7 Famous People Who Will Inspire You to Never Give Up

You have to be in it to win it. This old phrase is a cliche for a reason. The only way to beat adversity is to keep pushing yourself and never give up.

You might be ready to give up for different reasons. Maybe you are finding work really stressful or are getting bullied. Maybe you’ve been wanting to switch industries but haven’t been able to make any headway. You might even have suffered a major setback and can’t see how you can move forward.

Overcoming these obstacles can be frustrating, tiring, and painful. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel. These challenges can make you a stronger person and prepare you for whatever else will come at you.

Meet these 7 celebrities who overcame their own personal challenges and made it to the next level.

Dylan Alcott

Dylan Alcott is one of the most successful athletes in Australia. As a baby, Dylan was left paralysed after a tumour that was wrapped around his spine at birth was removed. Despite this setback at the start of his life, Dylan has gone on to win:

  • Gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing with the Australian mens’ wheelchair basketball team
  • Two gold medals in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in the Men’s wheelchair singles and doubles
  • The Australian Open 4 years in a row (2015-2018)

When he is not excelling at sport, Dylan is host on Triple J radio and a motivational speaker. He also managed to get on stage to rap alongside members of the Wu-Tang Clan. Clearly, he has let nothing get in his way of achieving his dreams.

J.K. Rowling

@JournoStephen Surprised but delighted to run into you in London

A post shared by J.K. Rowling (@jkrowlingoffical) on

The beloved writer of Harry Potter and the first billionaire author, J.K. Rowling didn’t always have literary success. Her initial drafts for Harry Potter were rejected 12 times by publishers before finally being accepted. She also famously wrote these first drafts while subsisting on welfare describing herself as being as “poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.”

The K in her name isn’t supposed to be there. Joanne Rowling used the pen-name J.K. Rowling to avoid being unfairly judged for being a female author. She was told to use her initials and used Kathleen – the name of her grandmother – to fill in for her non-existent middle name.

Bill Gates

As one of the richest men in the world, it can sometimes be hard to imagine a time when Bill Gates didn’t have it all and was struggling in the world of business and computers. His first company however – Traf-O-Data – was a total bust. The device was supposed to read the data from traffic tapes but when Gates tried to demonstrate how it worked, it completely failed. This embarrassing start might have held him back but instead it helped him to eventually start the project that would become Microsoft.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is one of the most famous TV personalities around. She is the epitome of the extravagant but relatable daytime TV host. Years before she would go on to give a car to him, and her, and everybody else she had to overcome some incredible challenges.

Oprah had an awful childhood suffering sexual abuse at the hands of her uncle, cousin, and family friend. Born to a teenage mother, Oprah gave birth to a son when she was just 14 years old. Tragically, her son died shortly afterwards. She also lost her first job as a television anchor in Baltimore after being accused of being too emotionally invested in her stories. Oprah refused to let these issues set her back and went on to be one of the most successful day-time TV hosts ever with a net worth of more than $2.5 billion.

Steven Spielberg

Rejected by the University of Southern California’s School of Film, Theatre, and Television (THREE TIMES). As you know the acclaimed director – whose name is almost synonymous with great films – went on to make Jaws, E.T. and Schindler’s List. Luckily for Steve, USC realised their mistake and awarded him an honorary masters degree in 1994. By 1996 he was made a trustee of the same university.

Spielberg is one of the most successful directors of all time and is considered one of the founding fathers of the Modern Hollywood movement. His dedication to the art of filmmaking and his resulting success is proof of why you should never give up.

Michelle Payne


Although Michelle didn’t need to overcome a debilitating illness or experience a tragedy, she did have her own great obstacle to face. As a female jockey, she went up against 155 years worth of Melbourne Cup history that said it was no place for women riders. In 2015, however she rode straight through the glass ceiling by not only competing in the “race that stops a nation” but winning it on her horse, Prince of Penzance.

Richard Branson

The mega successful founder of Virgin Group which includes Virgin Records and Virgin Airways didn’t find success easily. Branson initially found it difficult to succeed at school due to his dyslexia and was told at 16 by his headmaster that he would either end up in prison … or a millionaire.

As you know Branson ended up a millionaire (several times over) and is currently predicted to be worth $5.1 billion. Branson is a great example of why you should never give up when trying to realise your dreams. Although Virgin Records was a success, other ventures such as Virgin Cola and Virgin Clothing were not so well received. His company bounced back however. The Virgin Group has most recently branched into space travel and hopes to be the first company to offer luxury trips to outer space.

Never Give Up

Achieving your dreams can be hard – especially when you keep getting rejected or worse, not even being told you aren’t getting there. It’s important to bear in mind that these setbacks are part of what make life life. Without these little bumps in the road, it would all become meaningless and easy. Like a video game on the easiest setting.

Keep reaching for that next job, or that raise or for your next big idea. It’s important to never give up because your big break might just be right around the corner.

Who knows, I might need to update this list to include you!

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