Successful Failures – Steve Jobs

This is part three of a series by *AT* contributor Emily Thomas. When we think about people whose lives we would like to closely emulate, more often than not we think of people who have accomplished great things and led successful lives. However, not everyone who is on top has experienced success after success, and some of the most memorable people in history have faced great obstacles to reach their full potential. Not only is this list informative, but it serves as a great self-esteem booster for any time you are feeling as though you can’t strive to become the next Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, or Steve Jobs.

The list wouldn’t be complete without one of the most famous entrepreneurs in American history. Best known for being the founder, chairman and CEO of Apple Inc, you would probably never guess that he was a college drop-out – even though that seems like the trendy thing to do nowadays. Although his parents were spending their life fortunes to send Jobs to Reed College in Portland, Oregon, Jobs stopped attending his classes during his sophomore year of college and began sitting in on creative classes such as calligraphy. Jobs later stated, “If I had never dropped in on that single calligraphy course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts.”

When Jobs reached the ripe age of thirty, he was young, successful, fabulously wealthy, and a global celebrity. And then he was essentially fired from his own company. He had a reputation as being egotistical and somewhat difficult to work with, which led to an eventual boardroom coup by rival executive John Scully. After being removed from his position as head of the Macintosh division, he resigned from Apple. Jobs did not regret this, however, stating that “getting fired from Apple was one of the best things that could have happened to him” in a speech given to Stanford University in 2005. He states that being fired from Apple “freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life,” and the evidence to support this is abundant:

After leaving Apple, he bought “The Graphics Group”, which was the name of Lucasfilm’s computer graphics division. Today, we know it as Pixar. It was later bought by Disney for $7.4 billion dollars, making Jobs a 7% owner of Disney. This was seven times more than even Walt Disney’s nephew Roy owned. He also founded NeXT Computer, which was acquired by Apple in the mid-90’s, bringing Jobs back to the company he co-founded. And the rest, they say, is history: Jobs took Apple from being a struggling computer maker to the world’s most valuable company…not to mention, the iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMac, and a host of other things. Steve Jobs will forever go down as one of the most successful – and highest paid – businessmen of all time, but it is his early failures that make him truly unique.


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