Inspirational Individuals Who Overcame Obstacles

Everyone seems to enjoy and appreciate learning how well-known people from all walks of life have overcome obstacles to achieve their current level of success. Over the years, I’ve compiled a number of short anecdotes that have provided inspiration and motivation in times of need. I shared a few of these narratives in the newsletter feature on our web site. The response was such that we continued to add these short inspirational pieces. We currently have a total of seven segments under the title: When the Going Get Tough:

Within those seven segments, you’ll find a total of 41 short, interesting, anecdotes that will certainly add a little inspiration and encouragement to your daily grind. There is much to be learned from observing the efforts of others as they strive to succeed. We feature snipets concerning both individuals and organizations. For instance, you’ll find such well known characters as:

  • Lucille Ball
  • Jay Leno
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Sam Walton
  • Garth Brooks
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • The Beatles
  • Katie Couric
  • Ben Franklin
  • Beethoven
  • Thomas Edison
  • Sigmund Freud

We also feature a variety of organizations including:

  • Xerox
  • Home Depot
  • The Gap
  • Fed-Ex
  • Kinko’s

For the convenience of our blog readers, we’ve decided to continue this feature within these pages. We encourage you to visit these earlier anecdotes.

In the future, all additions to this series will appear here on the blog for your convenience. Share these stories with your children and grandchildren as there is much to learn from the tribulations and triumphs of those who have attained great notoriety. Current and future leaders can also benefit from revisiting these interesting revelations.

For our first blog installment in this series, we offer the following narratives.

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens worked in a London factory pasting labels on bottles of shoe polish. He later became one of the most popular authors of all time, producing such well-known novels as A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Great Expectation, Oliver Twist, and A Tale of Two Cities. Can you imagine working in that factory every day next to a fellow employee possessing that kind of potential? You may very well be doing just that right now.

Hank Williams

Hank Williams spent his early childhood selling peanuts, shining shoes, delivering newspapers and doing other simple jobs as he moved frequently throughout southern Alabama with his mother and sister. He was born with a mild undiagnosed case of spina bifida, a disorder of the spinal column, which gave him life-long pain—a factor in his later abuse of alcohol and drugs. He later became one of the greatest country and western singer-guitarist-songwriters in history! He also become an icon of country music and rock ‘n’ roll, and was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. A leading exponent of the honky tonk style, he had numerous hit records, and his charismatic performances and succinct compositions increased his fame. He was the first performer to receive six encores at the Grand Ole Opry, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Academy of Country Music, and has received a vast number of Grammy awards for his work. His songbook is one of the backbones of country music, and several are pop standards as well. He has been covered in a range of pop, gospel, blues and rock styles. His premature death at the age of 29 helped fuel his legend.

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling’s first marriage to a Portuguese television journalist ended in divorce after less than one year. She then moved with her infant daughter to Edinburgh, Scotland, where she lived on welfare benefits in an apartment infested with mice. It’s hard to believe that in under 10 years someone can go from surviving off of government assisted living to becoming one of the richest people in the world. She did so by creating the Harry Potter teenage wizard book series, selling over 350 million copies in 55 languages, including Latin and Ancient Greek. Rowling has parlayed Harry Potter into a global brand worth an estimated $15 billion. She is the 136th richest person in the world and the thirteenth richest woman in Britain. Forbes Magazine named her the 2nd richest female entertainer in the world and the 48th most powerful celebrity. She’s one of only five self-made female billionaires and the first billion-dollar author. The empire has grown to include movies, toys, videos, clothing, Band-Aids, cologne, and even gross-out Jelly Belly beans infused with such Hogwarts flavors as earwax, dirt and booger.

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

3 thoughts on “Inspirational Individuals Who Overcame Obstacles

  1. Thanks for that really informative and well-written look into their lives. Hank Williams IS an icon of country music and rock ‘n’ roll and his name needs to be known by all fans of music. Just like you said, he has been covered in a range of pop, gospel, blues and rock styles… his influence is alive and well today! If you like Hank, I am working with Lone Star 92.5 and they play Hank plus Hank Jr. AND Hank III!
    They play old and new and almost everything can be traced back to good ‘ole Hank. 🙂
    Find them here:
    What do you think about the site?

  2. Their survival stories are inspirational and motivational.

    Staying positive is easier with a series of achieved goals, and a positive attitude can do wonders for the motivation of a person. Setting a goal is one thing, but staying motivated and on track is the key to ultimately achieving the goal and setting even higher goals to go after.

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