Totally Broke to Millionaire – Real Life Motivating Stories to Rejuvenate Your Success
Why do we get all teary-eyed when we witness a person who has nothing to live for suddenly confront their difficulties and come out of it as a successful entrepreneur?
Is it because we put ourselves in their story?
Or do we hope that we too can come out of the plight that we are stuck in?
Whatever may be the case, one thing is certain – motivational stories serve as a guiding light and provide us with a path to our own lives.
And that’s why we bring you four such real and touching stories that will motivate you on your own successful journey.
MOTIVATIONAL STORIES AND HOW IT CAN BRING US BACK FROM THE DEAD
Motivation can’t be seen. Motivation can’t be heard. And motivation certainly can’t be touched.
Yet motivation is something human beings desire to shield them from the burden of their daily obstacles.
Going broke or being born into poverty isn’t something we can control.
But getting out of our bad situation is certainly under our control.
When we realize that there are survivors among us that have not only gone through dark days but have also become famous beacons of light for the masses, it truly makes us wonder – What their story is and how do we emulate them?
WHY BOTHER WITH MOTIVATION?
Imagine working with someone who has no passion to work. You watch him come to his desk every day and leave with no ounce of emotion.
Do you think that person is happy?
There is no inspiration behind his work. He is like a worker bee that goes out to gather honey and returns before daybreak to the hive.
An unfulfilling life is what it is.
Without motivation, a person has no soul behind the work he does. He is a slave to the job and the job is his prison.
A person can lack motivation for various reasons – lack of a good life, no family and friends, unable to land their dream job, etc.
Motivation adds a layer of performance to a person’s life that is unmatched by any other source. It gives you a drive and a reason to look forward to another day.
It provides the individual with a roadmap to his life and to plan his next move. It brings out the hidden innovation in you and provides a perspective to communicate with others.
Here is a great quote by Dwight D. Eisenhower – “Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”
The quote is powerful and simply signifies that every human being who is motivated will accomplish goals on their own free will without added pressure by another.
To put it in short, Motivation is the fuel to the human mind that ignites passion within themselves to do things they thought was impossible.
As human beings, we are drawn towards motivational stories like a moth is attracted to a lamp.
This is because humans are inherently looking to fill their life with happiness and hope.
Stories of hope provide us with a shield of protection against self-doubt and inaction.
We are motivated to perform the same deeds of the heroes we deem worthy.
Hence, motivational stories are considered as great accelerators for human growth and to regain our sanity.
WHAT MAKES FOR A GREAT MOTIVATIONAL STORY?
Imagine watching a movie about a broke person who suddenly managed to turn his life around through sheer will and dedication.
Now at the end of the movie, if you were to read the following message “Inspired by a true story”, your first action is to open Google and search for the real-life person that was enacted in the movie and then read about their story in detail.
What really makes their story so interesting and powerful?
A great motivational story must have the following elements to truly instill the viewer or reader with motivation.
- An origin to the person’s story
- A childhood filled with tough social issues
- A sense of despair to the story’s beginning
- The entire thought process of the person during and after their miserable phase
- The necessary skills and emotions they taught themselves to escape their hardships
- And finally, the happy ending
If one of the following core elements is missing, the story loses the motivational factor and provides no inspiration for the reader.
If a story was told about how a millionaire become a billionaire, the reader immediately loses interest in the story upon reading the title.
This is because the reader doesn’t relate to the millionaire’s wealthy life or feel bad for his situation as he is already rich, to begin with.
Keeping these elements in mind, we’ve compiled a series of four motivational stories to re-ignite your mind with inspiration and passion to commence your life in a meaningful way.
4 RAGS TO RICHES STORIES TO GUIDE YOUR INSPIRATIONAL JOURNEY
Every life is unique. Every struggle is unique.
And the eventual victory that comes with every life struggle is equally unique.
If someone told us the story of Cinderella and how a girl from the dumps managed to sway the eyes of a prince, we’d undoubtedly be thrilled but not excited. Excitement comes from real stories and not just fairy tales.
Real rags-to-riches stories demonstrate how a person beat the odds and managed to string together a remarkable story filled with tears and courage.
These stories bring us warmth and inspire us to persevere and change our lives.
