Successful Icons & Their Failures

Posted on 8th April 2022

Failure is the mother of success, and it can be very costly to our mental well- being and life to lose focus of this fact. Let’s examine the lives of 6 popular world figures with this in mind.

Vincent van Gogh

This is a notable example of someone who despite his extraordinary talent believed he was a failure. He had many critics and only very gradually began to build a “reputation” during his lifetime. In frustration, he burned and destroyed many of his paintings and sold just one painting. He felt like such a failure that he killed himself. It was after his death, that his work began to generate a great deal of   attention and critical and financial success.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Today, Mozart is regarded as a genius composer. However, during his lifetime, he experienced failure several times. He wrote hundreds of compositions, but he was dismissed in royal circles and three of his major compositions were flops.

Oprah Winfrey

The world-renowned media mogul is worth billions. She owns the multimedia empire Harpo and is widely respected for her accomplishments. However, she was publicly fired from her first job as a TV news anchor. Interestingly, the show’s executives felt that she was too “emotionally invested” in the stories that she reported on!

Sidney Poitier

The late actor was a widely respected actor, he won an Academy Award in 1963 for his role as Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field. However, when he was as an actor, he auditioned for a role and ended up messing up his lines. His Caribbean accent was so pronounced that the director stopped him suggested that he was better off looking for work as a dishwasher.

Vera Wang

Wang is world renowned as the multimillionaire designer of iconic wedding dresses. Before becoming one of the world’s most sought-after fashioner designers, she aspired to become an Olympics figure skater. This didn’t work out.

She eventually got an editorial job at Vogue and was there for 17 years. She also tried another career for 15 years but was not successful. She then ventured into designing wedding dresses and that’s when she achieved incredible success.  

Elizabeth Arden

Elizabeth Arden born Florence Nightingale Graham, established one of the biggest companies in the beauty industry. However, success was not an easy road.

Prior to this, she experienced many failures. She dropped out of nursing school depressed at the type of work and responsibility. She then tried several different career paths, e.g., a receptionist, secretary, and bank clerk.  None of these worked out.

Her first business venture resulted in failure. However, this failure did not stop her from pursuing her dream. She took a loan to set up her next business venture—a cosmetics and beauty salon company—and it was a success. Today, Elizabeth Arden Inc. is a major corporation with revenues in the billions.

If you are passionate about a dream and have a commitment to a goal that seems impossible be inspired by these real-life stories.  There are role models all around us, but ultimately, it takes an initial leap of faith!

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