He wanted to study film at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. However, he was rejected due to his “C” grade average. He applied for the second time but got rejected again. Overall, he applied to USC three times- but was rejected all three times. He then applied and was admitted to California State University, Long Beach, where he majored in English. While still a student, he was offered a small, unpaid intern job at Universal Studios with the editing department. He was later given the opportunity to make a short film for theatrical release, the 26-minute, 35mm short, Amblin’, which he wrote and directed. Studio vice president Sidney Sheinberg was impressed by the film, which had won a number of awards and offered him a seven-year directing contract. It made him the youngest director ever to be signed for a long-term deal with a major Hollywood studio.
Any guesses as to who I’m talking about?
I’m talking about the exceptionally talented Steven Spielberg. Today, he is a very successful film-maker and is known for his movies: Jaws, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Catch Me If You Can etc. He has directed 27 movies over four decades, has won 3 Oscars, including two for Best Director. The gross of all Spielberg-directed films is said to exceed $8.5 billion worldwide. His personal net worth is estimated to be more than $3 billion.Imagine the kind of films we would have lost out on, had he decided to give up on film-making altogether after being rejected thrice by his dream school!
Just remember: “Tenacity, especially in the face of repeated failure, is the key to success.”
While today he is remembered as one of the greatest leaders of the USA, his life wasn’t so easy. He is the greatest example of persistence. Born into poverty, he was faced with defeat throughout his life. He lost eight elections, twice failed in business and suffered a nervous breakdown. He could have quit many times – but he didn’t and because he didn’t quit, he became one of the greatest presidents in history.
The following is a summary of some of the key events in his life on the road to the White House:
1816 His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
1818 His mother died.
1831 Failed in business.
1832 Ran for state legislature – lost.
1832 Also lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
1833 Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
1834 Ran for state legislature again – won.
1835 Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
1836 Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
1838 Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
1840 Sought to become elector – defeated.
1843 Ran for Congress – lost.
1846 Ran for Congress again – this time he won – went to Washington and did a great job.
1848 Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
1854 Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
1856 Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – got less than 100 votes.
1858 Ran for U.S. Senate again – he lost.
1860 Elected president of the United States.
This person is none other than Abraham Lincoln.
As Lincoln once said, “Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but always strive to be worthy of recognition.”
Persistence (noun): the fact of continuing in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
Nervous breakdown (noun): is an acute, time-limited, mental disorder that manifests primarily as severe, stress-induced depression, anxiety, paranoia, or dissociation in a previously functional individual, to the extent that they are no longer able to function on a day-to-day basis until the disorder is resolved.
White House (noun): is the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States.
State legislature (noun): is a legislative branch or body of a political subdivision in a federal system.
Bankrupt (noun): a person judged by a court to be insolvent, whose property is taken and disposed of for the benefit of their creditors.
Senate (United States Senate) (noun): is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States.
Nomination (noun): is part of the process of selecting a candidate for either election to a public office, or the bestowing of an honor or award.
Convention (noun): a large meeting or conference, especially of members of a political party or a particular profession or group.
Strive (verb): make great efforts to achieve or obtain something.
Recognized (verb): show official appreciation of; reward formally.
Recognition (noun): the action or process of recognizing or being recognized, in particular:
Most of us think of his name as being synonymous with genius, but he didn’t always show such promise. He was always slower than his peers. He did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven, causing his teachers and parents to think he was mentally handicapped, slow and even anti-social. Eventually, he was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. It might have taken him a bit longer than most, but most people would agree that he did pretty well for himself in the end. He is known around the world for winning the Nobel Prize and changing the face of modern physics.
Any idea who I’m talking about?
I’m talking about none other than Albert Einstein.
Just remember, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. It doesn’t matter how slowly you move, as long as you’re always moving.”
She was diagnosed with clinical depression and there were times when she contemplated suicide. Her marriage had failed, and she was unemployed with a dependent child. She signed up for government aid ( she was so poor, that she could not afford to support herself and her daughter) She described her economic status as being ‘poor’, as it is possible to be poor in modern Britain, without being homeless.” In 1990, while she was on a four-hour-delayed train trip from Manchester to London, the idea for a story of a young boy attending a school of wizardry “came fully formed” into her mind. In 1995, she finished the manuscript of her first book on an old manual typewriter. The book was submitted to twelve publishing houses, all of which rejected the manuscript. Editor Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury advised her to get a day job since she had little chance of making money from writing children’s books. Today, she is United Kingdom’s best-selling living author, with an estimated fortune of £560 million, ranking her as the twelfth richest woman in the UK.
I’m sure you know who I’m talking about.
She is none other than J.K Rowling – the creator of the Harry Potter series. Her books have sold over 40 million copies worldwide.
Just remember: We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already. (J.k. Rowling)
In the middle of 2009, he was the software engineer that no one wanted to hire. Despite a dozen years of experience at Yahoo and Apple Computer, he got turned down by two of the internet’s most upcoming companies at the time. First Twitter, and then Facebook.
When he could not find any other company that would hire him, he teamed up with another Yahoo alum, Jan Koum, and built the application that has not only dominated cloud-based messaging, but is also used all over the world. Yes, this person is none other than Brian Acton, who developed Whatsapp. Whatsapp was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for about $19 billion USD in cash and stock, making Acton’s net worth around $3.8 billion.
Remember: Failure is the stairway to success.