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10 Example Of Successful People By Patrick Wanis

Persistence - 10 Examples of Famous People Who Succeeded
Persistence – 10 Examples of Famous People Who Succeeded

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal examples of 10 famous people who used persistence for success.

First a quick update:

“Use This to Get What You Want”
Mary Kay Ash who founded Mary Kay Cosmetics, the cosmetics empire that helped to empower and inspire millions of women, said “There are two things people want more than sex and money…” Do you know what they are?

“How to escape from the Victim, Rescuer & Persecutor”
Is there someone in your life who is a victim, rescuer or persecutor? Are you one of them? How can you stop the game, stop the behavior and the drama triangle? Watch the video! 

Now, let’s talk about examples of 10 famous people who used persistence for success.

The dictionary defines persistence as firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. Simply put, persistence refers to not giving up in spite of failures.

“That which we persist in doing becomes easy to do; not that the nature of the thing has changed, but that our power to do has increased.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here are 10 examples of famous people who became successful due to their persistence. Can you identify the one thing they all share beyond persistence?

1. Jim Carrey was booed off stage
It was his first comic stand-up at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club in Toronto, when Jim Carrey presented his impersonations and was booed off stage. In 1980, he auditioned for Saturday Night Live and was rejected. Carrey didn’t give up on his passion to make people laugh and he persisted to become one of the world’s highest paid actors and most famous comedians.

2. Eminem struggled with bullying, drugs, poverty and lack of education
He was a high school dropout who persisted beyond the drugs and bullying and early rejection of his father: Marshall Bruce Mathers III aka Eminem is an American rapper and record producer, ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as one of The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and winner of 13 Grammy Awards!

3. Kathryn Stockett was rejected by 60 literary agents
Kathryn Stockett is the author of “The Help”, which has sold over ten million copies and was turned into a movie.

Stockett spent five years writing the novel and was persistent in spite of being rejected by 60 literary agents before agent Susan Ramer agreed to represent her.

4. Thomas J. Watson was conned and had no money, investment or job
On one occasion, Thomas J. Watson got drunk in a roadside saloon only to find his horse, buggy, and samples had been stolen. He swore off alcohol. Watson suffered more setbacks: a few years later he was conned by a huckster, and later he opened a butcher shop, which failed, leaving him with no money, no investment, and no job. Watson was persistent and eventually became chairman and CEO of IBM and helped grow the company into an international force from 1914 to 1956.

5. J.K. Rowling was jobless, divorced, lived off welfare
In 1993, Rowling’s marriage ended in divorce and with just three chapters of Harry Potter completed, Rowling was jobless, divorced, penniless, and with a dependent child. Her situation was so dire that Rowling went on government-assisted welfare.

Two years later her Harry Potter script was rejected by all 12 major publishers. Rowling persisted and a year later, a small publisher gave her a tiny advance of £1500 and published just 1000 copies of her book.

Rowling has sold more than 400 million copies of her Harry Potter books.

“I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.”
– Albert Einstein

6. Nelson Mandela served 27 years in prison
From age 25 Nelson Mandela was an activist for equality and justice. While spending 27 years in prison, Mandela never gave up on his fight for freedom and equality. When he was eventually released he became President of South Africa and ended Apartheid – a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation.

7. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team
He was cut from his high school basketball team and told he wasn’t any good. Michael Jordan persisted and went on to become the greatest basketball player of all time.

“I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how many times you failed,” Cuban says. “You only have to be right once. I tried to sell powdered milk. I was an idiot lots of times, and I learned from them all.”
Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks

8. Steven Spielberg got rejected from film school three times
Steven Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times and still he didn’t give up on education or filmmaking.

Spielberg eventually was accepted by another school but he dropped out to become a movie director. Thirty-five years later he returned to school to finally complete his work and earn his BA.

9. Elvis Presley was fired after his first performance
In 1954, Elvis performed for the first time at the Grand Ole Opry in Tennessee. Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis after just one performance and said to him, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

Elvis went on to become the best-selling artist of all time, second only to The Beatles who were also rejected in their early career and told that they, too, had no future.

“The art of love is largely the art of persistence.” – Albert Ellis

10. Colonel Sanders slept in his car and was told “No” 1009 times
Colonel Sanders, founder of KFC, was 65 when he decided he would sell his fried chicken recipe. Sanders drove around the US knocking on doors, sleeping in his car, wearing his white suit. At age 90, in 1964, Sanders sold Kentucky Fried Chicken to a group of investors for $2 million ($15.3 million today.)

Did you identify the one thing that these successful people all share beyond persistence?


Each person had a passion and used persistence to realize their goals and dreams!

If you need assistance to be let go of the past, to be more open to love, to improve your relationship or overcome some other challenge, book a one-on-one session with me.

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If you need assistance to become more persistent, overcome an issue, strengthen your relationship, build self-esteem or free yourself from a past event, book a one-on-one session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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