Here are 4 such famous stories that seem impossible to believe.
1. Oprah Winfrey – The Queen of All Media
Before all the shutterbugs and the camera glare made it into her life, Oprah was born in a remote farm located in Mississippi.
She was raised by her grandmother and her mother, who was on welfare.
All her young years Oprah suffered from violence. She was born at a time when racial freedom was yet to break into mainstream society.
According to her own revelations, Oprah revealed truly gut-wrenching incidents that happened during her childhood –
- She wore potato sacks as the family couldn’t afford proper clothing and was nicknamed ‘Sack Girl’ by the neighborhood children
- Her only friends growing up were dolls made from dried corn cobs and pet insects
- At age 9, she was sexually abused by her 19-year old cousin on the pretext of buying her ice cream
- At age 14, she became pregnant and had a stillborn baby
- She was often sent to juvenile detention centers for getting into trouble
All this before she turned 18.
How many us would call ourselves unfortunate when opening our birthday gifts and not receiving what we wanted?
How many us would consider ourselves lucky to have a home and 3 meals to feed ourselves?
How many of us give up before trying again?
If a young girl born in an impoverished life can take the world by storm and be among the strongest women leaders, what’s is your excuse for not achieving greatness?
Do Oprah’s troubles finally end after her teenage years?
Let’s find out.
In 1976, Oprah was offered a job at Baltimore’s WJZ-TV. Soon after, she was fired for reasons according to the TV house being – “unfit for television news”.
Oprah was shattered but had the will of a lion and refused to back down. For years, she unsuccessfully tried to make it big in Television but was met with rejection at every corner.
Finally, in 1983, Oprah had the biggest break in her life in Chicago.
She was offered to host a small segment in WLS-TV’s low-rated morning talk show. Soon after Oprah took over, she began to improve the ratings of the show.
The people loved her, and the show went on to become the most watched talk show in all of Chicago.
Oprah had erupted into the mainstream limelight. She was asked to sign deals, and everyone wanted a piece of her fame.
Oprah decided to sign a deal with movie critic – Roger Ebert, on his TV show “At the Movies”.
The show was renamed to the now-popular “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, the rest is history.
The Oprah Winfrey Show was a huge success due to Oprah emphatic nature.
She loved listening to her audience and the world loved watching her interact with her guests with humor and compassion.
And that’s what made Oprah a worldwide phenomenon and a success story by all accounts.
Oprah Winfrey’s 9 Life Codes to Live By
Walking the success path left by Oprah isn’t a farfetched dream.
To achieve your vision and career-goals, follow these 9 rules that Oprah unflinchingly believes in her own life.
- An opportunity is a golden chance in life. Always seize it.
- Learn to forgive yourself and move on.
- Dreaming isn’t enough, learn to believe in yourself.
- If you fail, get up, dust yourself off and keep going.
- All people fail until they find a purpose in life.
- Learn to be humble, it helps you connect with people better.
- Doing the best at this moment puts your future in a better place.
- Failure is a stepping stone for greatness.
- Every wound can be converted into wisdom.
Oprah had decided very early on in her life about what were the most important things to achieve.
2. Larry Ellison – The Baron of Oracle
Larry Ellison was born in 1944 as an immigrant in New York City.
When he was only nine-months-old, Larry’s mother gave him away to be raised by her sister and her husband.
Larry was brought up by his aunt and uncle not knowing he was adopted until he was a teenager. Larry was a complicated child and would often get into arguments with his classmates and stepfather.
During his 2nd year at college, Larry’s adoptive mother had died, and this caused Larry to drop out of the university.
He gave education another shot when he enlisted in the University of Chicago, but he decided to drop out again.
Being a college dropout didn’t exactly paint the right picture in society and Larry had no direction to go in life.
Although joining college had one real benefit in Larry’s life – he was introduced to computer programming and was immediately fascinated by it.
Larry moved to California as the tech industry was booming. He would jump from job to job to pay for his livelihood and fund the books related to programming.
Larry spent months and years in teaching himself programming. At the age of 33, he joined Ampex corporation and was given a task to develop a database for the CIA.
This project was named “Oracle”. In the year 1977, Larry got in touch with his business partner – Bob Miner and started his company – Software Development Labs.
