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10 Poor People Who Prospered

By: Michael Blankenship |

“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” 

– Christian D. Larson

Want to accomplish something great but feel that the odds are against you? 

Too old? Too young? Too ill? Too uneducated? Too poor? Too ________.

Fill in the blank.

But the truth is that many people who shouldn’t have succeededhave succeeded

More often than not, the only thing that really stands between us and our goals is our own belief that the hurdles ahead are impassable.

In fact, here are 10 people you’ve probably heard of who had plenty of problems they could have used as excuses… plus a quick take away from each of their stories. 

Oprah Winfrey: Oprah overcame poverty, abuse, and numerous challenges to become a global media mogul. Her resilience and determination led her to create a successful talk show, television network, and multimedia empire. Learn more

Takeaway: Your past does not define your future; with resilience and determination, you can overcome challenges and achieve your goals.

Stephen Hawking: Diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21 and given only a few years to live, Hawking defied the odds and became one of the world’s most renowned physicists. He continued his groundbreaking research and wrote best-selling books despite his physical limitations. Learn more.

Takeaway: Don’t let physical or mental limitations hold you back; focus on your strengths and use them to make a difference.

J.K. Rowling: Rowling faced unemployment, poverty, and depression as a single mother before she wrote the Harry Potter series. Her perseverance led her to become one of the most successful and beloved authors in the world. Learn more

Takeaway: Even when faced with difficulties, keep pushing forward; perseverance can turn your life around and lead to success.

Walt Disney: Early in his career, Disney faced multiple business failures and bankruptcy before finding success with his animation studio. His creativity and determination led to the creation of iconic characters and theme parks known worldwide. Learn more.

Takeaway: Don’t be afraid of failure; use your creativity and determination to learn from your mistakes and build a brighter future.

Malala Yousafzai: As a young girl advocating for girls’ education in Pakistan, Malala survived a brutal assassination attempt by the Taliban. Despite the attack, she continues to fight for education and women’s rights globally. Learn more.

Takeaway: Stand up for what you believe in, even when it’s difficult; your courage can inspire change and make a positive impact.

Maya Angelou: A survivor of childhood trauma and racial discrimination, Angelou became an influential poet, writer, and civil rights activist. She used her experiences to inspire others through her literary works and speeches. Learn more.

Takeaway: Use your personal experiences as fuel for growth and inspiration, both for yourself and for others.

Richard Branson: Branson, who struggled with dyslexia, dropped out of school at 16 and went on to build the Virgin Group empire. His entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to take risks allowed him to become a successful businessman and philanthropist. Learn more.

Takeaway: Embrace risks and don’t be discouraged by setbacks; maintain a positive mindset and keep striving for success.

Bethany Hamilton: A professional surfer, Hamilton lost her left arm in a shark attack at the age of 13. Despite the challenges, she returned to competitive surfing and became an inspiration to many for her resilience and determination. Learn more.

Takeaway: Your circumstances don’t determine your potential; with resilience and determination, you can overcome obstacles and achieve your dreams.

Elon Musk: Musk faced numerous setbacks and near-failures with his companies, Tesla and SpaceX, but persevered through them to revolutionize the automotive and space industries. His tenacity and innovative spirit have pushed the boundaries of technology. Learn more.

Takeaway: Stay tenacious and innovative in your pursuits; pushing boundaries can lead to personal growth and remarkable accomplishments.

Nick Vujicic: Born without limbs, Vujicic overcame depression and bullying to become an international motivational speaker, author, and founder of the nonprofit organization, Life Without Limbs. His message of hope and determination has inspired millions. Learn more

Takeaway: Focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t; a positive attitude and determination can inspire others and help you live a fulfilling life.

If you’re still not convinced, here are 48 more people who beat the odds.

The lesson is…

Get out there and get to work. 🙂 

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