Everyone has their own dreams and ambitions in life, whether it be getting that promotion you’ve been working hard towards or starting your own business. Achieving your dreams can be difficult and life can throw many different obstacles in your way, but don’t get discouraged. Flicking through a magazine or watching the television, you’ll see endless individuals who have achieved their own success and the wealth that follows. Yes, some of these people have come from wealthy backgrounds but not all. Many well know entrepreneurs started out with next to nothing, only achieved their status and wealth today through dedication and hard work.
Take a look at the list below and be inspired by the 5 successes individuals and their stories.
J. K. Rowling
Everyone has likely heard of J. K. Rowling, even if you don’t really like her work, you most likely have heard of her. What you might not know is that she had to overcome a lot of obstacles and rejections in her life before she found success.
J. K. Rowling was born in Gloucestershire, England and since she was a child had a dream of being an author. She wrote her first story at the age of 6 years old and from then on knew it’s what she wanted to peruse. Her parents both came from un-wealthy backgrounds and Rowling felt like her writing wouldn’t pay the bills.
Rowling attended University studying French and graduated in 1986, after graduating she had a few different jobs such as working as a translator for Amnesty International and as a secretary. Rowling quotably said that these job roles didn’t suit her.
In 1990 J.K Rowling now a single mother started to write the book, Harry Potter, during five long years she came up with the plots for seven books, all handwritten in note form and longhand. She lived in a small flat in Edinburgh at this time and was unemployed living off government welfare, and frequently visited cafes to write her book “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone”. In 1995 Rowling sent the finished book off hoping for it be picked up, but was soundly rejected by many different publishers.
Instead of accepting defeat Rowling pushed and pushed her book and finally in 1997 a small publisher in London signed a deal. The deal was to print 500 copies of her first book “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone” and Rowling secured a £2,500 advance for the deal. The book was a huge hit, instead of the original deal of 500 books, 300,000 copies had been sold in the UK alone by 1999. It won many different awards and Rowling signed a seven-figure deal with Warner Bros who bought the film rights to turn the “Harry Potter” books into films. In 2011 it was named as the highest grossing movie franchise of all time.
Rowling started off her success story as a single mother on government funds and suffered many knockbacks and rejections. Despite this she carried on and succeeded and now has a personal net worth of one billion dollars (It was much more but she has donated so much of her earnings to charity).
Dr. Seuss is one of the most well-known names in children’s literature, and many people would have grown up reading his books such as “The Cat in the Hat. This was probably one of his most successful books, even having a movie created from it, but his books weren’t always appreciated.
Born in America, Theodor Seuss Geisel a.k.a Dr. Seuss wasn’t always a children's book author, originally serving in the army. In 1943 he served as commander in the department of animation. Early on in his career, he worked for numerous magazines, one being Humour magazine where instead of receiving a regular wage he would often be paid in goods such as shaving cream and nail clippers. His first magazine pitch was a cartoon to “The Saturday Evening Post”, this sold for $25. Even though it was a small amount of money, this gave Seuss the push and encouragement he needed that this could turn into something big, so he carried on and pursued his dreams of animation.
His first book was called “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”, this was refused by an astonishing 27 publishers, but he did not accept defeat. He carried on writing and illustrating and has produced over 60 books to this day. One of his most famous creations is the book “The Cat in the Hat”, which was actually created to help children to learn to read. He was challenged to write a book for children with 250 words, it was a huge success. In 2009, the book “Green Eggs and Ham” was published, selling 540,366 copies, these outsold the majority of the published children’s books at the time and his books are still incredibly popular as of today.
Sadly Dr. Seuss died of cancer in 1991, but even today his books have now sold over 600 million copies and have won multiple awards, including two academy awards, two Emmy awards, and a Peabody award. He has even had an award established in his name, the “Theodor Seuss Geisel Award”, this award is gifted to “the most distinguished American book or beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year”. As well as all of this Seuss has a star on the Hollywood walk of fame in Hollywood Boulevard which many of his fans pay visits to. Dr. Seuss work has helped change the lives and education of many young children and entertain thousands of people across the years and will continue too even after his death, his success will not be forgotten.
As Dr. Seuss said himself “And you will succeed? Yes, you will Indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed).
