All of us have our own goals, dreams and ambitions. We know what we want and we have a plan on how to get it. Unfortunately, most of us forget one crucial thing.

The path to success is not a straight one. It is a treacherous path filled with challenges and obstacles and failure.

The key difference between successful people and mediocre people is their reaction to failure.

When faced with failure, mediocre people curl themselves up in defeat and tell themselves that they were not cut out for it.

Successful people, on the other hand, know that getting what you want will never be easy. Regardless of the number of times they fail, they don’t give up.

Instead, they pick themselves up from their failure, dust themselves up and give it another try.

If you want to achieve your dreams, you should adopt this spirit of persistence. Like Winston Churchill once said, success is the ability to move from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

Focus on your goals and keep going, no matter what life throws at you.

Since seeing is believing, we have compiled for you a list of 9 famous and successful people who will inspire you to never give up.

These people faced numerous challenges, they failed several times, but they did not let their challenges or failure define them.

Instead, they continued pushing on until they eventually struck gold.


Today, the name Einstein is synonymous with genius. Ask a random person to name one genius they know and I am willing to bet that they will mention Albert Einstein. However, Einstein had not always been a genius.

During his childhood, no one would have nominated him for the most-likely-to-be-a-genius award. In fact, it was the complete opposite. People, including his teachers, thought Einstein was mentally handicapped.

In his early childhood, it seemed that Einstein had developmental problems. Einstein did not learn how to speak until he was four years old, and did not learn how to read until he was seven years old.

In Elementary school, his teachers thought he was mentally challenged and even claimed that he would not amount to anything in life. Due to his rebellious nature, Einstein was expelled out of high school.

However, this is not stop him from continuing his education. He continued educating himself with the guidance of his uncle.

At the age of 16, Einstein took an entrance exam at the Zurich University and failed. Instead of giving up, he went and received the requisite training and retook the entrance exam again. This time round he was admitted to the university.

After graduating from university near the bottom of his class, he tried to find work as a professor’s assistant but no professor wanted to work with him. He was the only one from his class with no job offer, and remained jobless for two years until some friends got him a job as a clerk in a patent office.

Despite all these challenges, Einstein never gave up. He continued furthering his education and ended up revolutionizing the world’s approach to physics. He developed the Theory of General Relativity and went on to win the Nobel Prize for physics.

Today, six decades after his death, Einstein is still considered one of the best minds ever.


Thomas Edison is one of the world’s best known inventors, but he is also widely known for his persistence, especially with the creation of the light bulb. Starting out, Edison was not a child prodigy.

A few years after joining elementary school, Edison was sent away from school with a note that said that he was too stupid to learn anything. Fortunately for him, he did not read the note. He took it to his mother and asked her what it said. With teary eyes, his mother told him that his teachers thought he was too gifted to be at school, and she started homeschooling him.

Not having schooled like a typical child, Edison went into the job market a bit early. Unfortunately for him, he was fired from his first two jobs because his employers thought he was not very productive at work. Edison, however, did not let this stop him. He left employment to focus on being an inventor, something he had a passion for ever since his childhood.

Edison’s greatest show of his persistence was displayed during his attempts to make the electric light bulb. Edison did over 10,000 experiments trying to make the light bulb work.

Asked by a journalist why he had not given up after 10,000 failed attempts, Edison simply stated that he had found 10,000 ways that did not work, which meant that he was a lot closer to finding a solution that worked.

And true to his words, it did not take him much longer to find one that worked.

Thanks to his persistence, we can now enjoy the convenience brought about by the light bulb. Despite his early failures, Edison’s persistence turned him into a household name.

By the time of his death, he held over 1,000 patents, and GE, the company he founded, remains one of the largest companies in the world to-date.


The Walt Disney Company is the largest independent mass media and entertainment conglomerate. Disneyland is the world’s most popular theme park, while the Character Mickey Mouse, developed by the Walt Disney Company, is one of the most recognizable TV characters.

Many Disney productions defined childhood for so many of us. However, all this would not have happened if Walt Disney, the man behind the Walt Disney Company, had listened to his naysayers or given in to failure.

Before achieving his success, Walt Disney went through a number of failures. Walt Disney career woes began when he was fired from a newspaper. Ironically, Disney was fired because his editor at the newspaper thought that he was not creative enough. Out of a job, Disney decide to go into business. He started his own company, an animation studio known as Laugh-O-Gram. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt within a few years.

Undeterred, Disney created an animated series around Oswald The Rabbit, a character he had created himself. Things were going pretty well for him until he lost his rights to the character to the series distributors, Universal Studios.

From there, Disney created the Mickey Mouse character, but the character was rejected by MGM studios because the folks at MGM thought that a giant mouse on the screen would scare women. He came up with animated series ‘The Three Little Pigs’, but this was rejected by distributors because they thought it had very few characters.

