Successful People Who Just Didn’t Quit


‘Never, never, never give up.’
– Winston Churchill


He was already in his mid-60s.

His business has waned due to a new highway that snatched traffic away from his restaurant.

All that’s left is a small house, an old car and a recipe for fried chicken that he had created .

And he was broke.

But he decided to do something about it. Not just half-hearted efforts. He took MASSIVE ACTION.

He travelled across the US by car from restaurant to restaurant to market his chicken recipe to the owners. In exchange for the recipe, he asked for a royalty payment on each chicken the restaurant sold.

But his proposition was turned down. Not just once or twice. In fact, over 1000 restaurant owners rejected him!

Finally, he made a breakthrough. He got a ‘yes’.

Fast forward a decade later, there are over 600 franchised outlets selling chicken with his recipe across the United States and Canada.

His name is Harland David Sanders. We know him today as Colonel Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.


He didn’t quit, despite the countless setbacks. He persisted. The concept sounds simple but it ain’t easy to do.


Sometimes, we might think of quitting.

  1. Leaving that job with really no plans in mind.
  2. Abandoning plans to start that business that we often dream about.
  3. Forsaking our new year resolutions to save an extra dollar each day, lose an extra kilogram etc.

Here’s a list of people who found success because besides their gut or wit, they just DIDN’T give up. Hopefully their stories will spur some of us to keep going. I know I need that myself.



Bill Gates’ first business failed


A Harvard dropout, Gates ran a small company in his early days called Traf-O-Data and sold a computer to the city of Seattle that could count city traffic. But the venture failed.

The rest is history.


Donald Trump’s companies filed for bankruptcy 4 times


The real estate mogul rebounded time and again after each corporate bankruptcy, and he’s a billionaire today.

Trump recently said that he is thinking about running for US presidency in 2016. He can probably afford to fund the entire campaign on his own.



Richard Branson had more than 10 failed businesses


Virgin Cola, Virgin Vodka and Virgin Clothing are just some of the failed businesses he ran.

An entrepreneur with a knack of taking on the big boys in the industry, he also founded the successful Virgin Atlantic, battling the giant British Airways in the process.

He also owns a private island which rental fee per night can trump many people’s annual salaries.


Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times at inventing the light bulb


His teachers told him in school that he was too silly. He was also fired from his first two jobs for being unproductive.

I guess he was immune to rejection and setbacks, to stop at nothing to design the light bulb that changed the world.



Soichiro Honda was rejected by Toyota


Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation for an engineering position and was left jobless for some time.

He started making his own scooters from home, and finally started Honda Motor Company.

He couldn’t join the company he wanted, and went on to create one that others would want to join.


Masaru Ibuka & Akio Morita’s first Sony product was a flunk


Sony’s first product was a rice cooker that simply either over-cooked or under-cooked rice. This first setback didn’t stop them as they moved on to build a Fortune 500 company.

The company’s current slogan is make.believe.


Henry Ford’s early businesses failed


The innovative car maker went through multiple failures before he before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company based on the assembly-line production method.

One of my favourite quotes from him is “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs”.



Winston Churchill was defeated in the elections for public office countless times

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He struggled in school and failed the sixth grade. He was defeated in electoral campaigns many times till becoming the Prime Minister of UK at 62 years of age, leading and inspiring Britain through WWII.

Some wise words from him: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”



Albert Einstein didn’t speak till he was four


A late bloomer, Einstein was believed to be intellectually challenged by teachers and was expelled/rejected from schools. But the time came when he bloomed, and modern physics was never the same after Einstein’s contributions.

Just to sidetrack, he was pretty humourous too: “The difference between genius and stupidity is; genius has its limits.”



Steven Spielberg could not get into his desired film school


He was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times.

But he went to on be one of the world’s most popular and influential filmmakers, winning Academy Awards and picking up multiple box office records.

Forbes puts Spielberg’s wealth at USD$3.3 billion.



Oprah Winfrey was fired as a television reporter

Deemed unsuitable for TV, Oprah battled numerous hardships before establishing herself as one of the most influential faces on television.

She boasts a net worth of USD$2.3B. She has also earned the No.1 spot on Forbes List of the Most Powerful Celebrities.


Charlie Chaplin was initially turned down by Hollywood


His act was initially rejected by Hollywood studio executives as they believed it won’t have commercial value.

But he was eventually given a chance, and Chaplin went on to become a huge movie star.

Here’s a famous line from him: “Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself”.



Harrison Ford was told that he didn’t possess ‘star quality’

He was criticized In his first film. Given roles he wasn’t happy with. Ford also often came to movie auditions directly from his day job, still wearing his carpenter’s clothes and gear in his early days.

But he went on to feature in Star Wars and Indiana Jones, becoming one of the top-grossing actors of all time. Take that.


Marilyn Monroe was advised to be a secretary


Modelling agents were not convinced that she could succeed in modelling. She was fired by her first Hollywood studio. When her first husband told her to stop modelling, Monroe divorced him to pursue her career, which was an uncommon thing to do in the 1940s.

She persisted, becoming a highly popularly model, actress, and became a household name up to today.


Elvis Presley was told to return to truck-driving



The best-selling musician was fired by a manager of a concert show (Grand Ole Opry) after just one performance when he was a teenager.

His infusion of rhythm and blues didn’t cut it on a country music show.



The Beatles were denied by a recording company



One of the greatest bands were told by a record producer that their sound wasn’t great and guitar music is on the downhill. But we all knew better.

Even today, many successful bands including Oasis cites The Beatles as having had a major influence on their music.


Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team


He went home and cried after news of the cut.

In an interview years later, he said of the rejection. “It was good because it made me know what disappointment felt like,” he said. “And I knew that I didn’t want to have that feeling ever again.

Jordan also stated in another interview: “You will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.


Simon Cowell’s record company went bust

Cowell said: “I’ve had many failures. The biggest were at times when I believed my own hype. I’d had smaller failures, signing bands that didn’t work, but my record company going bust, that was the first big one”. After declaring bankrupt, he moved back home to his parents’.

But his love for the entertainment industry never changed, and he subsequently made a net worth of $400m from it.

Keep going, Don’t give up 🙂


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6 thoughts on “Successful People Who Just Didn’t Quit

  1. That’s why I’m not giving up or my POODZ shorts designed….oh there umique,sassy,fun dress up or ukanwachuku@yahoo,com

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