Notable FailuresHistory is full of examples . . .
Creative and imaginative people are often not recognized by their contemporaries. Even more often, their abilities are not recognized by their teachers or employers.
Albert EinsteinEinsteins parents thought he was retarded. He spoke haltingly until he was nine, and after that he answered questions only after laboring in thought about them. He was advised by a teacher to drop out of high school.
Youll never amount to anything, Einstein
Isaac NewtonIsaac Newton did poorly in grade school and was allowed to continue only because he failed at running the family farm.
If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.-- Sir Isaac Newton
Ludwig von BeethovenBeethovens music teacher once said of him, As a composer, he is hopeless.
Every real creation of art is independent, more powerful than the artist himself and returns to the Divine through its manifestation. It is one with man only in this, that it bears testimony to the mediation of the Divine in him. - Beethoven, in a letter to Goethe
Thomas EdisonWhen Thomas Edison was a boy, his teachers told him he was too stupid to learn anything.
F.W. WoolworthF.W. Woolworth got a job in a dry goods store when he was 21, but his employers would not let him wait on customers because he didnt have enough sense.
Walt DisneyA newspaper editor fired Walt Disney, claiming he had no good ideas.Were not trying to entertain the critics. Ill take my chances with the public.-- Walt Disney
Enrico CarusoCarusos music teacher told him, You cant sing. You have no voice at all.I was often hungry, but never unhappy.-- Enrico Caruso
Leo TolstoyLeo Tolstoy flunked out of college."I am convinced that nothing has so marked an influence on the direction of a man's mind as his appearance, and not his appearance itself so much as his conviction that it is attractive or unattractive."from Boyhood
Wernher von BraunVon Braun flunked ninth grade algebra.At ten years of age, von Braun decided his goal in life would be to help turn the wheel of time.
Dr. Von Braun also worked with Disney Studios as a technical director for three television films about Space Exploration. Over the years, von Braun continued his work with Disney, hoping that Disneys involvement would bring about greater public interest in the future of the space program.
Admiral Richard E. ByrdAdmiral Byrd had been retired from the navy as unfit for service until he flew over both Poles.When Richard E. Byrd contemplated the vast unexplored regions of the South Pole and the Antarctic, a land thought only to be bleak, barren, and forbidding to most, he saw a place of promise. Byrd envisioned a spot that God had set aside as mans future an inexhaustible reservoir of natural resources.
Louis PasteurLouis Pasteur was rated as mediocre in chemistry when he attended the Royal College.There is no known circumstance in which it can be confirmed that microscopic beings came into the world without germs, without parents similar to themselves, he concluded, in 1864.
Chance favors the prepared mind. -- Louis Pasteur
Abraham LincolnHe failed as a business man - as a storekeeper. He failed as a farmer - he despised this work. He failed in his first attempt to obtain political office. When elected to the legislature, he failed when he sought the office of speaker. He failed in his first attempt to go to Congress. He failed when he sought the appointment to the United States Land Office. He failed when he ran for the United States Senate. He failed when friends sought for him the nomination for the Vice-Presidency in 1856
He was elected President.
Louisa May AlcottLouisa May Alcott was told by an editor that she could never write anything that would have popular appeal.Life is my college. May I graduate well, and earn some honors!~Louisa May Alcott
Winston ChurchillWinston Churchill failed sixth grade.
"We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields, and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender!" Speech about Dunkirk given in House of Commons June 4, 1940.
Charles DarwinDarwins father said to his son, You will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection. -- Charles Darwin from The Origin of Species
Henry FordHenry Ford barely made it through high school.Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal. -- Henry Ford
Pablo PicassoPicasso was pulled out of school at age ten because he was doing so poorly. A tutor hired by Picassos father gave up on the young artist.
Leonardo da VinciThe machines of the worlds greatest inventor, Leonardo da Vinci, were never built, and many would not have worked.Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory. Leonardo da Vinci
Edwin LandLands attempts at instant movies (Polarvision) failed completely. He described his efforts as trying to use an impossible chemistry and a nonexistent technology to make an unmanufacturable product for which there was no discernable demand.
Oscar HammersteinAfter the success of the show South Pacific, composer Oscar Hammerstein put an ad in Variety that listed over a dozen of his failures. At the bottom of the ad, he repeated the credo of show business: I did it before and I can do it again.
Joe PaternoAsked once about how he felt when his team lost a game, Joe Paterno replied that losing was probably good for them since that was how the players learned what they were doing wrong."Money alone will not make you happy. Success without honor is an unseasoned dish. It will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good."
Charles GoodyearCharles Goodyear bungled an experiment and discovered vulcanized rubber. In one of the most celebrated accidents in scientific history, a patch of his sulphur and rubber gum mixture landed on a hot stove, and when Goodyear scraped it off the stove, his eyes lit up.
Robert PirsigPirsigs best-selling book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, was rejected by 121 publishers.It is a puzzling thing. The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.
Spike LeeSpike Lee applied for graduate study at the top film schools in the country. Due to his scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), both schools turned him down.
Jaime EscalanteEscalante is a nationally known educator and the subject of the film Stand and Deliver. When he first tried to get a teaching job in California, the state refused to accept his credentials from Bolivia.