You Decide: Mindset Masters or Famous Failures

Growth Mindset is all about the way you approach challenges.
Read these stories and imagine how you would overcome the same obstacles and doubts.

Click on box below to reveal the second half of the story.






J.K. Rowling
Who am I?
After my manuscript was rejected by 30 publishers, I threw it in the trash. My wife retrieved it and urged me to try one more time.





Albert Einstein
Who am I?
After viewing my screen test, a talent scout wrote, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Balding. Can dance a little.”





Elvis Presley
Who am I?
As a boy, I was told I was “too stupid to learn anything.” As an adult, I was fired from my first two jobs because I wasn’t productive enough.
Who am I?
Due to poor grades in high school, I was rejected all three times I applied to University of Southern California.





Oprah Winfrey
 
Who are we?
When we first auditioned for a record contract, our band members were told, “We don’t like your sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”





Lady Gaga





Kerry Washington
Who am I?
After dropping out of college, I worked at Dunkin’ Donuts. I was fired on my first day because I squirted jelly filling on a customer.





Dr. Seuss
Who am I?
At age 12, my father lost his job and my family was forced to live in a van. On my 16th birthday, I dropped out of H.S. to work as a janitor to help support my family.





John Green
Who am I?
I was fired from a Missouri newspaper for “…not being creative enough…” and, later, my first business went bankrupt.
Who am I?
After failing to make my high school’s varsity basketball team, I went home, locked myself in my room and cried.





Abraham Lincoln
Who am I?
My business ideas failed and I went broke five times before I succeeded.





Jeremy Shu-How Lin
Who am I?
I grew up surrounded by poverty, alcoholism, and violence. I endured the first of three brain surgeries when I was just five months old.





Jay Z


Learn more about growth mindset by visiting HPL's Growth vs Fixed Mindset webpage.








J. K. Rowling

Novelist, screenwriter, and film producer.

Challenge: In her 20s, she was a divorced, unemployed single parent who resisted suicidal thoughts only because she needed to care for her infant daughter. She was "as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless… by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew."

Success: Her Harry Potter series of books have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 68 languages.

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Stephen King

Best Selling Author

Challenge: After his manuscript was rejected by 30 publishers, he threw it in the trash. His wife retrieved it and urged him to try one more time.

Success: Author of more than 50 horror and sci fi books (all best sellers), including Carrie, the one he tried to toss.

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Albert Einstein

Theoretical physicist.

Challenge: At age 16, he failed to reach the required standard in the general education part of a school entrance exam and was rejected from the polytechnic school he had hoped to attend.

Success: He developed the general theory of relativity and became the winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics.

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Fred Astaire

Actor, dancer, singer in more than 30 films.

Challenge: After viewing this man’s screen test, a talent scout wrote, "Can’t act. Can’t sing. Balding. Can dance a little."

Success: The American Film Institute named him one of the Top 50 All-Time Silver Screen Legends

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Elvis Presley

Singer and Actor.

Challenge: After his first on-stage performance, his manager told him, "You aint goin’ nowhere son. You ought to go back to driving’ a truck."

Success: Sold more than 600 million records and known as the King of Rock and Roll.

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Thomas Edison

Inventor and businessman.

Challenge: As a boy, he was told he was "too stupid to learn anything." As an adult, he was fired from his first two jobs because he wasn’t productive enough.

Success: Held patents for more than 1,000 inventions, including the motion picture camera and electric lightbulb.

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Steven Spielberg

Director of 50+ films.

Challenge: Due to poor grades in high school, this man was rejected all three times he applied to University of Southern California.

Success: He won three Academy Awards and has an estimated net worth of $3 billion.

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Oprah Winfrey

Television talk show host, media mogul, and philanthropist.

Challenge: She was demoted from her first-ever job as a news anchor because, according to her boss, she was too emotional and not a good fit for television.

Success: Often called the world’s most influential woman.

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The Beatles

English rock band.

Challenge: When they first auditioned for a record contract, these band members were told, "We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out."

Success: Most successful music group of all time with more than 1 billion units sold.

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Lady Gaga (Stefani Germanotta)

Singer and songwriter.

Challenge: Music industry reps told her that she didn’t have the right look, wasn’t pretty enough to be a headline singer, and that non of the songs she’d written would be hits.

Success: Winner of five Grammy Awards and named as Billboard Magazine’s Artist of the Year.

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Kerry Washington

Actress

Challenge: In her first two television jobs, she was fired and replaced with other actresses.

Success: Star of Scandal, Ray, and Fantastic Four

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Madonna

Singer, songwriter, and music producer.

Challenge: After dropping out of college, she worked at Dunkin’ Donuts. She was fired on her first day because she squirted jelly filling on a customer.

Success: Top-earning touring female artist in the history of Boxscore with more than $1.31 billion in ticket sales.

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Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel)

Author and artist.

Challenge: His first book was rejected by 27 publishers.

Success: Sold more than 600 million copies of his 44 children’s books.

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Jim Carrey

Actor and comedian.

Challenge: At age 12, his father lost his job and their family was forced to live in a van. On his 16th birthday, he dropped out of high school to work as a janitor to help support his family.

Success: Star of more than 40 films; Golden Globe and People’s Choice award winner.

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John Green

Writer and vlogger.

Challenge: A former employer called him a "horrible slob" who "didn’t do his job all that well." He was rejected from an advanced creative writing course, dumped by his girlfriend, and took ten years to write one book.

Success: His YouTube channels have millions of subscribers and his books top charts of best sellers.

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Walt Disney

Animator, film producer, and entrepreneur.

Challenge: He was fired from a Missouri newspaper for "…not being creative enough…" and, later, his first business went bankrupt.

Success: Holds the record for most Academy Awards won by an individual.

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Michael Jordan

Former NBA player.

Challenge: After failing to make his high school’s varsity basketball team, he went home, locked himself in his room and cried.

Success: Winner of six NBA championships and five MVP titles; called "the greatest basketball player to ever grace the court".

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Abraham Lincoln

16th President of the United States of America.

Challenge: His mother died when he was nine. His first love died when he was 26. He suffered such a deep depression that his friends and neighbors worried he might kill himself.

Success: Led the U.S. during the Civil War, preserving the Union and abolishing slavery.

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Henry Ford

Founder of Ford Motor Company.

Challenge: His business ideas failed and he went broke five times before he succeeded.

Success: Created the Model T automobile, revolutionized assembly line production, and built a thriving business.

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Jeremy Shu-How Lin

Professional NBA player.

Challenge: He was a college athlete who received no athletic scholarships, wasn’t chosen by any team during the NBA draft, and was once viewed by one of his coaches as the weakest guy on the team."

Success: Earned millions of dollars in salary and endorsements; also, named as one of Time Magazine’s "Top 100 Most Influential People int he World".

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Sherman Alexie

Best-selling writer.

Challenge: He grew up surrounded by poverty, alcoholism, and violence. He endured the first of three brain surgeries when he was just five months old.

Success: Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

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Jay Z (Shawn Carter)

Rapper, music producer, and entrepreneur

Challenge: He was raised by a single mom in the projects of Brooklyn and dropped out of high school. Later, he was rejected by every major record label and was told the market was too small for his style of music.

Success: Holds an estimated net worth of $520 million.

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