We know their names, their faces and their claim to fame. Celebrities and famous people all over the world enjoy our devoted attention through the television and on the Internet. We are always up to date on their recent activities. However, do we know how they lived before the success? Some of them went through tremendous difficulty before they achieved their dreams. Here are 15 inspirational stories of famous people who became successful through perseverance and grit.

Henry Ford

His name is synonymous with one of the most famous American automobile companies. Henry Ford invented the assembly line and forever changed production in industries. He is well known for his success. However, before his motor company took off, Henry had tried out other types of businesses and failed miserably. As a matter of fact, he had gone bankrupt a total of 5 times before finally making it with the Ford Motor Company.

Walt Disney

Children all over the world sing along with cartoon characters created by this famous man. For almost one hundred years, the characters in the Disney Universe have entertained and educated children. Few know of Mr. Disney's failures before he found fame and fortune. He had been fired from his first employment at the Kansas City Star because his cartoons were not creative enough. He didn't give up on his ambition and through Mickey Mouse and other iconic characters, Mr. Walt Disney created a cartoon universe and a global company as well. Interestingly, his company bought the Kansas City Star later on.

Albert Einstein

No other name in human history has been associated with intellectual achievement like Albert Einstein's. Widely regarded as the father of physics, Albert is a scientific celebrity all over the world. In his early days, nobody thought he would grow into a genius. Albert did not talk until he was 4 years old. He also could not read until he was 7. His parents and teachers thought he was mentally handicapped. He was once expelled from school for the same reason and also denied entry into the Zurich Polytechnic School. Through enterprise and interest in science, he found a place in the educational institutions and rose to become the scientist we know today.

Vincent Van Gogh

'Starry Night' is the title of one of his most famous paintings. Van Gogh was a gifted painter who produced amazing works of art. During his time, his work was terribly unappreciated. It is said that he only ever sold one of his paintings to a close friend. Van Gogh was often very poor and lived from hand to mouth. He also suffered from paranoid schizophrenia throughout much of his later life. Despite the challenges, Van Gogh painted constantly. His work was only appreciated after his death. Today his paintings are sold for millions of dollars apiece.

Steven Spielberg

He is a legendary Hollywood director whose movies gross millions at the box office. Interestingly, Steven was rejected from the Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television a total of three times. He did not give up. He went on to enroll at California State University in Long Beach. After some time, he dropped out and decided to teach himself how to direct. Today, we enjoy breathtaking cinematic pieces directed by him.

Bill Gates

Many people know him as the richest man in the world. Few know that his first product was an epic failure. Bill and a friend named Paul Allen created a device that could read traffic data and interpret it. They called it Traf-O-Data. When they went to market, their device had multiple malfunctions and was a failure. Instead of giving up, the dynamic duo went back to the drawing board and Microsoft was born. The rest is history.

Bethany Hamilton

Are you scared of sharks? Bethany came face to face with one and still got in the waters again. When she was 13, Bethany Hamilton was surfing and got attacked by a shark. It chewed off her left arm but she survived. Believe it or not, Bethany was back in the waters one month later. In two years, she was the overall winner in the Explorer Women's Division in the NSSA National competition. Her grit and determination were simply impressive.

Benjamin Franklin

One of the founding fathers of the United States of America and a renown inventor, Benjamin Franklin ended his formal education at only 10 years old. His parents could only afford to educate him until that point. Fueled by determination, Benjamin educated himself through reading books at the library. Eventually, he invented the lightning rod, bifocal glasses and founded one of the greatest nations in the history of the world.

Richard Branson

Well known to have dyslexia, Richard performed very poorly in his classroom education. He failed most of his exams and was considered a challenged student. Instead of focusing on his inability to study, he focused on his charming personality. Through grit and discipline, Richard founded a magazine, a recording studio and eventually the airline that he is well known for, Virgin Atlantic. He is now the fourth most wealthy individual in the United Kingdom.

Stephen King

If you faced rejection multiple times, would you give up? Stephen did. His first novel was rejected by the publishers 30 times and in frustration, he threw it in the bin. His wife Tabitha picked it up and encouraged Stephen to finish it. He agreed and the first novel known as 'Carrie' came into existence. It was received with widespread acclaim. Mr. King continued to write thrillers and mystery novels that have captured the imaginations of readers across the globe. They have also been made into classic motion pictures.

Elvis Presley

The King of Rock faced significant challenges and frustration before he became successful. In 1954, Elvis performed at the Grand Ole Opry. After a cold reception, manager Jimmy Denny threw him out of the venue. He even added that Elvis should simply go back to driving trucks for a living. Down but not out, Elvis kept trying until he signed with a major record label. He went on to release timeless classics such as 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' and became a rock and roll icon.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

He was the 32nd president of the United States of America. During his tenure, he was right in the middle of world politics. Having led the nation from March 1933 to April 1945, he guided the USA through economic depression and the Second World War. Franklin became partially paralyzed at age 39 after contracting polio in Canada. Eventually, the disease left him paralyzed from the waist down. Despite being confined to a wheel chair, he kept leading the nation with strength and determination. Today, he is one of the most respected presidents in the history of the USA.

Jim Carrey

He is a widely known comedian who has cracked us up with his roles in movies such as 'Ace Ventura', 'The Mask', 'Number 23' and 'Bruce Almighty'. Before he was famous, Jim and his family were struggling. He dropped out of school at the age of 15 so that he could support his family. His father was a musician who did not have a job. They were so poor that they all lived in a van. He suffered a lot but never gave up on his dream of being a comedian. He attended comedy clubs in Toronto with his father and eventually got picked for a show. He made it in Hollywood and became one of the most iconic comedians.

J.K. Rowling

She is the author behind the Harry Potter book series and the Hogwarts Universe. Her books have been bought all over the world. They have also been adapted into blockbuster movies. Despite her roaring success, J.K. Rowling was once so poor that she had to depend on welfare. She was divorced, dirt poor, depressed and taking care of one child. When she took the first manuscript of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone', it was rejected a total of 12 times by Bloomsbury London publishers. Eventually, the book was published and it opened the gates of fortune for the author. Today, she is one of the richest women in the world.

Oprah Winfrey

Everyone knows her. Her name is synonymous with talk shows. She is the queen of television talk shows and the richest woman in the world. Oprah Winfrey overcame tragic tribulation in her life to achieve success. Growing up in Milwaukee, her family was so poor that she wore sacks as clothing. She was also abused by members of her family. After running away from home at age 14, Oprah delivered a baby boy who died after birth. She didn't give up and went to public schools where she excelled. With the assistance of scholarships, Oprah went on to attend college and majored in journalism. One thing led to another and now she is in charge of a media empire that is worth $2.9 billion dollars.

The Important Take Away

Grit and perseverance are necessary to achieve greatness. The famous people indicated above overcame great challenges to achieve success. Painful memories and experiences light a fire of inspiration that no one can put out. Be inspired by their stories and create your own legend of achievement.