#ThrowbackThursday: 5 Failure Stories to Learn From

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Photo Credit: iStock.com/Artist's Gearstd

It’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog

That is what jumps to my mind when I feel my nerves twisting and my forehead sweating in a rare, yet, inevitable moment of self-doubt. Because, I am one of those who would like to hear from people, that “Yes, he did fail at something; but you know what, the fight was inspiring.” Maybe, some day, I would become a part of the class of entrepreneurs, who would shake the very foundation of economy! At this moment, it sounds crazy…but crazy is magic, and as Eleanor Roosevelt rightly said: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

There have been many before me who have done the same. They are my ideals and my inspiration, not just as entrepreneurs but also as who they were. Their struggle to greatness, discipline and perseverance has always been relevant to mine because I find the same challenges in my life, and it is easier to relate to them for anyone who is ready to believe in himself as a vital part of his industry. And, that industry could be any – a creative writer, philanthropist, first triathlon race, or a business tycoon. A great artist is always just as relentless as a deft engineer. You can expect them both to be equally full of crazy and full of magic. Because distinction in a person comes with his ability to take severe blows and staying put in the ring. He may lose a match but never his game. Sure they face let downs and frustration, but they don’t get down on themselves. They fix their problems and mistakes, and move on. And that is what attracts glory to him, and that is the lesson we all need to learn in life from these people.

Today, I am doing a short roundup of some of the personalities who taught me some valuable traits and work ethics in life. Hope my readers would find their stories just as enlightening and then go on to reading more on them and their respective struggles. This is like an introduction to their stories and a small tribute on my part.

• Bill Gates

Bill Gates may own and live in Xanadu 2.0 earth sheltered mansion, fully equipped with technology such as adjustable temperature, music and lighting as per preference of a pin wearer; but he, too, has had his fair share of a set back with his first company Traf-O-Data. The company’s objective was ‘to read the raw data from roadway traffic counters and create reports for traffic engineers,’ in order to control road congestion and optimize traffic. The company failed, but in the words of his partner, Paul Allen, it was seminal in preparing them to make Microsoft’s first product a couple of years later.

Bill Gates

Eventually, Microsoft became the largest personal-computer software company in the world and the richest philanthropist of this day became one of the ideals for people of this generation.

• Oprah Winfrey

People are familiar with the “Queen of all media” around the world. Her award-winning talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show went on for twenty five years as the highest-rated television program of its kind in history. But how many of us really know what she has been through in the early days of her life. Her story consists of pain, physical and psychological – literally tormented by repeated molestation. She grew up in Milwaukee, where she was sexually abused by her uncle, cousin, and a family friend. Eventually, she ran away and the next year, gave birth to a baby boy who died shortly after.

Oprah Winfrey

Her tragic past, however, turned her into the force she is today. The actress, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist now has a net worth of $3.0 billion. Her own poverty and tragedy turned her into a benefactor for millions.

• Warren Buffett

Here comes the man! No, really, he is also a normal human being making errors just like any of us so don’t be in too much awe of him. He is now a business magnate, world’s wealthiest person, a philanthropist, and America’s top investor of the 20th century. He is also among the top 6 most powerful CEOs of 2014 and one of the most influential people in the world right now. He is known as the Wizard, Oracle, or the Sage of Omaha. As a child, he went from door to door in order to sell weekly magazines and stuff. He helped and worked for his grandfather in selling grocery. He is a well-learned man but he spent his high school delivering newspapers and selling a variety of goods such as stamps, cars, etc.

Warren Buffett

Like all investors and business owners, he has also endured investment failures. In early twenties, he bought a Sinclair Texaco gas station which did not succeed. Again, in 1966, Buffett admitted to have made his worst trade in textile business. But even after all of his wrong moves and risky decisions, he believed in himself like never before. This very confidence and self-respect helped him come a long way.

• Albert Einstein

Einstein came up with the world’s most famous equation E = mc2. Even the people who hate Physics know about this formula of mass-energy equivalence because of its frequent usage in popular culture. In the year 1921, he received the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physics on discovering the law of the photoelectric effect because it played a vital role in establishing quantum theory.

Albert Einstein

A person whose name was synonymous with the word genius, had to bear insulting remarks and disheartening attitude from others as everybody thought of him as an over-imaginative dud. His teachers always thought he was lazy and a hopeless creature with no future prospects. But, the genius proved them all wrong. In fact, that is would be an understatement. He developed the Theory of Relativity, something that makes most of us feel like unimaginative duds who can’t get their heads around it.

• Steve Jobs

Who hasn’t heard of Steve Jobs in this generation? Most of us revere him as the guru of technology industry and the most influential business figure of his time. He produced top-notch gadgets and brought a revolution in the smart technology industry with best-selling stuff like the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and the Macbook. But he faced serious stumbling blocks as an entrepreneur who had to deal with failure again and again. He wasted millions of dollars in developing useless technology, created Apple I which sold only 175 units, withstood the Lisa development disaster, got kicked out of the company he founded because of that, and failed to manage his following venture NeXT.

Steve Jobs

With a truckload of failures, Jobs only became more determined to leave a legacy that justified all of his life’s adventures and hard work. He dreamt of a company that could stand for generations like Walt Disney or Intel, and then gave everything he had to make that dream come true. Not magic… only crazy!

Get Your Thinking Cap ON!

Imagine if these people had given up at any point in their careers, where would the world be without their contributions right now? Now ask yourself, if you, too, have got what it takes to make a difference in other people’s lives like that.

About The Author

Kelvin Stiles is a tech enthusiast and works as a marketing consultant at SurveyCrest – FREE online survey software and publishing tools for academic and business use. He is also an avid blogger and a comic book fanatic.