Rejection is painful. Being made to look worthless is a frightening experience but what if you discovered that rejection can be a powerful motivation. What if rejection could help you build your self esteem.

Today, I list examples of 13 outstanding achievers who turned rejection to success stories . So here we go:

Oprah Winfrey
image via people . com

Unfit For Tv

Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a reporter because she was unfit for Tv. She later became the host of her own program “The Oprah Winfrey show” which aired 25 sessions before launching her own TV Network. Oprah Winfrey Network.

J K Rowling
J K Rowling via biography . com

Day Dreaming

J K Rowling was sacked as a secretary because she was a day dreamer. She was then rejected by 12 publishers after writing Harry potter. Her manuscript was later accepted by Chairman of Bloomsbury.  Her novel “Harry Porter” would later make her a billionaire.

Fred Astaire via cinemagia . ro

Can’t Act

As the story is told, Fred Astaire,  in his first screen test, was noted by the testing director of MGM  that Astaire, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”

However in 76 years from 1904 to 1981, Fred made 31 musical films and several award winning television specials . He was named the fifth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute and was best known as the dancing partner and on-screen romantic interest of Ginger Rogers, with whom he co-starred in a series of ten Hollywood musicals which transformed the genre.

Poitier via tvrage . com

Become A Dishwasher

Poitier Syndey in his first audition was told by the casting director, “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?”

Poitier went on to win an Oscar for “Lilies of the Field” in 1964 and 1967’s super successful “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.”

Steven Spielberg via wikepedia
Steven Spielberg via wikepedia

Rejected From Film School

Steven Spielberg was turned down three times by the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television.

Even though he attended another school and dropped out, he earned his BA and became an influential filmmakers in the history of cinema with Academy Award for Best Director for Schindler’s List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998).

He also achieved  box office records for Jaws (1975), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Jurassic Park (1993).

stephen king via denverpost . com
stephen king via denverpost . com

30 rejections for Carrie

Stephen King is said to have accepted a $2,500 advance for his first novel “Carrie” to Doubleday after facing 30 rejections, King decided to shut down his plan for the book.

King would later resubmit the manuscript after much urging from his wife which would make him publish a 100 books later and become one of the best-selling authors of all time.

Elvis-Presley via fineartamerica . com
Elvis-Presley via fineartamerica . com

You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son

Elvis Presley earlier in his life did not perform to expectation. in fact he was told by the Grand Ole Opry manager, Jimmy Denny, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving’ a truck.”

Yet Elvis became an American singer and would later be known as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. He is also referred to as “the King of Rock and Roll”, or simply, “the King“.

READ MORE: Elvis Presley’s Immense Contribution to Music and His Famous Sideburns

Michael-Jordan via tensportclubs . com
Michael-Jordan via tensportclubs . com

Lack of Skill

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team for a “lack of skill”.  a young Michael Jordan went home and cried in the privacy of his bedroom. This however did not stop him from playing the game.

Michael Jordan would later become American former professional basketball player who played 15 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards.

He was also acclaimed  on the NBA website states as the greatest basketball player of all time and was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation who popularized NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.

READ MORE: Michael Jordan’s Career Biography

Anna wintour via hollywoodreporter . com
Anna wintour via hollywoodreporter . com


Anna Wintour worked for American Harper’s Bazaar but one day she was fired from her job. Anna Wintour would later become an important figure in much of the fashion world with the trademark pageboy bob haircut and sunglasses.

She is widely praised for her eye for fashion trends and her support for younger designers. She is also the  editor-in-chief of American Vogue, a position which she has held since 1988 and  became an artistic director for Condé Nast, Vogue’s publisher.

Her reportedly aloof and demanding personality has earned her the nickname “Nuclear Wintour”.

hugh-jackman via eonline . com
hugh-jackman via eonline . com

You Talk Too Much

Hugh Jackman got fired from his cashier job at 7-Eleven because his boss said that he talked too much to the customers.

However, Hugh has won international recognition for his roles in major films, notably as superhero, period, and romance characters.

He is known for his long-running role as Wolverine in the X-Men film series, as well as for his leads in Kate & Leopold, Van Helsing, The Prestige, Australia, Real Steel, Les Misérables, and Prisoners.

Hugh has won his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and his first Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical in 2013. He is also a singer, dancer, and actor in stage musicals, and won a Tony Award for his role in The Boy from Oz.

Walt_Disney via wikepedia
Walt_Disney via wikepedia

Lack of Imagination and No good ideas 

Walter was fired by a newspaper editor because he lacked imagination and had no good ideas. After being bankrupt four times, Walt Disney would later build the Disney empire and would be regarded as a cultural icon known for his influence and contributions to entertainment during the 20th century.

beethoven via lucare . com
beethoven via lucare . com

As a Composer, He is Hopeless

In his earlier life, Ludwig van Beethoven was remarked by his music teacher as a Composer, who is hopeless”.

Beethoven would later become one of the most famous and influential of all composers whose best-known compositions included 9 symphonies, 5 concertos for piano, 32 piano sonatas, and 16 string quartets.

Frank_Winfield_Woolworth via chinatownwiki . com
Frank_Winfield_Woolworth via chinatownwiki . com

Don’t have enough common sense to serve customers

Frank Winfield Woolworth was told by his dry Store Manager that he didn’t have enough common sense to serve customers. Frank would later become the founder of F. W. Woolworth Company .

He also introduced the common practice of buying merchandise direct from manufacturers and fixing prices on items, rather than haggling.

He was the first to use self-service display cases so customers could examine what they wanted to buy without the help of a salesclerk.

What About You

Looking at these examples, I am sure that you get the message. If you have been rejected or made to feel worthless, you need to understand that you were created to stand out.

You are not a failure unless you think so. You just need to question your mindset and see beyond the obstacle and you definitely will find success. 

If you have had an experience with being rejected or you know a real life story, please share with us and let us know how such challenge was resolved. Did you enjoy these examples of success stories? Then spread the word.

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