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Successful People Who Struggled In Their Twenties

Successful Figures Who Struggled in their Twenties
Arlene Garcia

Your 20s are a very pivotal moment in your life. You’re almost done making the transition into becoming a fully independent adult and are just about starting your long journey into your work life. Some people have an easier time making this transition than others. If you happen to be one of those who are struggling to find their footing in life, don’t panic, it’s not a race to the finish. A lot of very successful people weren’t as well off when they were in their 20s.


An article from highlighted how many different successful people have struggled in their twenties. Some of the results that I found were pretty interesting and unexpected, to say the least.


Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as an Evening News Anchor in Baltimore at age 23. When WJZ recruited her to host and co-anchor the 6 pm news in Baltimore, executives thought she sounded dull and stiff while regularly mispronouncing words. A massive contrast from the Oprah that we know today.

Oprah wasn’t the only successful person to have been fired from a job, JK Rowling was fired from her job as a secretary at age 25. She was fired because she kept daydreaming about Harry Potter which became too much for her employers and was ultimately let go because of this. She pretty much spent the spent the next 5 years as a single mother on welfare until the first Harry Potter book was published after 5 years of writing and getting rejected from 12 iconic publishers.

Famous entrepreneur Chris Gardner struggled to stay afloat throughout most of his 20s. He and his son were living in wherever they could find shelter, such as motels, flophouses, public transport, airports, and even restrooms. His story served as the basis of inspiration for the movie, “The Pursuit of Happiness”.

After his first animation company went bankrupt, Walt Disney traveled to California where he would face initial success when creating Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit, only for it to go south when he lost his production team as well as the rights to Oswald. After years of driving up debts and being so poor that he had to resort to eating dog food, Disney eventually brought Mickey Mouse to life on the big screen and retook his position in the animation industry that he had previously lost from losing the rights and production to Oswald.

Before being called “The King”, many producers told Elvis Presley that he can’t sing and had no ear for harmony. He was even told by musician, Eddie Bond that he should go back to driving trucks. Instead of quitting, he studied Gospel and Blues records until his talent was picked up by Sun Records.


I could go on with this list, but the point of this is that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. If you’re one of those people who are struggling to find an opening in their career while many of your peers appear to be doing just fine, don’t let that get you down. There is no set age for success. As long as you have goals and are determined to reach them, you can accomplish anything. "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve," one of my favorite quotes from the great Napoleon Hill.



Written By Daniel McRedmond


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