People who made inspiring life changes

I love inspirational stories from people who have achieved great things by following their dreams no matter what. Imagine what a different world it would be if there was no Walt Disney, no Star Wars, no Beethoven symphonies. These have all been created by people who faced numerous rejections yet refused to listen to the negative people who said, “you can’t”. Or imagine if someone like Oprah had listened to the critics instead of her heart. The world would truly be missing out on some of it’s greatest creations and inspirational people.

Some of my favorite inspirational stories

Francis O’Dea – You’ve probably never heard of Francis O’Dea but if you live in Canada, you’re probably very familiar with the coffee house company, “Second Cup”.

Francis grew up in Toronto, was sexually abused at age 13 and around that time starting drinking. Life quickly went downhill and before long he was homeless. He had to beg for change in order to survive. For 6 months he lived on the streets with no clue as to what he wanted to do or how to change his life. Today, Francis O’Dea is a multi millionaire. As he says,

One year I was broke, the next year I was a millionaire.

He changed his life by focusing on what he wanted. He got a job and slowly started to turn his life around.

Four years later he opened a little coffee shop and called it “Second Cup”. Second Cup is now one of the largest coffee shop chains in Canada.

  • Wayne Gretzky
    Wayne Gretzky has been quoted as saying, “It’s kind of ironic when I broke in at 17, I was told I was too small, too slow and I wouldn’t make the NHL.” He’s now recognized as one of the greatest hockey players ever.
  • George Lucas
    George Lucas spent four years sending the script for Star Wars around to the various studios and racking up numerous rejections in the process. Universal Studios and United Artist both both turned him down. Finally an executive from 20th Century Fox who had seen his American Graffiti film and had been impressed by that decided to give him a chance with his Star Wars. The film was made for $11 million dollars and was released in 1977. Since then the original Star Wars trilogy has grossed over 2.4 billion dollars. If he’d let his negative inner voice get to him he would never have ended up having the highest grossing film of all time.
  • Einstein
    Was considered an “unteachable” fool by his early teachers.
  • Michael Jordan
    Was cut from his high school basketball team. Michael Jordan quote, “I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.”
  • Bob Parsons
    Founder and CEO of He had a blog posting one time where he spoke about what he overcame in the pursuit of his dreams. Unfortunately, he’s taken it down now but from reading that posting, I learned he definitely wasn’t an overnight success and experienced a lot of failure on the way. But, he kept his vision in his mind at all times and said, “I spent very little time looking back or feeling sorry for myself.” Another awesome quote from the blog posting was, “Quitting is easy. The easiest thing to do in the world is to quit and give up on your dreams (and quite frankly, that’s what all the non-risk takers want you to do).”It’s too bad he took his blog posting down. It was a good one. Anyway, instead, you can read his 16 Rules which has some pretty good advice for all of us.
  • Beethoven
    Beethoven’s music teacher told him he was a hopeless composer.
  • Colonel Sanders (creator of Kentucky Fried Chicken)
    Was told “No” by over a thousand restaurants for more than a year while he lived in his car trying to sell his chicken recipe.
  • Thomas Edison
    I’m sure you’ve heard of Thomas Edison and all the inventions he created. He’s actually known as one of the most prolific inventors in history holding 1,093 U.S. patents as well as a lot of patents in the UK, France and Germany. When Thomas was 4 he was sent home from school with a note. The note told his mother that he was to remove his son from school because he was “too stupid to learn”. Thomas’ mother decided to teach him herself. He only had 3 months of formal schooling yet went on to create numerous inventions like the phonograph. He was also partially deaf in one ear. There is some controversy as to what he invented and what Nikola Tesla invented, (See more info at this link: Nikola Tesla) but he still managed to be successful even with the lack of support from the formal school system.
  • Walt Disney
    Was turned down by over a hundred banks when he tried to get funding to develop Disneyland. He was also fired from his job at a newspaper for “lacking ideas”. He also had several bankruptcies before he was able to develop Disneyland.

Know Any More Inspirational Stories?

What are your favorite inspirational stories? If you have some or even one, send it to me via my contact form. I’d love to keep adding to the list.

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