The company later went on to change several names before it settled to the now-famous “Oracle”.
By 1986, the company had gone public and Ellison owned 39% of the company’s shares, making him an instant millionaire. Oracle had grown from a $2000 startup into a marketing leader in database programming.
Larry’s name has appeared on Forbes’s top 5 wealthiest people in the world for many years.
As of 2019, Larry is estimated to be worth a whopping $64 billion.
If there was ever a time when a success story was needed to remind dropouts that education isn’t the “end all and be all”, Larry’s success story rings out loud and clear.
3 Remarkable Qualities That Made Larry Ellison a Powerhouse Leader
Right from a young age, Larry was determined to succeed. We learn from his story that he was a rebel and would argue his way through a conversation.
While this trait caused him to make fewer friends than he’d have liked, it also taught him the importance of standing up for himself.
Again, the quality of determination arises when he was fascinated by programming.
He lacked the resources to fund a formal education but that didn’t stop him from succeeding in creating a database programming company that shook the world.
Some of history’s well-known leaders such as – Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi were all determined, and this quality demonstrates a strong leadership trait that is required to tackle obstacles.
To pitch Larry as a great communicator would be the understatement of the year.
After all, the man gives several eloquent speeches in various podiums around the world. His topics range from technology, inspiration, business-development, and other areas of life.
In fact, Larry is such an impressive orator that his USC Commencement speech is widely considered to be one of the greatest speeches of all time.
Some of the points identified by Larry in the speech were –
- “At some point, it’s not about the money. At some point, you can’t spend all of it. Trust me, I’ve tried.”
- “You will change the world and the world will change you.”
- “Deep inside of all of us, there is a primal desire to do something important with our lives.”
- “Each of you has an obligation to commit to a righteous cause, one that improves the lives of humanity and the planet.”
The following points provided much-needed inspiration to many youngsters around the world. The students present at the speech were enthralled by hearing the words from the visionary himself.
Communication is an important feature to succeed. If you can’t convey your words into meaningful phrases, you’ll always fall short from achieving success.
That’s why it’s important to invest in personal development and improve your communication to be able to present to the world.
This quality doesn’t come as a surprise considering the brainchild of Larry – “Oracle” – is based on a history of innovations.
Let’s look at some of the innovations that Oracle has brought to the world –
- At the age of 73, Ellison unveiled the world’s first autonomous database cloud
- The database cloud offers technology such as — no human error, no human labor, no manual performance tuning
- Larry donated $200 million to create the “Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC” which deals in cancer prevention research
- To improve the popularity of tennis, Ellison is the owner of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden where software and technology are used to improve the sport of Tennis
These are simply a handful of Larry’s innovations throughout his lifetime.
Oracle began as a software company but has since integrated hardware capability with the acquisition of Sun Microsystems for $5.6 billion.
The innovation for growth hasn’t stopped and Ellison wishes that data should move at a faster pace.
For every leader, innovation is a key attribute that links the exploration of ideas and profits together.
Companies that never innovate are being overtaken by companies that continuously influence their products and plan strategically.
Innovation is a wealth creation tool and it’s no surprise that the baron of Oracle is a master innovator himself.
3. Chris Gardner – The Pursuit of Happiness
If you haven’t already seen the motivational movie starring Will Smith titled ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’, you might wonder why we misspelled the word – Happiness.
For those that have seen, we can’t forget the heart-breaking and emotional scene at the end of the movie.
But can Chris Gardner’s life be explained in a simple 2-hour movie?
We don’t believe so.
Chris Gardner as a kid
While the movie does highlight most of his adult life leading up to his success, Chris Gardner was very much acquainted with difficulties even as a kid.
Here are some of the main viewpoints of his life summarized.
- Gardner’s mother tried to burn their house down when he was just 8 years old. While he was sleeping inside
- Gardner’s stepfather was physically abusive to the entire family. He often beat the kids to the point they feared looking at him
- As a kid, he was taken into foster care many times. Many of his influences at the time were from people he met during this period
- Due to a rough childhood, Gardner got into an extremely bad phase of life where he even stole to survive
Chris Gardner as a young adult
Chris Gardner as a young adult enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as a hospital corpsman.
