Born in 1901, Walt Disney was the beloved founder of the Walt Disney Company. The man whose films won hearts worldwide had a rough start to his career. He was fired from a local newspaper in 1919, ironically for lacking imagination. Disney found some success later working for “Laugh-O-Gram,” but the good times were short-lived. The company declared bankruptcy in 1923.
He moved in with his brother, Roy, and together they established the Disney Brothers Studio, which later became the Walt Disney Company. In 1928, the studio unveiled a beloved character called “Mickey Mouse,” marking the epic start of more magic in the world.
Harland David Sanders
Harland David Sanders was 65 years old when his restaurant business failed, leaving him bankrupt. He found himself having to start from scratch at a time when most of us dream of retirement. Sanders may have suffered colossal losses, but he still had his secret fried chicken recipe.
He drove around, begging restaurant owners to use his fried chicken recipe. All he asked for in return was a nickel commission for every piece of chicken sold. Sanders faced rejection 1009 (!) times before a restaurant agreed to use the recipe, calling it Kentucky Fried Chicken. Colonel Sanders is one of the world’s most iconic figures today and proof that you’re never too old to start again and succeed.
Charles Schulz gave us Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the gang. Our world is richer for it. He drew 17,897 Peanuts comic strips in his lifetime — a deeply resonant comic strip considered among the best in history. Schultz’s road to success was difficult, though. He submitted cartoons to his high school yearbook, and the staff rejected each one.
Schulz later sent his cartoons to several publishing houses and studios, only to face rejection again. Schulz's big break came in 1947 when he sold a cartoon feature called "Li'l Folks" to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. In 1950, Schulz met with United Feature Syndicate, and in October of that year, "Peanuts" debuted in seven newspapers.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Johannes Chrystostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart was a music prodigy who started composing music at age 5. People today acknowledge Mozart as a genius composer, but he faced rejection many times. Mozart failed to become a court musician — a coveted honor at the time.
When he performed the Marriage of Figaro in Vienna, the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria despised the piece, calling it far too "noisy." On top of that, his last three compositions were considered colossal flops. But failure did not deter him. Mozart wrote over 600 musical pieces in his lifetime and became the most gifted musician in the history of classical music.
Jack Canfield is a motivational speaker and author of the incredibly popular Chicken Soup for the Soul series. What if we told you that the books were nearly never published? Canfield was 48 when he and co-author Mark Victor Hansen first decided to write a collection of stories inspiring people to go for their dreams.
Nothing went as planned. The authors received 144 rejections over 14 months. A publisher mocked the authors for hoping the book would sell at least 500,000 copies. Finally, a small publishing house in Florida came on board, and nobody saw what was coming. Chicken Soup for the Soul became a cultural phenomenon across the globe.