Famous Flops!


Perseverance pays off. Just use these famous examples of flops to inspire perseverance. Mistakes are simply opportunities for learning.

  • Bill Gates dropped out of college. His first software company (Traf-O-Data) failed. He went on to create Microsoft and become a billionaire.
  • Theodor Geisel was an author. His first book was rejected 28 times, but he didn’t quit. He eventually sold more than 600 million books. You know him as Dr. Seuss.
  • Henry Ford loved building cars. He started a car factory, but it failed. Ford didn’t give up. He found investors to start a new company – Ford Motors.
  • K. Rowling was a poor, single mother when she wrote her first major book. It was rejected by 12 publishing houses. The book was “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
  • Katy Perry only sold 200 copies of her first album. She was dropped from two other recording labels. It took her 10 years before she recorded her first hit. She has now sold over 40 million albums.
  • Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job for being unfit for television. She went on to host the highest ranked national talk show.
  • Walt Disney was rejected from the army. He was fired for not being creative enough and his first company went bankrupt. He won 22 Academy Awards and is known as one of the most creative men of the century.
  • Michael Jordan did not make the varsity basketball team on his first try. He went on to win six championship basketball titles.
  • Elvis Presley’s first two records failed. He was rejected from a group because he “couldn’t sing.” It is estimated that more than one billion of his records have been sold.
  • Thomas Edison had many inventions, but he was determined to create a usable lightbulb. His designs failed more than 10,000 times. He is quoted as saying, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

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