Every individual on this earth needs to overcome obstacles at some point in their life. Whether it’s applying for another job after losing the first one, or even just getting off the ground after falling down, everyone has to learn how to overcome the difficulties that life throws at them—even those who are famous! Here are eight famous people who overcame difficult obstacles.
1. Albert Einstein
Einstein didn’t speak at all for the first three years of his life. But even though he received good grades throughout primary and elementary school, many of his teachers assumed he was lazy because he was always distracted by abstract concepts. Despite the lack of confidence that many adults showed towards Einstein, he rose above such negativity and developed the theory of relativity.
2. Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh only sold one painting during his life. He produced over 900 paintings, yet only “Red Vineyard at Arles” was sold while he was alive. While he may not have physically overcome his challenges, his persistence and dedication to his work despite receiving no monetary compensation or external praise is something to be commended.
3. Jim Carrey
When Jim Carrey was fifteen, he dropped out of school to support his family. Soon after, he and his family were living in a van. Despite these challenges, however, Carrey continued to follow his dream of becoming a comedian. As we all know, he was successful in his endeavors.
4. Thomas Edison
Edison failed somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 times before he invented the light bulb. Can you imagine failing at something 10,000 times? Instead of quitting, however, Edison tried and tried again until he achieved success. That kind of dedication is nothing short of extraordinary.
5. Stephen King
King’s first novel, Carrie, was rejected by thirty different publishers. He was so upset that he threw the novel in the trash, until his wife later fished it out and encouraged him to finish it. King’s books have now sold over 350 million copies, and Carrie has become a classic novel with many film and TV adaptations to its name. King’s story shows that sometimes people just need a little bit of encouragement to overcome the obstacles in their lives.
6. Benjamin Franklin
When Franklin was ten-years-old, his parents could no longer afford to send him to school. However, financial concerns couldn't stop him from pursuing an education. Through reading, he was able to educate himself, and the fruits of his knowledge include the lightning rod and bifocals.
7. Bethany Hamilton
At just thirteen years old, Hamilton had her left arm bitten off by a shark during a surfing accident. Instead of admitting defeat, she went back to her surfboard one month later and continued to practice. Two years later, she was able to win first place in the Explorer Women’s Division of the NSSA National Championships. If that isn’t overcoming a difficult obstacle, I don’t know what is!
8. Walt Disney
Walt Disney was fired from his first job at the Kansas City Star after his newspaper editor told him that he didn’t have enough imagination or creativity. A few years later, he drove Disney’s animation studio, Laugh-O-Gram, into bankruptcy. Only when he moved to California to produce cartoons did his career ultimately take off. Walt Disney’s determination to meet his goals is a great example of overcoming life's obstacles.
From the pages of a book or on a television screen, these and other inspiring people may seem unreal at times. Simply reading about Thomas Edison’s failures or watching the film version of Bethany Hamilton's story could never do the actual people justice. However, there are many lessons we can learn from people like Thomas Edison and Bethany Hamilton. They were real people who faced very real challenges. Overcoming obstacles is something that everyone in life must learn how to do. How do you think these people became so famous? They were able to conquer the mountains that stood in their way, and you can too.