March 12, 2015 | 4 minutes

Famous Business People Who Turned Failures into Success

By Nathan Strum

Although failure is foreseeable, there is not much training given to cope or fight through the tough times.  To a western society, a business failure might be one of the worst things to happen.  You invest not only money but also immeasurable time into your company or product while the risk is high. Usually, when we think we hit rock bottom, we are just on the brink of success.  With the amount of setbacks you may be going through or recent failures, the feelings of discouragement are almost inherent, but keep in mind of the many successful entrepreneurs who failed right before they hit it big.

Steve Jobs on being fired

Responsible for making Apple the success it is today, Steve Jobs was actually fired from Apple Computers.  He was forced out of the company he revolutionized. During a commencement speech at Stanford University, Jobs noted how being fired from a stevejobscompany he devoted his entire adult life to was a very public failure for him. Regardless, he recognizes the importance of that failure, “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The Heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything.  It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

Joanne Lang on learning from mistakes

Founder and CEO of aboutone.com, Joanne was a first-time entrepreneur that learned that it is actually important to feel like you are failing. She notes, “I also had to learn that if you are not feeling the emotion of failing, you are not trying enough new things or stretching yourself as far as you can. This can be emotionally tough so you need a set of advisors around you that believe in you and support you no matter what. Finding those advisors is key to success, and it’s their support that will keep you moving forward. I had to learn that my greatest failure could be not aiming high enough or not trying in the first place”

Steven Spielberg on being rejected

Steven Spielberg, notable for films such as Jaws, E.T . and Jurassic Park, was rejected three times by the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Currently, his worth is over $1 billion to his production company, Dreamworks. Regardless of being rejected by his C average, Spielberg challenged the common thought and worked towards his degree. He did not buy into the feelings of discouragement; rather he had confidence and perseverance which later earned him an honorary degree from USC.

Arianna Huffington on failure

Cofounder of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, saw her failures as stepping stones towards success. She learned to not dread failure but to embrace what it has to offer. She notes, “”I failed, many times in my life. One failure that I always remember was when my second book was rejected by 36 publishers.” She then adds, “I strongly believe that we are not put on this Earth just to accumulate victories and trophies and avoid failures; but rather to be whittled and sandpapered down until what’s left is who we truly are.”

The key thing to learn from setbacks, rejection or failures is that your attitude is fundamental. Your approach to a situation is what determines whether you learn from a failure or whether you let it hold you back. Thinking differently, approaching situations in different ways, trying new methods and having persistence are all characteristics that successful business people have.

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