In Blog, Success Stories

If you’re struggling with keeping positive amidst the turbulent times we live in, read this…

As a young man, Abraham Lincoln went to war a captain and returned a private. Later, he failed as a businessman. As a lawyer in Springfield, he was too impractical and temperamental to find success.
He turned to politics and was defeated in his first try for the legislature, again defeated in his first attempt to be nominated for congress, defeated in his application to be commissioner of the General Land Office, defeated in the senatorial election of 1854, defeated in his efforts for the vice-presidency in 1856, and defeated in the senatorial election of 1858.

He later became the 16th President of the United States of America.

Winston Churchill failed sixth grade. He was subsequently defeated in every election for public office until he became Prime Minister at the age of 62. He later wrote, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never -in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never, Never, Never, Never give up.”

Sigmund Freud was booed from the podium when he first presented his ideas to the scientific community of Europe. He returned to his office and kept on writing.

Robert Sternberg received a C in his first college introductory-psychology class. His teacher commented that “there was a famous Sternberg in psychology and it was obvious there would not be another.”
Three years later Sternberg graduated with honors from Stanford University with exceptional distinction in psychology, summa cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa.

In 2002, he became President of the American Psychological Association.

Charles Darwin gave up a medical career and was told by his father, “You care for nothing but shooting, dogs and rat catching.” In his autobiography, Darwin wrote, “I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect.”

Clearly, he evolved.

Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.”
He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.”
As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.
When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied,
“I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 4-years-old and did not read until he was 7. His parents thought he was “sub-normal,” and one of his teachers described him as “mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in foolish dreams.”
He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.

He did eventually learn to speak and read. Even to do a little math.

Louis Pasteur was only a mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies and ranked 15th out of 22 students in chemistry.

Henry Ford could not read nor write, failed and went broke five times in business before he succeeded.

R. H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York City caught on.

F. W. Woolworth was not allowed to wait on customers when he worked in a dry goods store because, his boss said, “he didn’t have enough sense.”

When Bell telephone was struggling to get started, its owners offered all their rights to Western Union for $100,000. The offer was disdainfully rejected with the pronouncement, “What use could this company make of an electrical toy.” How many of you have a telephone today?

Rocket scientist Robert Goddard found his ideas bitterly rejected by his scientific peers on the grounds that rocket propulsion would not work in the rarefied atmosphere of outer space.

An expert said of Vince Lombardi: “He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation.” Lombardi would later write, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.”

Babe Ruth is famous for his past home run record, but for decades he also held the record for strikeouts. He hit 714 home runs and struck out 1,330 times in his career (about which he said, “Every strike out brings me closer to the next home run.”).

Hank Aaron went 0 for 5 his first time at bat with the Milwaukee Braves.

Stan Smith was rejected as a ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because he was “too awkward and clumsy.” He went on to clumsily win Wimbledon and the US Open…and eight Davis Cups.

Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh, and Jimmy Johnson accounted for 11 of the 19 Super Bowl victories from 1974 to 1993. They also share the distinction of having the worst records of first-season head coaches in NFL history – they didn’t win a single game.

Johnny Unitas’s first pass in the NFL was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Joe Montana’s first pass was also intercepted. And while we’re on quarterbacks, during his first season Troy Aikman threw twice as many interceptions (18) as touchdowns (9) . . . oh, and he didn’t win a single game. You think there’s a lesson here?

After Carl Lewis won the gold medal for the long jump in the 1996 Olympic games, he was asked to what he attributed his longevity, having competed for almost 20 years. He said, “Remembering that you have both wins and losses along the way. I don’t take either one too seriously.”

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.

Charles Schultz had every cartoon he submitted rejected by his high school yearbook staff. Oh, and Walt Disney wouldn’t hire him.

After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the memo from the testing director of MGM, dated 1933, read, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” He kept that memo over the fire place in his Beverly Hills home. Astaire once observed that “when you’re experimenting, you have to try so many things before you choose what you want, that you may go days getting nothing but exhaustion.” And here is the reward for perseverance: “The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it’s considered to be your style.”

After his first audition, Sidney Poitier was told by the casting director, “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?” It was at that moment, recalls Poitier, that he decided to devote his life to acting.

When Lucille Ball began studying to be actress in 1927, she was told by the head instructor of the John Murray Anderson Drama School, “Try any other profession.”

The first time Jerry Seinfeld walked on-stage at a comedy club as a professional comic, he looked out at the audience, froze, and forgot the English language. He stumbled through “a minute-and a half” of material and was jeered offstage. He returned the following night and closed his set to wild applause.

After Harrison Ford’s first performance as a hotel bellhop in the film Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round, the studio vice-president called him in to his office. “Sit down kid,” the studio head said, “I want to tell you a story. The first time Tony Curtis was ever in a movie he delivered a bag of groceries. We took one look at him and knew he was a movie star.” Ford replied, “I thought you were spossed to think that he was a grocery delivery boy.” The vice president dismissed Ford with “You ain’t got it kid , you ain’t got it … now get out of here.”

Michael Caine’s headmaster told him, “You will be a laborer all your life.”

Charlie Chaplin was initially rejected by Hollywood studio chiefs because his pantomime was considered “nonsense.”

Decca Records turned down a recording contract with The Beatles with the evaluation, “We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out.” After Decca rejected the Beatles, Columbia records followed suit.

