Famous Failures

Oprah Winfrey:

Less than eight months into her first big TV gig, media magnate Oprah Winfrey was pulled from the anchor chair at Baltimore’s WJZ-TV, then shuffled through various lower-level jobs—reading headlines on air, writing copy, reporting. She’d just about had it with TV—until she was tapped for a local talk  show.

Michael Jordan:

NBA legend Michael Jordan initially failed to make his high school basketball team and admits to other defeats, including more than 9,000 shots missed in his career and more than 300 games lost. “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I  succeed.”

Harland Sanders:

KFC founder Harland Sanders traveled the country marketing his fried chicken, but restaurateurs did not find his 11 herbs and spices to be particularly finger-lickin’ good. Before finally finding a business partner, the colonel heard “no” more than 1,000 times, as well as more than a few jokes about his starched white suit and bow tie.

Norman Vincent Peale:

Positivity champion Norman Vincent Peale became so discouraged by publishers’ rejections that he threw his first manuscript in the trash. His wife pulled it out, sent it to one more publisher, and the rest, as they say, is history. The Power of Positive Thinking has now sold more than 20 million  copies.


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