Super Successful People Who Proved Their Haters Wrong

"I pay no attention whatever to anybody’s praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings." - Mozart

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Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone is an actor and director best known for his role as Rocky Balboa in the hit boxing film, Rocky. Before his big break he seemed to face rejection… and a lot of it. Many people told him he talked funny, walked funny and couldn’t act.

His rejection got to him, and eventually faced homelessness. But this would not stop him.

After writing the script for Rocky, he was offered a TON of money but with one exception: that he not star in the film. He refused over and over. He would star in this film eventually accepting just $35,000 and a percentage of the film’s sales. Rocky grossed over $200 million in the box office.

Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire is one of the most famous failures of the 20th century.

According to the legend, he was famously rejected during a Hollywood screen test when it was said that he “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Dances a little,” – wow!

Fred REFUSED to listen. His career in the entertainment world lasted over 70 years. An amazing example of someone who refused to listen to the haters.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan aka “the greatest basketball player of all time.”

Jordan’s famous quote basically sums up why he’s on this list: ”I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

At the age of 15-years old he passed up for the varsity basketball team. Ouch. But instead of giving up, his mom convinced him to keep going and not give up.

At the age of 21-years old, he entered the NBA for the Chicago Bulls, where he would go on to win six championship titles and become to most famous basketball player… ever.


Elvis Presley is a famous American musician who’s sold over 1 billion records worldwide.

When he was 18-years old, he recorded a couple demos and nothing came of them. The same year, he failed an audition to become part of the Songfellows. When asked by his father what had happened, Presley stated, “They told me I couldn’t sing.”

He then decided to become a truck driver. It was then Presley met Eddie Bond. And they were looking for a vocalist. They arranged some more recordings, which nothing came of until months later when Presley randomly launched into “That’s All Right,” Arthur Crudup’s 1946 blues number. That got the attention of a professional DJ, and the rest is history!

He is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll” or simply “the King”.

Harrison Ford

When Harrison Ford was 24-years old studio execs were hard on Ford, telling him that “he would never make it in this business.”

He REFUSED to give up. 9 years later, when he landed his breakthrough role in George Lucas’s film, American Graffiti. It was that role, and his relationship with Lucas, that would help catapult him into stardom.

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin ended up neglecting his medical studies at the University of Edinburgh, and in 1827, dropped out and quit school (twice), leading his father to say, “You care for nothing but shooting, dogs and rat catching.”

Today, he is considered as one of the most influential scientific minds of our time. His theories on natural selection and evolution have had a major impact on our understanding of species and life here on earth, along with the progress of biological organisms.

Steve Maraboli

According to the official site, Steve Maraboli graduated from high school in 1993. During his early school years, he struggled with grades, was classified with a learning disability, and placed in an alternative high school for his senior year. After graduation, he entered the United States Air Force, to serve as a Military Policeman.

On a recent episode of his podcast, he told the story of his principal telling him he was better off to learn a trade (like painting or plumbing) because he wouldn’t amount to anything else, so he might as well be useful to society. In one of few heartfelt conversations with his dad, Steve was told not to listen to the principal or anyone else who would ever tell him he wasn’t worthy of great things.

Steve Maraboli took his dad’s advice, and despite facing rejection after rejection, almost bankrupt, he went on to become one a wildly popular Behavioral Scientists. He has been quoted in thousands of books (according to Google Books) and his quote memes have reached millions around the world in more than 30 languages. Chances are, you and/or someone in your family has read and shared his words. At the end of the story, Maraboli shared that this same school principal came to one of his speaking events and asked Steve to sign his book. Now that is closure!

Lucille Ball

Before her iconic show I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball was considered a failed actress, a B-list actress.

Her drama instructors actually persuaded her to try another profession. She thankfully didn’t listen. She was the first woman in television to be the head of a production company, Desilu, which she completely took over when she and Desi divorced. I Love Lucy was the first show to feature a pregnant woman prominently. She is quoted saying, “I’m not funny. What I am is brave.”

I can’t help but wonder what we would all be in our life if we didn’t listen to the haters, if we didn’t stay down, if we took the bravery that Lucy had and used it to jump back up and make a place for ourselves. Her legacy continues because of this bravery.

Van Gogh

So crazy to think that during his lifetime, Van Gogh received hardly any acclaim for his work. While alive, he only sold one of his paintings, and that was to a friend for a very small amount of money.

Despite this, he continued working throughout his life, never seeing success himself, though his paintings now are worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

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