Inspirational Stories

Why You Shouldn't Listen to Anyone Who Says 'You Can't'

by Catherine Pratt
www.Life-With-Confidence.com

I love inspirational stories from people who have achieved great things by following their dreams no matter what. Imagine what a different world it would be if there was no Walt Disney, no Star Wars, no Beethoven symphonies. These have all been created by people who faced numerous rejections yet refused to listen to the negative people who said, "you can't". Or imagine if someone like Oprah had listened to the critics instead of her heart. The world would truly be missing out on some of it's greatest creations and inspirational people.

Some of my favorite inspirational stories

Francis O'Dea - You've probably never heard of Francis O'Dea but if you live in Canada, you're probably very familiar with the coffee house company, "Second Cup".

Francis grew up in Toronto, was sexually abused at age 13 and around that time starting drinking. Life quickly went downhill and before long he was homeless. He had to beg for change in order to survive. For 6 months he lived on the streets with no clue as to what he wanted to do or how to get out of his current situation. Happily, today Francis O'Dea is a multi millionaire. As he says, "One year I was broke, the next year I was a millionaire."

He changed his life by focusing on what he wanted. He got a job and slowly started to turn his life around.

4 years later he opened a little coffee shop and called it "Second Cup". Second Cup is now one of the largest Coffee Shop chains in Canada.

Wayne Gretzky - Wayne Gretzky has been quoted as saying, "It's kind of ironic when I broke in at 17, I was told I was too small, too slow and I wouldn't make the NHL.” He's now recognized as one of the greatest hockey players ever.

George Lucas - George Lucas spent four years shipping the script for Star Wars around to the various studios and racking up numerous rejections in the process. If he'd let his negative inner voice get to him he would never have ended up having the highest grossing film of all time.

Einstein - was considered an "unteachable" fool by his early teachers.



Michael Jordan - was cut from his high school basketball team. Michael Jordan quote, "I've failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed."

Bob Parsons - founder and CEO of GoDaddy.com. If you read his blog posting you'll see that he overcame a lot in pursuit of his dream. He definitely was not an overnight success and experienced a lot of failure on the way. But, he kept his vision in his mind at all times and says, "I spent very little time looking back or feeling sorry for myself." Another awesome quote from the article is, "Quitting is easy. The easiest thing to do in the world is to quit and give up on your dreams (and quite frankly, that’s what all the non-risk takers want you to do)."

Beethoven - Beethoven's music teacher told him he was a hopeless composer.

Colonel Sanders (creator of Kentucky Fried Chicken) - was told "No" by over a thousand restaurants for more than a year while he lived in his car trying to sell his chicken recipe.

Thomas Edison - I'm sure you've heard of Thomas Edison and all the inventions he created. He's actually known as one of the most prolific inventors in history holding 1,093 U.S. patents as well as a lot of patents in the UK, France and Germany. When Thomas was 4 he was sent home from school with a note. The note told his mother that he was to remove his son from school because he was "too stupid to learn". Thomas' mother decided to teach him herself. He only had 3 months of formal schooling yet went on to create numerous inventions like the phonograph. He was also partially deaf in one ear. There is some controversy as to what he invented and what Nikola Tesla invented, (See more info at this link: Nikola Tesla) but he still managed to be successful even with the lack of support from the formal school system.

Walt Disney - was turned down by over a hundred banks when he tried to get funding to develop Disneyland. He was also fired from his job at a newspaper for "lacking ideas". He also had several bankruptcies before he was able to develop Disneyland.

Fred Astaire - Fred Astaire kept a memo over his fireplace from an MGM testing director after his first screen test that said, "Can't act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little."

Vince Lombardi - was told by an expert that he "possesses minimal football knowledge. Lacks motivation.".

Louisa May Alcott - author of one of my favorite books, "Little Women", was encouraged by her family to be a servant or seamstress.

Enid Blyton - is a British author who was rejected by publishers 1,000 times. She wrote Noddy, The Famous Five, The Five Find-Outers, The Mystery Series, The Adventure Series, The Secret Seven, Malory Towers, The St. Clare's series, The Magic Faraway Tree series, The Wishing-Chair series, and hundreds of other books for children. She was one of my favorite authors when I was a kid.

