Your amazing online presence is right this way.

Create your profile
Capture who you are, what you do, and where you're going. All in one place.


Failure IS an Important Option—Just Ask J.K. Rowling and More Wildly Successful People

Viewing on Levo:

Only you can see this list

Sometimes it may seem like failure can end everything. Not only does the blow hurt, but picking yourself up and figuring out your next step is often the most difficult part of the process.

But we're here to remind you that moments of failure can actually lead to massive success and that sometimes falling down is exactly what you need in order to fly. Corny as it may sound, it's the truth. But don't take it from us—take it from these incredibly successful humans who channeled failure into opportunities for greatness. 

Aziz Ansari

"Any comedian when they're working on stuff, you hit little patches where a bit you're trying just doesn't work...What happens is you get to a point where you almost get mad at yourself when you do really well because you think - oh, that means I'm not taking enough risks. And if I do a set where I just completely tank, that means I really went for something and tried something difficult. If I'm just killing all the time, I'm just worried too much about having a good time and doing a good show in that moment. But you really are pushing yourself if you do something and it goes horrible."

Aziz Ansari hit it out of the park with his critically-acclaimed Netflix hit, Master of None. But, he finds, it still takes the occasional bomb on stage to figure out exactly what he wants to say and how to say it.

Thomas Edison

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”

Not only did Thomas Edison's teachers state that he was "too stupid to learn anything" but he was also fired from his first two jobs. Yes, that Thomas Edison, the guy who invented the lightbulb.

J.K. Rowling

Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter, and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

J.K. Rowling is not only a literary legend, but she has created a beautiful world that both young and old have grown to love. But before she became successful, Rowling was going through a divorce, living on welfare, going to school, and trying to write her first novel. Now she is, well, J.K. Rowling.

Stephen King

“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

Before Stephen King was THE Stephen King, he was a teacher in Maine trying to finish his first novel "Carrie." After being rejected 30 times he actually threw out the manuscript. Thankfully his wife found the file and told him to submit it one more time. You know what they say, get back up 30 times and on the!

Winston Churchill

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

I learned two amazing things about Winston Churchill. The first being that most of his super-famous speeches that we all have learned from and love were given within a couple months of each other. But also that Churchill almost didn't make it into military school. As a student, Churchill did not do well in every subject except surprise, surprise: history and English composition. His plan to attend the Royal Military College hit a major setback when he failed the first two entrance exams. But after getting a tutor he finally qualified the third time—only to enter the cavalry class. Obviously, that didn't stop him from becoming a legend. 

Lauryn Hill

"We can't plan life. All we can do is be available for it."

The first time Hip Hop Lauren Hill performed at the Apollo she was booed. Thank goodness for that or we would never have gotten the beautiful music from The Fugees or when Hill went solo.

Sidney Poitier

Between the American mythology of 'Pull yourself up by your bootstraps' and the orthodoxy of entitlements, where’s the enduring commitment for the long haul, the consistent vision of how to weave the less fortunate into a decent and humane society?"

When Poitier first began acting, a casting director told him to "stop wasting people's time and go out and become a dishwasher or something." Instead of letting that hinder him Poitier became an Oscar award winning actor and time and time again used every opportunity to challenge the way people view humanity.

Vera Wang

In the end, it’s not about failure, it’s about how much you love what you do. If it gets you up in the morning, gives you a reason to live, a reason to be excited, that’s the greatest gift that any passion can give you.”

 After growing up a super talented ice skater but failing to make the Olympic team, Wang fell into fashion. She worked as an editor at Vogue for years but was passed up for a promotion to Editor in Chief. Despite the setbacks, Wang pushed forward to become the successful wedding dress designer she is today.

đào tiểu vũ via Flickr

Make Levo Yours

Levo is the best place to contribute your inspirational thought leadership. Begin elevating the purposeful careers of our community by sharing your insights, data, and stories today.