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Lessons From 13 People Who Failed Before They Succeeded

Oprah Winfrey. Steve Jobs. Walt Disney. The word “failure” doesn’t exactly come to mind when hearing these names. But before their respective breakthroughs as a media mogul, tech giant, and entertainment pioneer, they each struggled through missteps and setbacks that might have stopped someone even a little less determined from reaching for their goals.

Success is so rarely a linear path, and many celebrated people in history have faced discouragement and disappointment on their way to greatness. In fact, failure is often a crucial stepping stone on the road to success — the lessons it teaches and opportunity for growth are invaluable.

From renowned artists to business moguls to athletes and inventors, the following people all failed in different ways before they achieved their goals. Their accomplishments are testaments to the power of resilience and determination, and these quotes are an inspiring reminder to never give up.

All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.
Walt Disney

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If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance.
Orville Wright, aviation pioneer

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I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.
Steve Jobs

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Your life is not static. Every decision, every setback or triumph, is an opportunity to identify the seeds of truth that make you the wondrous human being that you are.
Oprah Winfrey

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A man watches his pear tree day after day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and the ripe pear at length falls into his lap.
Abraham Lincoln

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Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.
Stephen King

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The key is falling in love with something, anything. If your heart’s attached to it, then your mind will be attached to it.
Vera Wang

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I've missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
Michael Jordan

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A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.
Charles Darwin

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All good ideas start out as bad ideas. That’s why it takes so long.
Steven Spielberg

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Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
Thomas Edison

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Knowing what you can not do is more important than knowing what you can do. In fact, that's good taste.
Lucille Ball

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I learned that the moment you want to slow down is the moment you should accelerate.
James Dyson, inventor and entrepreneur

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Featured image credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/ Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

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About the Author
Nicole Villeneuve
Nicole is a writer, thrift store lover, and group-chat meme spammer based in Ontario, Canada.
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