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10 Wildly Successful People on How They View Failure

Source | Fortune : By Jared Lindzon

‘It’s fine to celebrate success, but it’s more important to heed the lessons of failure.’

Whether you’re an author, an entrepreneur or a musician, the road to success is often paved with rejection and failure. The difference between those who succeed and those fail comes down to whether or not they choose to rise above the criticism and soldier on.

One success story that was certainly not without its bumps in the road is that of J.K. Rowling, who let everyone know that even she, the world’s first billionaire author, did not reach her current level of success before receiving a few rejection letters along the way. She tweeted them to her followers this morning along with a few notes of encouragement, such as “I wasn’t going to give up until every single publisher turned me down, but I often feared that would happen.”

Failure is often a critical ingredient on the path to success. There are many wildly successful people who can prove it:


Stephen King


J.K. Rowling wasn’t the only bestselling author who thrived on rejection. In his biographical writing guide, On Writing:A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King admits that in his early days as a writer he held onto a similar pile of rejections slips from publishers. Early in his career he would stack these slips on a nail hanging above his bed for motivation. “By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it,” he wrote. “I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”

Donna Karan

Happy Hearts Fund 10 Year Anniversary Of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Tribute - ArrivalsBrad Barket — Getty Images

The fashion icon that brought the world “7 Easy Pieces” in the ‘80s and the first two initials behind the DKNY fashion empire also had somewhat of a rocky start to her career. While studying at the prestigious Parsons School of Design, Karan struggled with some of the basics. “They never thought I would make it as a designer,” she told CBS News in 2010. “I failed draping!”

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