‘’Never give up’’, is probably one of the most cliché phrases you will hear as you are building your career. But there is a reason these sayings are clichés—you never know when success really does lie around the next corner.
For our inspirational digest this week, we collected the following stories of famous celebrities who never gave up, including the Nigeria born Cosmas Maduka, Music producer Don Jazzy, and other some celebrities around the globe such as Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Opray Winfrey and so many others.
All these people are now household names, but they did not become one easily. Some lived in their cars, others suffered family abuse, and almost all encountered rejection after rejection professionally and personally, before finally landing a foot in the door. Read on and get inspired!
Cosmos Maduka –
The Nigerian businessman and founder of Coscharis Group dropped out of elementary school, got sacked from his job as an automobile apprentice, lost money to in an importation deal gone bad, but did not give up till he became successful.
Don Jazzy –
Famous music producer and record executive, Don Jazzy, dropped out of Ambrose Alli, University Ekpoma after his first year, he worked as a drummer and security guard in the UK, before becoming successful.
J.K. Rowling had just gotten a divorce, was on government aid, and could barely afford to feed her baby in 1994, just three years before the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, was published. When she was shopping it out, she was so poor she could not afford a computer or even the cost of photocopying the 90,000-word novel, so she manually typed out each version to send to publishers. It was rejected dozens of times until finally Bloomsbury, a small London publisher, gave it a second chance after the CEO’s eight-year-old daughter fell in love with it.
King was broke and struggling when he was first trying to write. He lived in a trailer with his wife—also a writer—and they both worked multiple jobs to support their family while pursuing their craft. They were so poor they had to borrow clothes for their wedding and had gotten rid of the telephone because it was too expensive.
King received so many rejection letters for his works that he developed a system for collecting them. In his book On Writing, he recalls: “By the time I was 14…the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and kept on writing.” He received 60 rejections before selling his first short story, “The Glass Floor,” for $35. Even his now best-selling book, Carrie, was not a hit at first. After dozens of rejections, he finally sold it for a meager advance to Doubleday Publishing, where the hardback sold only 13,000 copies—not great. Soon after, though, Signet Books signed on for the paperback rights for $400,000, $200,000 of which went to King. Success achieved!
Perry had a rough childhood. He was physically and sexually abused growing up, got kicked out of high school, and tried to commit suicide twice—once as a preteen and again at 22. At 23 he moved to Atlanta and took up odd jobs as he started working on his stage career.
In 1992 he wrote, produced, and starred in his first theater production, I Know I have Been Changed, somewhat informed by his difficult upbringing. Perry put all his savings into the show, and it failed miserably; the run lasted just one weekend and only 30 people came to watch. He kept up with the production, working more odd jobs and often slept in his car to get by. Six years later, Perry finally broke through when, on its seventh run, the show became a success. He is since gone on to have an extremely successful career as a director, writer, and actor. In fact, Perry was named Forbes’ highest paid man in entertainment in 2011.
Oprah’s dealt with a lot throughout her public life—criticism about her weight, racism, intrusive questions about her sexuality, just to name a few—but she never let it get in the way of her ambition and drive. When you look at her childhood, her personal triumphs are cast in an even more remarkable light.
Growing up, Oprah was reportedly a victim of sexual abuse and was repeatedly molested by her cousin, an uncle, and a family friend. Later, she became pregnant and gave birth to a child at age 14, who passed away just two weeks later. But Oprah persevered, going on to finish high school as an honors student, earning a full scholarship to college, and working her way up through the ranks of television, from a local network anchor in Nashville to an international superstar and creator of her OWN network (we couldn’t help ourselves).
We fear it! We detest it! Failure is a word which no one wants to be associated with. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things just do not go as planned. We experience challenges, setbacks and outright disappointments; however, it is important to know that failure itself is not a bad thing, but one’s negative attitude and response towards it.
These famous celebrities selected from across the globe, failed at first, or several times, but never gave up till they achieved their goals. They have clearly shown that failure is just a steppingstone and not the end of the road. Your situation may make you think that life throws nothing but lemons at you, but you alone can convert these lemons to lemonades.