Enrico Caruso - this famous opera singer was told by his teacher that he had no voice at all and couldn't sing.

Richard Bach - the author of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" was turned down by 18 publishers before finally in 1970, MacMillan published it. By 1975, this book had sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S.

Mark Victor Hansen & Jack Canfield - these are the authors of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. They were turned down by 50 book publishers before somebody finally agreed to take a chance. They have since sold over 75 million copies.

Lou Ferrigno - most well known for his role on the tv show, "The Incredible Hulk". As a child, Lou developed an ear infection which would result in partial but permanent hearing loss. His father was very critical of and negative towards him due to his hearing disability. His father believed that he would never achieve success. Yet, he went on to become the youngest bodybuilder ever to win the Mr. Universe title at the age of 20. Lou Ferrigno quote: "If I hadn't lost my hearing, I wouldn't be where I am now. It forced me to maximize my potential. I had to be better than the average person to succeed. That's why I chose bodybuilding. If I became a world champion, if I could win admiration from my peers, I could do anything."

Abraham Lincoln - check out all the setbacks, challenges and tragedies that Abraham Lincoln had to survive on his way to becoming president of the United States: Abraham Lincoln

Stephen Hawking - Well known for his ground breaking ideas on the laws that govern the universe, Stephen was diagnosed with motor neurone disease when he was 21. He has never let this disease stop him from following his passion and achieving a life of happiness. If you read the following page, Living With ALS, you'll see why he's such an inspiration to so many.

Og Mandino - is a bestselling author of inspirational books. Before he became a well known author, he was addicted to alcohol. One day, after a long night of drinking, he bought a gun from a pawnshop for $3.00. He thought this might be the way to end all of his problems but he couldn't bring himself to pull the trigger. He wandered aimlessly for awhile before he ended up in a library. There he decided to transform himself and managed to completely change his life. From being able to change his own life he has gone on to help many others.

George Orwell - most well known for his two books "Animal Farm" and "1984". Animal Farm was rejected by a number of publishers including one who told him that it was "impossible to sell animal stories in the U.S.A.". By 1996, Animal Farm had sold 20,000,000 copies and had been been translated into 60 languages.

Bill Birdseye - invented frozen foods. He discovered the secret of flash freezing which turned out to create an entire industry. This only happened after he went bankrupt seven times.

Peter Jennings - Remember Peter Jennings? He was a top tv news anchorman for a long time. Did you know he was a Canadian and he never finished high school?

Anna Mary Robertson Moses - if you're an artist or want to paint but worry about being "too old to learn", then be inspired by Anna Mary Robertson Moses. She taught herself to paint when she was in her seventies. You may be more familiar with her as “Grandma” Moses, one of the most famous folk artists of the 20th century.

Muggsy Bogues - smallest player in NBA history. He's only 5'3". Who's says you have to be tall to play basketball?

Robert Toth - professional artist. Robert is an American artist well known for incredible diversity in what he creates. Everything from stunning bronze sculptures to movie props to paintings. He had to overcome learning disabilities as a child. He also hasn't allowed criticism from others to deter him from following what he believes. He was told to channel his energy and focus on one art format only. Instead, he followed his own heart and has become very successful in very diverse forms of art. Another great example of why you shouldn't let others limit you. You can check out some of the incredible work he's done at: www.RobertToth.com

Inspirational stories from Ordinary People - here's a cool picture showing ordinary people creating truly inspirational stories by making their living with their own web sites. They're following their passion and live the life they truly want.

Almost But Not Quite Inspirational Stories

Charles Babbage - he invented the computer in 1837. He was unable to get funding for his device so it never caught on during his lifetime. It wasn't until 1943, long after Baggage's death, that computers really started to take off. How different would the world be today if Babbage had succeeded in popularizing the computer in his day?


Know Any More Inspirational Stories?

What are your favorite inspirational stories? If you have some or even one, send it to me via my contact form. I'd love to keep adding to the list.

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