Against All Odds
Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, or finding that jackpot and becoming mega-millionaires at some point in their life. Especially in a world where the economy is in a constant state of flux, and lots of things can seem uncertain. It often feels like if we could just get a little bit of extra money from somewhere, that all of our troubles would be fixed. Although I’m not sure that the following list of people would agree that all of their problems have been solved by their new found wealth, they’d probably tell you that it hasn’t hurt any. However, most of these people put in a lot of hard work to get to where they are today, and it has clearly paid off. So, let that be a lesson—if you want the money, you’re going to have to work for it!
If you haven’t heard of ‘Harry Potter’, then you’ve probably been living under a rock. They are some of the best-selling children’s novels of all time, but they got an unlikely start. Rowling, the author of the books, says that she got the inspiration for the character of Harry while she was stuck on a train on her way to London. By the time she began to write his story, she was a divorced, single-mother, struggling to make ends meet and provide for her small family. She said that she would push her daughter to a cafe in a stroller, and write for an hour while she napped. Eventually she typed up the first book in the series and managed to get a publisher interested. Rowling is now worth $798 million, and is the twelfth richest woman in the United Kingdom.
This talk-show host is among one of the wealthiest people in the world—and also one of the most well-known people in the world. However, she did not start out that way. Oprah Winfrey was born to a thirteen-year old girl that had been raped, and subsequently got pregnant. Winfrey spent most of her childhood growing up with her grandmother, and then the man that she knew as her father. She was abused by numerous family members, and became pregnant at the age of fourteen, sadly losing the child shortly after his birth. However, Winfrey persevered, and managed to get a start with a talk radio show. From there she moved to TV, and eventually became the mega-superstar that she is today. Winfrey is now estimated to be worth $2.7 billion, and is currently listed as the wealthiest self-made woman in America.
Spielberg started his movie-making career early on in his childhood. He made amateur 8mm films, and even won an award for one at the age of 13. When he was 16, he wrote and directed a film called “Firelight”, which inspired his later film “Close Encounters”. He had a budget of $500 and made a profit of $1 after the film was shown in a theatre. He went on to become an unpaid intern at Universal Studios, where he made “Amblin”, his first short film for actual theatrical release. Eventually Spielberg went on to become the youngest director to ever be signed to a Hollywood studio. He is currently estimated to be worth $3 billion.
Although Jordan did not start out living in poverty, he still needed plenty of determination and hard work to get to where he is now. He played basketball in high school, but was eventually cut from the team because he was too short. As defeated as he was by this, his mother encouraged him to work hard and show the coach that he deserved a place on the team. Jordan spent all of his free time working out, and even said that when he was tired and wanted to quit, he’d “close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it and that usually got me going again.” He was eventually reinstated, and ended up leading his team to a state championship. After that, he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls and helped them win six NBA Championships.
Thomas Edison’s (1847-1931) teachers told him he was ‘too stupid to learn anything.’ He also famously invented1,000 light bulbs before creating one that worked. He is truly the definition of tenacious.
So there you have it—five inspiring stories of success, wealth, and fame. Maybe you can relate to one of these stories, and who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next inspiring rags-to-riches story!
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