Let me start this article by asking a simple question: How many times have we failed in our lives?
Many times, right?
Failure is inevitable in our lives. There is no way we can run away from it. Earlier in my life, every time I used to see a famous personality, my first thought used to be: how lucky they are to achieve success in their life! I thought they never had any failure and still achieved everything they wanted. How wrong I was.
If you don’t believe me, the following quote might help, as it helped me prove myself wrong.
“You might never fail on the scale I did. But it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.” – J K Rowling.
Until and unless we fail and learn from it, it is impossible for anyone including the famous personalities to become the best in their lives. They are not lucky; they became the best by going through the same process that we also go through in our lives.
So that’s why I thought, let’s look in the field of sports to find out if there are athletes who rose from the rock bottom to become the best in their career despite failures.
Here is the list of my top five sports personalities who failed at first, only to later emerge as the best in their field.
He is considered the greatest basketball player ever to play the game. But did you know he was cut out of the high school team? At 5’11″ (1.80 m) back then, he was told he was too short to play at that level and lacked the skills to play Basketball.
I know it’s hard to believe it now, but this is true. Imagine the best player in the history of basketball, who redefined the game with his skills, speed, talent and attitude, was considered incapable earlier in his career. How did Jordan react to this disappointment?
“Whenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ought to stop, I’d close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it, and that usually got me going again.”
Imagine if he would have given up after facing failure in his life, where would he be now?
He is considered one of the biggest sports heroes of America. He has the record of having the third highest home run record in Baseball. But did you know that for a decade he held the record for the highest strikeouts (1,330) as well. On being asked about his strikeouts, he said: “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”
He is considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of American football. To his credit, he had two super bowl victories, five NFC championships and the record for the most career wins in football. But did you know that during his first season as a coach, he also had the honor of sharing the worst record ever in NFL (no wins) and later on winning five or less games in the next four seasons.
The tennis player who won Wimbledon, US Open and eight Davis Cups, and who formed one of the most successful doubles team, was rejected during his childhood for the ball boy’s position in a Davis Cup match as the organizers felt he was too clumsy and uncoordinated.
He was a failure as a carpenter, cook and waiter (who didn’t even know how to open a bottle of wine). Fast forward to 2012, he is now the billionaire owner of NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. What did he say for his failures?
“I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how many times you failed,” Cuban says. “You only have to be right once. I tried to sell powdered milk. I was an idiot lot of times, and I learned from them all.”
Quite surprising isn’t it? For me too, it was a revelation, but the reason why these people reached the top was once given by John Wooden: