Another Famously Successful People Who Failed at First Not everyone whos on top today got there with success after success. More often than not, those who history best remembers were faced with numerous obstacles that forced them to work harder and show more determination than others. Next time youre feeling down about your failures in college or in a career, keep these fifty famous people in mind and remind yourself that sometimes failure is just the first step towards success. Business Gurus These businessmen and the companies they founded are today known around the world, but as these stories show, their beginnings werent always smooth. 2. R. H. Macy: Most people are familiar with this large department store chain, but Macy didnt always have it easy. Macy started seven failed business before finally hitting big with his store in New York City. 3. F. W. Woolworth: Some may not know this name today, but Woolworth was once one of the biggest names in department stores in the U.S. Before starting his own business, young Woolworth worked at a dry goods store and was not allowed to wait on customers because his boss said he lacked the sense needed to do so. 4. Soichiro Honda: The billion-dollar business that is Honda began with a series of failures and fortunate turns of luck. Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation for a job after interviewing for a job as an engineer, leaving him jobless for quite some time. He started making scooters of his own at home, and spurred on by his neighbors, finally started his own business. 5. Akio Morita: You may not have heard of Morita but youve undoubtedly heard of his company, Sony. Sonys first product was a rice cooker that unfortunately didnt cook rice so much as burn it, selling less than 100 units. This first setback didnt stop Morita and his partners as they pushed forward to create a multi-billion dollar company. 6. Bill Gates: Gates didnt seem like a shoe-in for success after dropping out of Harvard and starting a failed first business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data. While this early idea didnt work, Gates later work did, creating the global empire that is Microsoft. 7. Harland David Sanders: Perhaps better known as Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, Sanders had a hard time selling his chicken at first. In fact, his famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it. 8. Walt Disney: Today Disney rakes in billions from merchandise, movies and theme parks around the world, but Walt Disney himself had a bit of a rough start. He was fired by a newspaper editor because, he lacked imagination and had no good ideas. After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didnt last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. He kept plugging along, however, and eventually found a recipe for success that worked. Scientists and Thinkers These people are often regarded as some of the greatest minds of our century, but they often had to face great obstacles, the ridicule of their peers and the animosity of society. 9. Albert Einstein: Most of us take Einsteins name as synonymous with genius, but he didnt always show such promise. Einstein 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 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, but most people would agree that he caught on pretty well in the end, winning the Nobel Prize and changing the face of modern physics. 10. Charles Darwin: In his early years, Darwin gave up on having a medical career and was often chastised by his father for being lazy and too dreamy. Darwin himself wrote, I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect. Perhaps they judged too soon, as Darwin today is well-known for his scientific studies. 11. Robert Goddard: Goddard today is hailed for his research and experimentation with liquid-fueled rockets, but during his lifetime his ideas were often rejected and mocked by his scientific peers who thought they were outrageous and impossible. Today rockets and space travel dont seem far-fetched at all, due largely in part to the work of this scientist who worked against the feelings of the time. 12. Isaac Newton: Newton was undoubtedly a genius when it came to math, but he had some failings early on. He never did particularly well in school and when put in charge of running the family farm, he failed miserably, so poorly in fact that an uncle took charge and sent him off to Cambridge where he finally blossomed into the scholar we know today. 13. Socrates: Despite leaving no written records behind, Socrates is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the Classical era. Because of his new ideas, in his own time he was called an immoral corrupter of youth and was sentenced to death. Socrates didnt let this stop him and kept right on, teaching up until he was forced to poison himself. 14. Robert Sternberg: This big name in psychology received a C in his first college introductory psychology class with his teacher telling him that, there was already a famous Sternberg in psychology and it was obvious there would not be another. Sternberg showed him, however, graduating from Stanford with exceptional distinction in psychology, summa cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa and eventually becoming the President of the American Psychological Association. Inventors These inventors changed the face of the modern world, but not without a few failed prototypes along the way. 15. Thomas Edison: In his early years, teachers told Edison he was too stupid to learn anything. Work was no better, as he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Even as an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Of course, all those unsuccessful attempts finally resulted in the design that worked. 16. Orville and Wilbur Wright: These brothers battled depression and family illness before starting the bicycle shop that would lead them to experimenting with flight. After numerous attempts at creating flying machines, several years of hard work, and tons of failed prototypes, the brothers finally created a plane that could get airborne and stay there.