During this time, he was obsessed with surgical techniques and upon discharge, he was ready to make it big in life.
And just when things were looking up, disaster was looming large –
- Gardner’s medical career began to look grim with advanced techniques entering the field of medicine. He couldn’t spend 10 years learning the new techniques as he had a family to feed
- Gardner shifted through a host of jobs during his mid-twenties while preparing for fatherhood with his girlfriend, Jackie
- The amount of money he earned wasn’t enough to run the family and hence, he began to take two jobs to keep the family afloat
- Gardner and Jackie had a fallout with each other where the police were called in
- Chris and Jackie later had a baby boy named Chris Jr. who was soon to become a pivotal part of his dad’s journey
- Gardner spent the night in jail as he was unable to pay $1,200 in fines related to parking tickets
- Gardner claimed custody of his son after Jackie decided to make her way out of his life
- With no way to pay the bills, Gardner and his son were homeless and even spent a night in a public toilet by the train station
- Gardner and his son would live off by heading over to soup kitchens and slept in motels and even on public transport
Chris Gardner’s turnaround
One day, when Chris Gardner was returning from a sales call, he spotted a red Ferrari parked by the lane.
A well-dressed man came out of the car and Chris enquired about what he did for a career to be able to afford such a nice car.
The man stated he was a stockbroker. This was the turning point in his life.
Gardner applied for an internship at Dean Witter Reynolds and was guaranteed a position as an intern stockbroker but with no pay.
Gardner studied the world of stock and came up with a strict work schedule to gain all the experience from Dean Witter as he could.
He made around 200 calls to clients every day. With no formal education and a man who was homeless finally got the biggest breakthrough of his life – He managed to clear a Series 7 Exam held by the brokerage and was guaranteed a monthly income as a full-time employee at Dean Witter.
Gardner soon went on to work with Bear Stearns & Company. Gardner’s hard work had finally paid off in 1987 when he founded his own brokerage firm – Gardner Rich & Co in the fine city of Chicago.
Today, Chris Gardner is worth $60 million and is a well-known motivational speaker as well as an author, and investor.
Chris Gardner’s 4 Rules to Success
A success story doesn’t get any better than this – Homelessness to Millionaire.
Will Smith, the actor who portrayed Chris Gardner in the movie stated, ‘He was amazed and moved to tears when he read the script and didn’t think a real person could have lived through this hardship.’
Here are four success rules that made Chris Gardner a living legend in achieving success.
i. Have a Role Model
Every successful person has a mentor or a role model. Be it a parent or a guardian.
Mentors don’t necessarily have to be someone you talk to.
Reading a book of your favorite personality and emulating their success roadmaps is necessary to achieve greatness.
ii. Be Calm
Life is filled with stressful encounters every day. Staying calm, allows you to work your way out of a difficult situation.
It doesn’t matter how bad things are today, all that matters are – you have a passion and that it leads you to your successful destiny.
iii. Maintain your roots
Whether you’ve achieved success or you’re on your way to success, one thing that defines you is your past.
Never forget it.
Ensure to always remain humble and serve those who need assistance to the best of your efforts.
iv. Have a Goal
With no goal, a person wanders aimlessly into depression and finally, begins to destroy his life.
A goal enables a person to work towards it and always helps give him a sense of direction when life isn’t kind.
4. Walt Disney – Brainchild Behind the Disney Empire
The name ‘Disney’ is synonymous with animated cartoons. Many people still find it hard to believe that it was the genius of one person – Walt Disney.
But the man behind the fabled ‘Mickey Mouse’ had a tough time getting a production house to sign his characters. Let’s take a sneak peek into the past of Walt Disney and understand his life a bit better.
Walt Disney was born in Chicago in 1901. Walt and his family lived on a farm and his love for drawing began at the tender age of 4. His first exhibits were the farm animals and he’d emulate the cartoons he saw in the newspaper.
Walt’s first job at the age of 10 was offered to him by his father as a newspaper delivery boy. Walt was known to be up by 4:30 am to deliver papers and then head to school.
After school, it was back to delivering papers again until dusk. Although this affected his studies greatly, Walt continued to work for six years in his father’s newspaper delivery route.
