Yes, failure, self-doubt, depression and anxiety all sound frightening, and they're awful to experience, but success in coping with them could change your life. We've all been there, we've all hit rock bottom and struggled to crawl back up to the surface and carry on — but I want to talk about how to dust yourself off and use failure to turn your life around. Failure shouldn't hold you back, it should inspire you.
I know this is easier said than done, and I know this has been spoken about before, but that doesn't mean the message has sunk in. It doesn't matter how many inspirational talks you listen to, or how many times you're told that you'll get over this and there are better things to come — failure still sucks and hurts like hell. This is just another post in an ocean of opinions and advice from other people, some of them much more qualified than I am to tell you what you should and shouldn't do — but heck, this is still worth writing. Think of what you're reading now as just another little reminder to keep you going, because that's what you have to do no matter what — just keep going and don't give up. The best thing to do when you have been hurt by failure is to remind yourself why you started working so hard to achieve your dream in the first place, and why you mustn't give up.
Still not convinced? These are 10 famous people who surprisingly encountered failure and overwhelming self-doubt when trying to achieve their dreams:
1. J.K. Rowling
J.K.'s story is a well known one, but so inspiring. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (or Sorcerer's Stone) took seven years to publish and was rejected several times. She started off as a penniless wannabe writer and turned into a millionaire whose sole life ambition came true. The Harry Potter books have sold more than 450 million copies and have been turned into movies that have sold more than £4.7 billion ($6.7 billion) at the box office. After this success, J.K. Rowling wrote a crime fiction novel under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith — and was rejected! The Cormoran Strike novels have been published and are being turned into a TV series.
2. Markus Zusak
Markus Zusak did a reading for his first novel in 1999 at a library, and no one showed up! Who'd have thought that the same author would go on to write The Book Thief! He thought that no one would read his book, yet it sold 8 million copies, has been translated into 40 languages, and has been turned into a film.
3. Stephen King
Stephen King threw his first book, Carrie, into the trash. That same book that he almost gave up on was sold for about $400,000 and there are currently three movie adaptations. His other books have also been turned into motion pictures or TV series: IT, The Shining, The Green Mile, Misery, Under The Dome, 11.22.63 — the list goes on!
4. Walt Disney
Who doesn't know Disney? His wonderful cartoons are now being turned into live-action movies; Maleficent, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and coming soon Beauty and the Beast. His creations are still well loved by millions. But before his success, Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas," according to his editor.
5. Oprah Winfrey
I love Oprah! Can you believe that she was fired and told she was too emotionally attached to her stories and not right for TV? The Oprah Winfrey Show became one of the highest ranking shows in American history.
6. Elvis Presley
Yes, even the king of rock and roll failed; he was told he would get nowhere and should return to his previous career driving a truck. He sold more than one billion records globally and still remains a music legend!
7. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga was dropped from a major record label after being signed for just three months. I bet she was devastated — but look at her now. She's even starred in an Emmy Award-winning TV show (American Horror Story).
8. Marilyn Monroe
Modeling agencies told her she should consider becoming a secretary when she tried to start her career. She appeared in 29 films and is still an icon today.
9. Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg was rejected from university three times, and dropped out of another school to pursue directing. Thank goodness he did!
10. Rudyard Kipling
An editor told Kipling he didn't know how to use the English language. His story The Jungle Book was a hit, turned into a Disney movie, and has now been turned into a live-action movie.
Need I go on?
You are going to encounter failure. You can't wallow in self-pity and allow failure to make you doubt yourself. Imagine what would have happened to these celebrities if they hadn't pursued their dreams, despite their failures. It would have been a lot of wasted talent, that's for sure.
So remember, don't let failure drag you down and stop you from fulfilling your life's ambition. Let it be the driving force to help you improve, be inspired and eventually succeed.
I hope this helps, and thanks for reading.