5 Stories of Massive Failures that Lead to Success

Don’t be afraid to fail.

People fear failure. People fear pain. People fear rejection.

You don’t need to fear it. You need to embrace it.

Failure can be one of our most rewarding experiences in life because we can learn from it. Once you learn from it, you can improve.  

Think successful people haven’t encountered failure before? Take a look at these 5 stories below:

Story #1:  Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, went through a lot of rejection.  

*He failed a college entrance exam three times.

Once he ruled out college, Ma applied for 30 different jobs and got rejected.

"I went for a job with the police; they said, 'you're no good.   I even went to KFC when it came to my city. Twenty-four people went for the job. Twenty-three were accepted."  Jack was the only one who didn't get the job. 

When Ma founded Alibaba in 1998, he was met with more obstacles. 

The brand did not turn a profit for the first three years, and Ma had to get creative. One of the company's main challenges was that it had no way to do payments, and no banks would work with him. 

Ma decided to start his own payment program called Alipay. The program transfers payments of different currencies between international buyers and sellers. 

"So many people I talked to at that time about Alipay, they said, 'This is the stupidest idea you've ever had, I didn't care if it was stupid as long as people could use it."

Today, 800 million people use Alipay. Alibaba today is worth over $200 billion.  


What if Jack Ma gave up after failing to get that KFC job?

Speaking of KFC...

Story #2:  Colonel Sanders was 65 when he first began to fulfill his dream. After he received his first social security check for $105, he began going door to door at restaurants to sell his chicken recipe. He spent 2 years sleeping in the back seat of his car in that iconic white suit and was turned down 1,009 before he heard his first “yes.” Talk about overcoming failure! Instead of giving up he learned how to improve from his failures.

What if he gave up after 1,008 tries?


Story #3:  Sylvester Stallone once wrote for over 24 hours straight.  The end result?  The entire script to Rocky.  

He tried to sell the script to producers but got rejected over and over again.  For months.   

He was so poor at this time that he sold his best friends (his dog).  He waited outside a liquor store asking people to buy his dog and eventually sold it for $50. Having to do this crushed him.

Finally, one day, someone read his script and loved it.  They wanted to buy it. There was only one catch: Sylvester wanted to play the part of Rocky.   

They said no.

They offered him $100,000 for the script.  He declined.

Weeks later, they offered him even more money - $400,000 to be exact.  He declined again.  

Finally - they gave in - but at a lower price.  They offered him $25,000 and the part in the movie.  He took the deal.  

What did he do with the money?  He went back to the liquor store and waited for 3 days before the same man who bought his dog returned.  He offered $150 to buy the dog back and the man refused.  He eventually offered $15,000 and a part in the movie.  

What happened next?  Well, Rocky went on to win the best picture award at the Academy and Sylvester read all of his rejection letters during the ceremony.  The same ones who said it would be a sappy film that no one would watch.  

What if Sylvester gave up and sold the script without being in the film?  The film - and his life - would never be the same.


Story #4:  Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime to a friend and it was for a tiny amount of money. While he never was a huge financial success during his lifetime, he continued to paint despite starving at times. He finished over 800 pieces of art and today they are worth hundred of millions of dollars.

 What if he pursued a “normal” job?


Story #5:  JK Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers.  The only reason her book got published is because the CEO's daughter begged him to.  Her Harry Potter series went on to sell over 100 million copies and her net worth is over $1 Billion dollars today.  

What if she quit after being rejected by the 11th publisher?

I just shared with you 5 stories of enormously successful people who went through MASSIVE failure to reach their goals. Anytime you feel like giving up, remember these stories. 

To this day, I’ve yet to meet anyone in my life that has told me that they’ve never experienced failure in some shape or form, whether it’s small or large. It’s inevitable. It’s a part of the life. The key is to learn from it and to understand how you COULD be better off because of the lessons learned.

Don’t let fear hold you back from pursuing your dreams.   Otherwise if you never take any action, how will you ever progress from where you are today?

You don’t want to look back 30 years from now with regret.

Appreciate each and every day as an opportunity to progress towards your goals.  Make it happen!


Original article and source:  Business Insider Article:  http://www.businessinsider.com/alibaba-founder-jack-ma-on-rejection-2015-2

Nelson Wang1 Comment