As a young adult, Walt faced severe unemployment in Kansas City. Although he found brief success as an animator in an animation studio, it soon went bankrupt.
Walt decides to move on to animation shorts and began working in New York with a producer.
He faced several threats of losing his contract if he didn’t lower his fee, but Walt sternly declined and began to work on his own creations.
Around this time, Walt began to work on a certain character that would revolutionize the animation studios for decades to come.
He began to work on ‘Mickey Mouse’ and get a studio to sign the character. Many production houses refused but Walt didn’t give up. Walt finally managed to sign Mickey Mouse and began to produce Technicolor films in an era of silent films.
The result was – a phenomenal reception. Walt’s prized character had reached every home and was soon resonating in the living rooms of every family around the world. He even received an academy award for creating ‘Mickey Mouse’.
By the 1960s, Walt Disney was a bankable name in the family entertainment business.
Several characters he created such as ‘Snow White’, ‘Goofy’, and ‘Donald Duck’ were favorably received by the public.
Now if we were in Walt’s shoes during his struggling years, our first instinct upon being rejected is to toss our own creations into the trash.
But Walt Disney demonstrated that he believed in his creations even when there weren’t any takers and through sheer will and grit, he created an empire out of the entertainment industry.
Here are 3 Exceptional Characteristics of Walt Disney to Emulate Into Our Professional Lives
Not just as an individual but simplicity was the base foundation of Walt Disney.
Many of his characters were made from animals such as — a mouse, a duck, a dog, etc. He took the simplest of ideas and created a global phenomenon.
Walt would search for inspiration in the most unexpected of places and one of his cartoons ‘Steamboat Willie’ was created when he watched a lot of mice gather around by his trashcan located in his office.
Walt believed in keeping the idea simple so that the audience would easily understand what he was trying to convey.
2. Take Risks
Walt Disney wasn’t a stranger to failures during his struggling days. To fund the first sound cartoon, he had to sell his car.
While many of us are attached to our assets, Walt Disney believed in achieving success rather than holding on to materialistic possessions.
When he created Disneyland, there was a massive amount of risk riding on his shoulders. If the business had failed, he’d have to certainly file for bankruptcy due to the huge costs he’d have acquired.
Currently, Disneyland is one of the biggest theme parks in the world that brings in billions of dollars in revenue.
All of this because one man decided to take risks and skip the comfortable path.
3. Invest in New Technology
Walt Disney was an innovator. At a time in the 1920s when the world was used to silent films and black & white films were the norm.
He went on to publish Technicolor cartoons with sound that revolutionized the way animation was created. In fact, every animation studio today owes it to Walt Disney for the gutsy gamble that he managed to pull off.
Walt also went on to create the very first full-feature animation ‘Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs’.
Not only did it amaze kids the world over, but businesses soon followed the feature-film animated business instead of relying on animation shorts.
THE SUCCESSFUL CHEATSHEET TO FOLLOW TO TAKE US DOWN THE MILLIONAIRE PATH
A simple list of successful tips taken from the article to carry with you for instant motivation.
- Money isn’t the end goal to become successful. It simply serves as a tool.
- Surround yourself with successful people and role models.
- Innovation is one of the quickest paths to success.
- The best investment is spent on upgrading your abilities.
- Failure is simply a staircase to success.
- The biggest risk is never taking a risk.
- A financial plan is a must for every productive person.
- Look to increase your streams of income.
- Always look to spend less than half of what you earn. The rest goes into investing.
- Wake up early and breath the fresh air. That’s the smell of a new day for you to be successful at.
- Determination is a strong feature. It helps you shed all the negativity around you.
- The ability to communicate is invaluable in modern
- Never miss out on an opportunity. It could change your life.
- Believe in yourself along the journey. It’s a shortcut to success.
- Milestones breakdown your large goals into workable priorities.
- Most importantly – Have fun.
We assume successful people are lucky souls that are born with a silver spoon in their mouths.
It’s only when we walk in their shoes that we realize we were better off than from where they started.
A successful person is not someone who makes the right moves in life, a successful person is someone who makes a lot of wrong moves but learns from these mistakes and proceeds with the right ones.
“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak.”
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