Steven Spielberg is an American filmmaker, he is thought of to be one of the founding pioneers of the new Hollywood era of film, but it didn’t start out this way. He was born in Ohio, he had a strong interest and passion for film since a young age. At the age of 12, he created his first home movie and continued making them in high school. When Spielberg was 16, he wrote and directed his first independent film called “Firelight”, it cost his father $500 but earned the money back from a one evening viewing in a local Cinema.
He was rejected form his dream school, the University of California of Cinematic Arts multiple times, but this did not stop him. Instead, he went to California State University and when he was here, he landed an unpaid internship at Universal Studios doing editing. He was giving the opportunity to create a short film for theatrical release. The film went on to be a success, winning multiple awards, this then led to a 7-year directing contract. This made him the youngest (21 years old) director within the big Hollywood studios to sign a long-term contract.
Once he had gotten his foot in the doors of Hollywood, he refused to let them shut, and Spielberg went on to direct movies such as “Jaws”, “E.T the Extra-Terrestrial”, “Indiana Jones” and Jurassic Park” just to name a few. His success has become incredible, he is now one of the industries most successful filmmakers and has won the Academy Award for Best Director twice. Even today some of his movies like “Saving Private Ryan” are some of the highest-grossing movies of all time. Steven Spielberg started off working unpaid gigs to gain experience and he is now estimated to have a net worth of more than $3 billion, a star on the walk of fame, knighted by the Queen of England and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
One of the most popular names in the tv industry is Oprah Winfrey, she was born into a very poor family in rural Mississippi. Her family couldn’t afford her clothes most of the time so had to wear potato sacks as clothing. Following in her Grandmothers footsteps, she studied the bible and often attended church. Here she would recite poems and verses from the bible, she was very comfortable with public speaking from an early age.
Oprah had a very hard start to life, growing up in a poor neighbourhood and being passed to live between mother and father. She was sexually abused by multiple family members and became pregnant at 14 years of age, but the baby sadly died shortly after birth. Oprah did not let any of this tear her down or dampen her spirit. During high school, she was rehearsing with her drama class when she was spotted by a local radio station and offered her a job reading on the news. While she was at University, she was offered a job at CBS as a co-anchor. She moved to Maryland, where she worked as a reporter but was fired not too long after being hired.
Her boss gave her a chance at being a talk show host on a morning television show called “People are talking”, the show was a huge success and she hosted for 7 years until moving on to new work. Oprah sent a recording of the morning show to a talk-show in Chicago called “A.M Chicago”, they loved her work so much that they hired her straight away and even changed the name of the show to the show we all know and love today, “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. “The Oprah Winfrey Show” soon became a huge hit, appealing to all genders and types of people due to the controversial topics spoken about on the show. The show and Oprah herself have received several awards including an achievement award from the national academy of television arts and sciences, a Humanitarian award and the first female African-American to host a television show.
From wearing potato sacks as clothing, to have an estimated net worth of over two billion dollars, she has inspired millions of people and has become a beloved public figure.
Ralph Lauren was born Ralph Lifshitz in The Bronx, New York. His parents were Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants who had ran away from Belarus for a better life. He changed his last name to Lauren due to bullies at school teasing him. Before the start of his fashion career, Lauren studied business in college and then joined the Army for a short period of time.
The start of his fashion career actually began with a job on sales in men’s clothing stores. In 1967, he started designing his own rage of neckties with a wider cut and brighter colors and sold them under the name “polo”. These sold at many large department stores, but he did not have enough money to expand his business, so he took out a $30,000 loan. This loan helped him expand his designs to a full line of men’s clothing. Once his clothes started to become popular, he released new designs for men and woman. His most popular design was the polo shirt, which Lauren had the idea to design in a style that is normally only associated with men’s clothing. It was a risk but luckily turned into a huge success with polo being one of the most popular fashion brands available. His company now not only makes athletic and luxury clothing but also fragrances and home furnishings.
Now Ralph Lauren is seen as one of the most respected and successful designers in the business, has a staggering estimated net worth of $8.2 billion dollars and is listed in the 200 richest people in the world.
Success is not something that’s just achieved overnight, it takes hard work, a dream, and dedication. It might seem impossible at times, but it’s not. Had J.K Rowling given up on her dream because of all the rejections, we wouldn’t have the “Harry Potter” franchise that so many people love today. Go after your goals and yours may be the next story to inspire a generation.