Famous failures

When you think of names like Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, and Walt Disney, you think of people who were vastly successful by any measure. They weren’t always that way, though.

Although we now think of him as one of the Big Three responsible for winning World War II, Winston Churchill’s road to becoming prime minister was a rather difficult one. Before becoming Britain’s foremost political figure at the age of 62, Churchill was defeated in every attempt he made to run for public office. Earlier in life, he even failed sixth grade.

When he was a school child, one of his teachers told Thomas Edison that he was, “too stupid to learn anything.” Although ultimately he became famous as the inventor of the light bulb, before finding a bulb that would work, he bumbled his way through 100 lighting duds. His reaction? “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

When Walt Disney worked for newspapers, one editor fired him because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” His first studio went bankrupt just a year after it was founded and 15 years later he was hovering on the verge of bankruptcy again when the release of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” became the most successful picture of 1938, earning over $8 million on its initial release.

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