirts, hats and other licensed products for heavy metal rock groups. That company also went bankrupt in 1980 and he was 33 years old as at that time. In 1994, at the age of 38, he started a financial education company to teach investors and entrepreneurs various strategies for investing in real estate and other financial products.

In 1994, at the age of 47, he sold that company and began his investing and writing career. At the age of 50, when he penned the book titled ‘ Rich Dad Poor Dad’, he achieved international notoriety. The book has since sold over 26 million copies worldwide and has been translated into fifty-one languages.

19. SHAWN CARTER

20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You
20 Unexpected Success Stories That Will Inspire You

Popularly known as Jay-z, he was born in 1969 raised in Brooklyn and grew up in the housing projects known as the Marcy Houses in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighbourhood.

An entrepreneur, songwriter and American singer who rose up against all odds to succeed in life. He is considered as one of the most famous and successful rappers of all time as he has successfully sold over 100 million records.

Carter had his strings of failures and an unstable family life that led to the career of dealing drugs. After his father abandoned the family, his mother raised him and his three siblings. He became passionate about music early on, appearing on several early recordings of artists such as Jaz-O, Big Daddy Kane’s and Daddy’s Home.

While pursuing a record, he realized that no label wanted to sign him so he opted for selling CDs out of the trunk of his car. As every major label turned him down, it made him more willing to succeed. He co-founded his own label called Roc-A-Fella Records and founded a distribution partner, which was no easy task.

Jay-Z released his debut album titled Reasonable Doubt which reached number 23 on the Billboard 200. It also hit platinum status with Rolling Stones. This made it one of the 500 greatest albums all time. This was the start of a long and very successful career.

Read: 17 steps to stop wasting your life and start living your best life

20. THOMAS EDISON

Edison, an American inventor and entrepreneur, came from a poor home. He was one of seven siblings and was homeschooled by his mother, however, he developed hearing problems early on in life. He was trained to use telegraph after a train almost struck the son of a station agent. 

At the age of 30, Edison invented the phonograph. At 31, Edison worked on a commercial-viable incandescent light bulb that would be both long-lasting and highly efficient.

Thomas Edison went through a lot. He failed over 10,000 times trying to invent the commercially-viable electric bulb. His huge impact on society earned him 1,093 patents at the time of his death. His work in a number of fields created the basis for much of the technologies we enjoy today.

He suffered through failure many times, but he never quit, he just persisted.

Conclusion

Failure is a humiliating experience. No one wants to associate with failure but you cannot attain success without passing through the road of failure. All you need to do is to learn from every mistake. Let it be the driving force that motivates you to do better.

You must achieve success irrespective of the obstacle on the way to your goal. Failures, setbacks and distractions will definitely come your way but, you’re not meant to give up or relent.

Also, surround yourself with positive-minded people and know your worth. Self-realization is very important in this world. Take some time to heal emotionally if you have experienced some disappointments in life. There are still countless opportunities ahead of you. Nobody is born a permanent failure.

John Wooden said, ‘Don’t measure yourself by what you’ve accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability’. How much effort you put into a goal determines what you will get from it.

I hope you are inspired! What do you think? I want to hear from you. 😀                              

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Post Author: Deborah Chuckwuekwu

Chuckwuekwu Deborah is a creative writer who loves to put her thoughts and experiences into words for motivated youths like her and others who want to view life with a positive mindset.

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