Fortunately, all these failures and rejections did not discourage Disney. He went on to create the iconic company that bears his name and one that brought happiness to generations upon generations. Even the characters and animated series that were initially rejected ended up becoming wildly popular and successful.


Almost everyone Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a retired professional wrestler and a Hollywood star. Dwayne Johnson was voted the World’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2016 and was ranked by Forbes as Hollywood’s highest paid actor in 2017.

Despite the massive success he has achieved, Dwayne Johnson’s journey to success was not easy. He only got there through sheer persistence and determination. There were several instances that could have derailed Johnson off his path, but they didn’t.

As a teenager, Johnson got interested in football and joined his high school football team. Being from a family that was not very well off financially, Johnson saw football as the vehicle that would get him and his family out of poverty.

He focused on football, and even got a football scholarship to the University of Miami. All was going well and he was primed to get drafted into the NFL. However, an injury saw him replaced from his college football time by Warren Sapp, who ended becoming an NFL star. The injury killed all his dreams of playing in the NFL.

Still determined to make it as a pro footballer, Johnson was drafted by the Calgary Stampeders in Canada. Unfortunately, his career as a pro footballer was not meant to be.

A few months later, he was let go by the Stampeders, and his dream of being a professional footballer was crushed. The pain of seeing his dream get crushed almost got Johnson into depression.

After thinking hard about his life, he decided that the end of a football career was not the end of his life. He left the gridiron and decided to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather by becoming a pro wrestler.

Through a lot of hard work and determination, his efforts finally paid off, and he saw massive success in the ring. He then leveraged his success in the ring to catapult himself to the big screen.

The rest, as they say, is history. Despite failing and seeing his dreams shattered, Johnson never gave up. Instead, he simply rethought his plan and continued chasing the success he so much wanted.


Katy Perry is a world renowned singer, songwriter and TV personality. She has won five American Music Awards, won the People’s Choice awards fourteen times, won the Guinness World Records four times and a ton of other awards, alongside being named as Billboard’s woman of the year in 2010-2011. She is currently worth over $280 million. Despite her stardom, her journey to success and fame was not an easy affair.

Having been born in a strictly Christian family, Katy Perry’s first foray into the music industry was through gospel music. She released her first gospel album in 2001, but it was commercially unsuccessful, selling a mere 200 copies.

After achieving no success with this album, the record label she was signed to dropped her. Having tried and failed at gospel music, Katy Perry switched to popular music. She got into a collaboration with producer Glen Ballard, but no deals came from the collaboration.

Still trying to realize her dream, she got signed to Island Def Jam, but the contract was short lived. After a few months, she was dropped again. After leaving Island Def Jam, she signed with Columbia Records, but once again, she was dropped when her project was about 80% complete.

Having been dropped by record labels three times, most people would be convinced that the music industry was not for them.

Not Katy Perry.

She worked odd jobs to survive while still chasing her dream of making it as a singer. In 2006, she signed with Capitol Music Group and released another album.

The album was a hit, and I Kissed A Girl, one of her singles from the album topped the charts in several countries, springing her to stardom. Had she decided to give up after being dropped by three record labels, Katy Perry would not be the star she is today.


Steve Jobs is America’s most iconic tech entrepreneur. He built Apple Inc. one of the most successful tech companies and brought us great products like the MacBook, the iPhone and the iPod. Jobs is the poster boy of the startup culture of Silicon Valley.

What many might not know is that jobs also had to surmount numerous challenges to achieve this success, and there is a thing or two we can learn from him about persistence.

Growing up, Jobs family was not particularly rich. After attending Reed College for about six months, Jobs dropped out from school because he felt it was too expensive for his parents. After spending some time trying to find himself and his purpose in life, Jobs decided to focus on building computers and he founded the Apple Company.

He started the company from his parent’s garage and built it into a billion dollar company.

Things were going well until Jobs was kicked out of Apple by the board in favor of John Sculley. Imagine being ousted from the company you built from the ground up, starting in your parent’s garage, and the reigns of the company being handed over to someone you hired yourself. This was a devastating moment for Jobs, and he even contemplated leaving Silicon Valley altogether.

After lots of thought and considerations, he decided to stick it out in Silicon Valley. He acquired an animation studio named Pixar and built another computer company named NeXT. After achieving some success with NeXT, the company was bought by Apple, in a deal that saw Jobs come back to Apple.

At the time, Apple had started failing, but when Jobs took the reigns as CEO for the second time, he saved the company, which was doing bad and seemed to be beyond salvage, and built it into the iconic brand it is today.


Jack Ma is the founder of the Alibaba Group, a Chinese multinational conglomerate that specializes in Retail, ecommerce, technology, internet and Artificial Intelligence. Jack Ma is also China’s richest man, with a net worth of $34.2 billion.

What many may not know is that Jack Ma’s success is a story of persistence and the determination to never give up.

