• thumbs down

When people tell you it’s not going to work …

… or you’re not cut out for it …

ignore them.

(especially if they have not achieved success by your definition of success and if you know this is what you want to do.  If you’re not sure of what you want, go here.)

Now if people are telling you to quit, great news, you’re not alone. Here is a running list of successful people who were told they wouldn’t make it either:

  • Walt Disney, Animator and Founder of Disney
    • Former employer thought “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.
  • Oprah Winfrey, Talkshow Host
    • Fired as a tv reporter because she was “unfit for TV
  • Fred Astaire, Actor and Dancer
    • Testing director at MGM – “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.
  • Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO
    • Business partners didn’t think Americans would pay for lattes and cappuccinos
  • JK Rowlings, Writer (Harry Potter Series)
    • Rejected by 12 different publishers and told “not to quit her day job.
  • Elvis Presley, Singer – “King of Pop”
    • Told by the manager at Grand Ole Opry -“You ain’t going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck.
  • Sidney Poitier, Oscar-winning Actor
    • Casting director – “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?
  • Stephen King, Writer
    • 30 rejections for Carrie, the book that launched his career
  • Vincent Van Gogh, Painter
    • Sold only one painting during his lifetime
  • Colonel Sanders, Founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken
    • Recipe rejected 1009 times
  • Beatles, Music Band
    • Record executive -“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out“; “They have no future in show business.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, Writer
    • Book review headline for The Great Gatsby -“Fitzgerald’s Latest A Dud.
  • Michael Jordan, Basketball Player
    • Didn’t make high school basketball team
  • Anderon Cooper, CNN Anchor
    • From previous colleagues in TV – “You’ll never be on air.“; “You’ll never be hired as a correspondent here.
    • “Okay, so you are working for this little show that’s seen in high schools, but you’ll never get a job at a network”
  • Graydon Carter, Editor of Vanity Fair
    • From a former boss – “Look, everyone really likes you, and you’re a wonderful person, but you’ll never make it in the magazine business. Maybe you should think about going into ad sales?”
  • Arianna Huffington, Founder of Huffington Post
    • Skeptics – “A millionaire socialite who didn’t get the web.“; “this is simply unsurvivable.
  • Thomas Edison, Inventor
    • His teacher – “too stupid to learn anything.
  • Frank Geary, Architect
    • From a former architecture professor – “You will never make it in this field. Get out now or you’re just going to waste a lot of time.”
  • Amy Tan, Writer
    • Her former business partner – “You’ll never make a dime writing.
  • Fred Smith, Founder of FedEx (shipping company)
    • His professor on his idea of reliable overnight shipping – “The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C’, the idea must be feasible.
  • Dr. Judah Folkman, Cancer Research Pioneer
    • His fellow scientists on his research – “You’re studying dirt.

Others who have been told they wouldn’t make it (without naysayer quotes):

  • Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin
  • Bruce Springsteen, Singer – “The Boss”
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bodybuilder, Actor, Politician
  • Maxine Clark, Founder of “Build-A-Bear”
  • Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx
  • John Paul Dejoria, Founder of John Paul Mitchell and Patron Spirits
  • WD-40took 40 tries to perfect the formula.


“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there will always be someone to tell you that you are wrong.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson


Inspired by individual biographies, articles and Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal.

Bonus: And if you end up failing …

Source: OnlineMBAToday.com

Photo by hobvias sudoneighm

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2017-08-23T22:49:36+00:00 By |High Performance, Mission|Comments Off on When people tell you it’s not going to work …