In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told Presley, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him “hopeless as a composer.” And, of course, you know that he wrote five of his greatest symphonies while completely deaf.

Van Gogh sold only one painting during his life. And this, to the sister of one of his friends, for 400 francs (approximately $50). This didn’t stop him from completing over 800 paintings.

Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, was encouraged to find work as a servant by her family.

Emily Dickinson had only seven poems published in her lifetime.

18 publishers turned down Richard Bach’s story about a “soaring eagle.” Macmillan finally published Jonathan Livingston Seagull in 1970. By 1975 it had sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S. alone.

21 publishers rejected Richard Hooker’s humorous war novel, M*A*S*H. He had worked on it for seven years.

27 publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first book, To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

Jack London received six hundred rejection slips before he sold his first story.

Woody Allen: “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying. Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

Is there a message here? I think so…

Never give up…



Showing 33 comments
  • Andrea

    Thanks a lot for this

  • N Hlabisa

    This goes to remind us that with faith all things are possible.

  • Nikiwe Hlabisa

    Very inspirational!

  • Reply

    Hi Bruce

    Some of these I have heard before, some new.

    It always makes me think of the thousands who were told similar things, and who did, then, give up……

    It goes to show how experts can not always tell what is inside, from the brief look that took of the outside…..

    Thanks for reminding us of some of these again!

    posted By Jon Barry of


  • happy


  • lakshmi


  • J wales

    Word, Very inspiring

  • Reply

    Just what truly motivated you to compose “Inspiring “Never Give Up” Stories”?
    Iabsolutely loved it! Thank you -Chassidy

  • Reply

    What exactly really moved you to compose “Inspiring “Never Give Up” Stories”?

    I actuallyreally adored the blog post! Thanks ,Lorie

  • Tennyson

    You are one in a million Bruce. You have taken The Law of Attraction to a new level. You are the best in the business. What an inspiration. You do not hesitate to share valuable ways to realize ones full potential and destiny. Thank you very much. Keep up the good work. Tennyson

  • Michael

    If you would like to grow your know-how only keep visiting this web page and be updated with the most recent information posted here.

  • Surfing

    After I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked on the
    -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a
    comment is added I receive four emails with the
    exact same comment. There has to be a way you can remove me from that service?

  • manas

    awesome collection for on such a sensational topics thanks a lot

  • betty banham

    like the philosophy and view points.

  • Nhlanhla

    Thank you for the inspiration you give me,I’m really grateful. My greatest wish right now is to attend one of your summits which I’m confident ill be doing soon please keep me posted.

  • balathevar

    thank you for u r inspiration

  • David Pennefather

    This is truely inspiring Bruce, thanks so much for sharing it with us! It is so true that we only fail when we give up! Keep the wisdom coming – is is very much appreciated…especially in these times of doom and gloom. We need this now more than ever! Thanks again!



  • Emrick Garam

    Sylvester STALLONE was turned down by several studios because he could not speak clearly. They were interested by his script though. But he wanted to play the part of Rocky. the story: Stallone saw the Muhammad Ali–Chuck Wepner fight, which inspired the foundation idea of Rocky. That night Stallone went home, and after three days,[18] 20 straight hours[14] he had written the script for Rocky. After that, he tried to sell the script with the intention of playing the lead role.[10] Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler in particular liked the script. Stallone was offered increasingly larger fees to sell the script and allow a different actor to star in the film, but he turned the offers down until the studio agreed to let Stallone himself play the role.[10] Rocky was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay nominations for Stallone. The film went on to win the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Directing (source:
    When we completed the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book, it was turned down by thirty-three publishers in New York and another ninety at the American… Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling co-authors Their books were translated … There are now over 100 million copies in print and in 54 languages worldwide.
    Hear hear, Authors and Actors!

  • Lulama Ranelo

    Thank you Bruce. It feels like the wind beneath my wings.

  • Banna

    Amazing!! I’ve been trying for 4 years to get my dream going and evidently Im not giving up, was almost I tell you.

  • Rahul Hajare

    I was feeling terrible after failing by professional accountancy exams and loosing my dream job after reaching up to the final interview stage. But I just saw all these people would not have been so great without experiencing a failure.

  • april

    Thank you so much Mr. Bruce you help me for so many things.. God Bless you

  • trevor nyasha mpupuni

    thank you so much, Bruce

  • rai

    Never give up!! Thanks Bruce! I really need this encouragement! =)

  • Mrs James

    Thank you but I am put off by the reference to Woody Allen as I would not consider him a role model in fact I cant post here what I would like say about his behaviour…
    Maybe you could use Russell Brand and David Icke also Gareth Icke as Good examples of never giving up as all three of these men are Good People who have overcome obstacles to get the outcome they want…

  • harrison

    Thanks so much, Bruce.

  • Romano

    I will never give up, I refuse to be moved by circumstances, by what I see and by the negative statements I get from people! Thank You.

  • Julie-Anne

    Never give up, I know, but its hard when things are falling apart around you.

  • Kim P Jones

    Thank you for these inspirational rights of passage. I will look upon them when I lack insight

  • Michelle

    I found this quite by accident looking for something else, due to a server upgrade. Thank you very much for the inspiration. I will definitely share this with my students!

  • Shosh

    Thank you so much for your inspiring message. I’ll cherish it and NEVER GIVE UP!

  • Rosie West

    Thanks for building my confidence, this is just what I need to remind me that I must get off of my assets and finish my goals.

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