Steve Jobs famously said in his 2005 Stanford commencement address that “getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.” Though many wouldn’t necessarily share that sentiment, there is opportunity in every situation. Jobs went on to tell the new graduates that his dismissal also removed the immense pressure he felt to be successful; and ultimately led to what he calls “one of the most creative periods of my life.”
The late, great innovator wasn’t the only one to rise from the ashes of a very public “failure.” Business Insider recently recounted 17 other creators, entrepreneurs, entertainers and professionals of all shapes and sizes who found opportunity in failure and kept going in the aftermath of defeat. While many might have thrown in the towel after such rejection, these individuals persevered and, in the process, changed history and their given professions for the better.
If you’ve experienced a recent failure, firing or rejection, know that it’s not the end of the road. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re talentless or in the wrong line of work. It may simply mean that you and the other party aren’t compatible. And that’s okay. Just like the dating world, not everyone is an ideal match. There truly is opportunity in failure.
Below are a few of the standout successes mentioned by Business Insider who experienced failure early on.
- Walt Disney was fired from a Kansas newspaper because his editor said he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”
- A television producer in Baltimore pulled Oprah Winfrey off the evening news because he felt she got too emotionally invested in her stories
- Bill Belichick was fired from his first head coaching job with the Cleveland Browns. He went on to win the NFL Coach of the Year award. Three times
- Elvis was branded talentless by the manager of the Grand Ole Opry after one performance. The soon-to-be-superstar was told he should go back to driving trucks.