Jack Ma is no stranger to failure. He was not a particularly good student. He had to retake the entrance test two times in order to get into middle school. Getting into college wasn’t easy for him either.

He failed the college entrance exam two times.

In fact, he actually got a score of 1 out of 120 points in the math paper of his first college entrance exam. School examinations and tests are not Jack Ma’s only encounters with failure. Jack Ma was also rejected from Harvard University a record ten times. Talk of persistence! How many of you would bother applying the third time after getting two rejections?

Once he got into the job market after graduating from college, he sent applications to 30 different jobs, only to be rejected by every single one of them. He even tried to be a policeman, but they thought he was not up for it.

Afterwards, he managed to get an interview at KFC, but of all the 24 interviewees, he was the only one that got rejected, owing to his short height and unappealing looks.

Once he decided to start Alibaba, success did not come easy either. The company did not make any profit in its first three years, but Jack Ma did not give up. He tried to convince Silicon Valley investors to fund the company but was rejected by all Silicon Valley investors he talked to.

At one point, the company was almost going bankrupt. Jack Ma still did not give up on the company, and eventually, his persistence paid off. Jack Ma’s story is the perfect example of going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.


Today, Henry Ford is a household name. He is known as a great entrepreneur and the man that revolutionized the automobile industry in the United States, making the automobile ubiquitous in every American home.

He also pioneered the use of the assembly line in manufacturing, leading to reduced production costs, while at the same time championing for proper treatment of workers. Before hitting his massive success, Ford had to overcome two key failures.

At the age of 23, Henry Ford was simply a young man with a dream to build a vehicle for the common man. Armed with nothing but his dream and ideas, he approached a lumber baron named William H. Murphy for funding in order to produce an automobile he had named the Quadricycle. This led to the formation of his first company, the Detroit Automobile Company. Unfortunately, after delayed productions, Murphy grew jittery and pulled out, leading to dissolution of the company.

After thinking through his first failure, Ford once again convinced Murphy to back him a second time, leading to the creation of the Henry Ford Company.

Having failed the first time, Murphy backed Ford on condition that Ford would work under a supervisor of Murphy’s choice. Ford found it difficult working under a supervisor who knew nothing about engineering and he ended up leaving the company without anything, not even the rights to his designs.

With two failures, a tarnished reputation and no money, one would have thought Ford would give up. For him, however, giving up was not an option. He tried once more, convincing a coal magnate by the name Alexander Malcomson to finance him. This led to the creation of the Ford Motor Company.

After a while, Ford released the Model A, but it was wrought with so many problems. It would take him another five years before he launched the Model T, which became an instant success, revolutionizing the automobile industry and catapulting Ford to the top of the industry.

Despite his early failures and setbacks, giving up never crossed the mind of Henry Ford. For him, failure was just an opportunity to try again, this time more intelligently.


Most of us are familiar with the logo of the popular food franchise known as KFC. The logo depicts the face of Colonel Sanders, the man who founded KFC. Today, KFC is the world’s second largest restaurant franchise, with over 20,000 restaurants spread out over more than 23 countries. Almost everyone knows KFC, but not everyone knows the story of Colonel Sanders, its founder.

Colonel Sanders’ life did not start off easy. After his father died and his mom remarried, Sanders fled away from home at the age of 15 to escape abuse by his stepfather.

He worked as a farmhand and then lied about his age so he could be drafted into the army. Unfortunately, he did not stay in the army for long. He was discharged after just four months.

From there, he was hired and fired from several jobs. Seeing that he could not hold down a job, his wife and the mother of his three kids sold all their belongings when Sanders was on a business trip and left with the kids.

After working several jobs, Sanders, then aged 40, started selling chicken at a service station. A few years later, he bought a motel, but the motel and his restaurant was razed to the ground a short while later. Not one to give up, he rebuilt the motel and run it for a while, but was forced to sell it when a newly completed interstate took traffic away from his location. While working at his restaurant, he had developed a secret chicken recipe that customers really loved.

Having sold his restaurant, he decided to market his franchise-model chicken restaurant. He was 65 years at the time. With only a social security check of $105 and his killer chicken recipe, he hit the road trying to convince restaurants to buy into his franchise model. It wasn’t easy. Sanders and his recipe was rejected a record 1009 times, before making his first sale.

Once he made his first sale, however, the company grew faster than even he had anticipated. Eventually, he ended up selling the company for $2 million, which is about $15 million today.


Success does not come easy, and only the most persistent are able to achieve their dreams. The 9 people covered in this article all faced challenges that would have prevented them from becoming successful, but giving up was not in their DNA.

They took their failures gracefully, learnt any lessons they could from their failures and then bounced back with even more determination.

Their stories should serve as an inspiration to you. Any time you are faced with challenges and feel like giving up, remind yourself that challenges and failure are a part of success. Whenever life deals you a blow, pick yourself up, dust yourself up and give it another try.

9 Famous People Who Will Inspire You to Never Give Up

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