Luxury cars, private jets, palatial bungalows; assets of rich people impress us easily and we too wish to run into wealth of extravagant proportions. What we don’t see, however, are the years of hardships, poverty, and bankruptcy that preceded the success of these millionaires and billionaires.
To inspire you to stay determined, motivated and hopeful, here’s a reminder of the struggle these inspirational men and women had to go through to get to where they are today.
1. Amitabh Bachchan
Senior Bachchan is a man respected by people across generations the world over. His stardom however did not come without several hardships. The most prominent one was the failure of his production company. It was only after he starred in the film ‘Mohabattein’ that things started to turn around. He was offered Kaun Banega Crorepati which not just helped him pay his debt, but also flooded him with several film offers and brand endorsements. Once at the brink of losing all his assets, Big B, now in his 70s, is one of the highest tax payers of the industry.
2. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey faced many tough challenges during her childhood and teenage years. During High School, she started co-anchoring a local evening news program on radio. Her style and delivery was widely appreciated and she eventually went on to have her own talk show ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’, which remains the highest rated talk show in American television history. At the age of just 32, she became a millionaire. She later started a women’s cable network called Oxygen and also her own channel called OWN- Oprah Winfrey Network. She became the only African American woman on the Forbes 400 list, at just the age of 41, and has shown no signs of slowing down.
3. J.K. Rowling
Chances are that J.K. Rowling is either yours or your children’s favourite writer. She is one of the most popular and richest writers in the world. But of course, it wasn’t always that way. There was a time when she was so impoverished that she had to live on state benefits. The manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was rejected 12 times before being accepted by Bloomsbury. After the publication of the book, there was no looking back for her. With sales worth more than £238 million, she is today the best-selling living author in the United Kingdom.
4. Walt Disney
Can you imagine your childhood without Mickey Mouse? Walt Disney, the man who gave us some of our favourite cartoon characters, was once a mere newspaper boy. He wanted to be a political cartoonist but unfortunately, nobody showed interest in hiring him. He started a couple of companies which soon went bankrupt. Disney was however a persistent man and decided to set up a cartoon studio in Hollywood. It is this studio which has over several years given us beautiful and heart-warming stories like The Jungle Book, Sleeping Beauty, Frozen and many more.
5. Samuel Walton
The man who gave the world retail giant Walmart once worked as a milkman and later as a newspaper vendor, to help meet the financial needs of his family. He served in the military during the Second World War and after that at a retail store. He opened a small grocery store and used his earnings to build an empire that changed the face of US retail. As per Forbes, he was the richest person in the United States between 1982 and 1988.
6. Dheeraj Gupta
Dheeraj Gupta, an MBA graduate from Mumbai, tried to start a retail chain for sweets. Unfortunately, his business never took off and Gupta suffered losses worth Rs 50 Lakh. Gupta then decided to build a new business similar to McDonalds. The only difference being, instead of selling burgers, Gupta started selling Vada Pavs. This is how Jumbo King was born. Today, Jumbo King has 100 outlets across India which Gupta plans to expand to 1000 by 2020, with an aim to amass investment worth Rs 50 crore.
7. John Paul De Joria
The Co- Founder of The Patron Spirits Company was raised in a foster home. As a member of a street gang during his teenage years, he was once told by a teacher that he would ‘never succeed at anything in life’. After serving in the navy for two years, he did various odd jobs. In 1980, he started John Paul Mitchells Systems on a loan of $700 and nine years later, co-founded the Patron Spirits Company with the singular aim of producing “the best tequila in the world”. His total worth as of 2015 is $ 2.8 Billion.
8. Chris Gardner
You may know this man because Will Smith played him on screen in 2006 film, The Pursuit of Happyness. If you have seen the film, you will know that Gardner braved homelessness for a year. Even as a child, he grew up at a foster home after his mother’s imprisonment. He had almost started to make a career in the field of medicine when he met and was impressed by a wealthy stockbroker who inspired him to become a stockbroker himself, launching his own company, Gardner Rich. After Gardner sold his small stake in Gardner Rich in a multi-million dollar deal in 2006, he became CEO and founder of Christopher Gardner International Holdings, with offices in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. He now donates millions to charities every year.
These people show us how perseverance and not giving up even in the toughest of times is the key to realising your dreams. The rags to riches stories of these successful individuals are certainly an inspiration for anyone and everyone who wants to make it big in their lives.
"The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me"- Ayn Rand -
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