Famous figures who are actually highly successful underdogs


Failure can devastate some people and make them give up on their dreams. For others, it is a reason to try again and a lesson for the future. However, many successful people demonstrate that success is possible once you embrace failure.

‘’People managed to save the world in some way after being tossed around and trashed and ruined. It’s about time that people stop blaming failures for their failures, embrace it and move on.’’ – says Silvia Frederick, a writer at Book Review AussieWritings.com.

To give you a small boost and a little bit of motivation, we gathered a list of some of the biggest successes. For most of them, you probably don’t even know how many failures they suffered.


The skillful writer we all know and love had only dreams and aspirations before her Harry Potter book started selling like hot cake. She was a single mom struggling to earn for her family, living in a small apartment with her daughter. Rowling had no job and no money, which can really make a person feel like a failure.

But, she didn’t give up. She set her foot down and wrote one of the longest-lasting bestsellers in the world, the Harry Potter’s series. Rowling was even rejected from publishers when she sent her first manuscript, but she didn’t give up. The publishing house Bloomsbury gave her the green light back in 1997, starting her career as one of the top-earning authors in the world.

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light. – J.K.Rowling

Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld is one of the most popular comedians worldwide, but did you know that he freaked out the first time he stepped out on the stage? Seinfeld did a lot of rehearsing, but his first stand up performance was a disaster. Even after he improved, Jerry was fired from the sitcom Benson after only four episodes. They didn’t just fire him but failed to tell him that he’d been cut, which was obviously quite humiliating.

But, he didn’t give up. He went right back to doing what he loved – performing at clubs. One performance led him to a gig in the ‘Tonight Show’, which was the start of a very successful life.

Keep your head up in failure, and your head down in success. – Jerry Springer.

Walt Disney

According to Walt Disney’s editor, Disney ‘lacked imagination and had no good ideas’. Can you believe that? Once this passed, his Laugh-O-Gram animation studio drove into bankruptcy. Only then did our famous Disney decided to try his luck in Hollywood.

Disney and his brother began the Disney Brothers’ Studio when they moved to California. Their Disneyland and Mickey Mouse won 22 Academy Awards.

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey suffered something similar to that of Disney and Rowling – she was rejected by others despite her talent. According to a Baltimore TV producer, Oprah was ‘unfit for television news’ and ‘too emotionally invested in her stories’. However, this is the person who got her in the right place. He offered her a role on ‘People are talking’, a TV show that soon became a hit. Eventually, she started hosting ‘’The Oprah Winfrey Show’’, which made her one of the most popular and richest people in the world.

But, that’s not all. Only few people nowadays know the entire life story of Oprah Winfrey. In short, she was born a poor daughter of a single mother who worked as a maid. Oprah was molested as a child and pregnant at the age of 14. She lost her son in infancy. This is the person we now know as the richest African American woman of the 20th century.

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. – Oprah Winfrey

Albert Einstein

You surely didn’t expect to find Einstein in this list, did you? As a child, Einstein had trouble learning and communicating with others. His problems did not indicate a lack of intelligence, which is evident from the Nobel Prize in physics he got for the discovery of the photoelectric effect.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. – Albert Einstein

We hope that this list of successful people lighted a fire that will keep you going even when failures are part of your life. Learn from the fiercest – success is never achieved easily!

This article was submitted by guest contributor Olivia Ryan. Olivia is a passionate blogger who writes on topics of digital marketing, career, and self-development. She constantly tries to learn something new and share this experience on various websites. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

You May Also Like: