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9 Inspirational Icons Who Never Gave Up

We all stumbled and fell as we learned to walk. It is our family and friends who encouraged us to “begin again” and keep trying. As we get older, self-doubt, insecurity, even ambivalence can settle in and sometimes we lose the lesson. When it’s not easy or gets uncomfortable, we often give up. Yet personal growth requires that we move beyond the comfort zone in order to keep growing.

Yoga and meditation teach us over and over again to keep trying and when necessary to acknowledge what’s done is done and “begin again.” 

The world’s greatest minds, inventors, scientists, leaders, visionaries and innovators all had to learn and apply the lesson of “beginning again.” Today let these 9 stories of persistent determination inspire you to stick with your efforts in spite of the detour. 

Michael Jordan

He was cut from his high school basketball team. Luckily, Jordan didn't let this setback stop him from playing the game and he has stated, "I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

Albert Einstein

Einstein did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven, causing his teachers and parents to think he was mentally handicapped, slow and anti-social. Eventually, he was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. He went on to win the Nobel Prize and changed the face of modern physics.

Thomas Edison

Teachers told Edison he was "too stupid to learn anything." Work was no better, as he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Even as an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.

Babe Ruth

You probably know Babe Ruth because of his home run record (714 during his career), but along with all those home runs came a pretty hefty amount of strikeouts as well (1,330 in all). In fact, for decades he held the record for strikeouts. When asked about this he simply said, "Every strike brings me closer to the next home run."

image via Wikimedia

Dr. Seuss

Today nearly every child has read The Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham, yet 27 different publishers rejected Dr. Seuss's first book To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.


Henry Ford

His early businesses failed and left him broke five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.

image via Wikimedia/LOC

Fred Astaire

In his first screen test, the testing director of MGM noted that Astaire, "Can't act. Can't sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little." Astaire went on to become an incredibly successful actor, singer and dancer and kept that note in his Beverly Hills home to remind him of where he came from.

Paulo Coelho

Coelho's famous book, The Alchemist, was first released by an obscure Brazilian publishing house which told him to give up. Needing to "heal" himself from this setback, Coelho set out to leave Rio de Janeiro with his wife and spent 40 days in the Mojave Desert. Returning from the excursion, Coelho decided he had to keep on struggling. For Coelho, he was so convinced it was a great book that he started knocking on doors.

Vincent Van Gogh

During his lifetime, Van Gogh sold only one painting, and this was to a friend and only for a very small amount of money. While Van Gogh was never a success during his life, he plugged on with painting, sometimes starving to complete his over 800 known works. Today, they bring in hundreds of millions.

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