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Amazing Examples of Successful People Overcoming Adversity


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Every leader has struggled, each in their own way, to get to where they are. So, here are just some examples of famous people who overcame adversity and rose to fame anyway.

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Amazing Examples of Successful People Overcoming Adversity

  1. 1. Amazing Examples of Successful People Overcoming Adversity By David Kiger Image courtesy of Róbert Kiss at
  2. 2. Everyone talks about famous historical and modern day inventors, scientists, creators and actors and their success stories. But the reality is that to get to where they are today, they have had to overcome be it personal or professional adversities. Most would argue that they are actually great because of the things that they have been able to overcome and bounce back from. You could read more about the most inspirational leaders in history on the David Kiger SlideShare page, and see for yourself that almost every leader has struggled, each in their own way, to get to where they are. So, here are just some examples of famous people who overcame adversity and rose to fame anyway.
  3. 3. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd president of the United States of America. Commonly known as FDR, he was president from 1933 to 1945, and in those years became one of the most memorable presidents of the country. His political career was not sidetracked due to the fact he was left paralyzed after being diagnosed with polio in 1921. He was vacationing in Canada and fell ill, which unfortunately left him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Even though he stayed off the path of politics for a few years, he decided to start a resort at Warm Springs, which was founded to help polio patients with hydrotherapy. It actually still operates today. He tried in previous years to continuing with his political career to convince people he had improved and trained himself to stand or even walk a little. He later on became the Governor of New York and then president. He had the harsh task to overcome World War II and make some hard decisions in his fight with Japan.
  4. 4. Van Gogh is a clear example of someone who despite only selling one painting in his lifetime, painted over 2100 pieces. He is definitely proof that if you truly believe in yourself, sometimes it goes beyond external validation. Vincent Van Gogh born in 1853, passed away in 1890 at 37 years. He unfortunately went through years of poverty and mental illness, but continued painting until he decided to take his own life. Some say his art was too much for him to handle, but after his suicide his paintings began to get the recognition they deserved.
  5. 5. Stephen King is one of the most famous and recognized contemporary suspense and horror authors of our time. Although most may not know that King had a rocky start, he didn’t initially sell thousands of copies, in fact his first manuscript didn’t even get in the door of many publishers. He was actually rejected by more than 30 publishers. King literally got to the point of throwing out his manuscript in the garbage, but his wife helped him with a boost and took it out of the trash and convinced to give it one more go. The book that got him his first four million copies in paperback was Carrie in 1974.
  6. 6. Jim Carrey, the famous comedian, made it big. But before he did, he went through a lot of personal issues that built his character. When he was 15, he saw himself in the need to support his family and dropped out of school to do it. It even got to the point of them living in a van, but Carrey was convinced that he could make it as a comedian and after fighting for his dreams, and going to comedy clubs in Toronto, he finally made it. He is now recognized as one of the biggest comedic sensations of our time.
  7. 7. Bill Gates is yet another example of a truly successful person who was faced with certain business decisions and made the wrong call initially. Even though, Gates’ net worth is approximately $78.3 billion, his initial business ventures were not that successful. His first company, Traf-O-Data, was dedicated to reading and processing information from traffic tapes. It failed miserably to the point that when they tried to sell it, it wouldn’t even work. Despite this, Gates and his partner did not give up, and instead used this as a springboard to motivate them to launching Microsoft’s first product a few years later.
  8. 8. Some may know Bethany Hamilton from the movie that was based on her life story, Soul Surfer. Hamilton was an up and coming surfer with big dream, when at the age of 13 she suffered a deadly shark attack, which left her without her left arm. Despite the loss of her limb, she was surfing again one month later and even went on to win first place in the Explorer Women’s Division of the NSSA national Championships. This young woman has truly inspired thousands of young athletes and girls to push through adversity and continue to believe and eventually accomplish their dreams. She still competes to this day and even won 1st place in the Surf ‘n’ Sea Pipeline Women’s Pro in 2014, and the 3rd place in the Fiji Women’s Pro in 2016. She truly is inspirational and is a clear example of overcoming adversity in life and professionally.