15 Men Who Tasted Success Only After The Sting of Defeat
The hallmarks of successful men are often universal. A good work ethic, cleverness, a willingness to experiment and thinking outside the box are all quite common among the world’s most prosperous. However, not everyone tastes success on their first try. These 15 men failed miserably, some several times, before grabbing the brass ring and finding their path to fame and fortune. Our selections are in no particular order.
1. Donald Trump
Although now worth over 3.5 billion dollars, Donald Trump had to file for bankruptcy several times before clawing his way to the top. Investments made in a casino didn’t pan out as planned, and several other business ventures failed before he made his mark as a real estate maven in the Big Apple.
Since achieving success, The Donald has branched out in reality television with his series The Apprentice, owns his own Scottish golf course, and has other businesses ranging from apartment buildings to ice cream parlors. Trump also backs the Miss Universe beauty pageant, has authored a political tome, and may even run for president in the future. Not too bad for a guy who was one over 900 million dollars in debt and bankrupt!
2. Walt Disney
The man behind the Happiest Place on Earth had his share of disappointments before making it big. He dropped out of high school to enlist, only to be declined due to his young age. His first two business ventures failed and resulted in bankruptcy.
Throughout all of the adversity, Disney never gave up on achieving his goals in animation, voice acting and producing. He finally found wide-spread acclaim with the help of a silly animated mouse he named Mickey. The rest, they say, is history.
3. Stephen King
The Master of Horror was no stranger to disappointment in his younger years. Raised by a single mother in an era where this was considered quite shameful, King received so many rejection slips that he had an entire box full of them by the time he graduated from the University of Maine at Orono.
He approached over 30 publishers about an novel idea he had, and was rejected by every one. It was only the encouragement of his wife, fellow novelist Tabitha King, that caused him to finish his breakout novel Carrie. She had rescued his first fledgling attempts from the trash can. They were living in a rented trailer at the time, and King wrote the novel tucked into the laundry area with a typewriter balanced on his knees.
The paperback rights sold for 400 thousand dollars and launched a career that placed King among the wealthiest writers in the world. His perseverance is what got him where he is today, which is a lesson every man can learn from and appreciate.
4. Ray Kroc
You may not be familiar with his name, but we can almost guarantee that you are familiar with his brainchild, fast food franchise McDonald’s. As a young man, Kroc tried his hand at being a jazz musician, playing the piano for tips and even tried selling paper cups. None of these ventures panned out and Kroc had lost his confidence.
However, an employer took a chance on him and hired him to sell milkshake machines. This is where Kroc finally gained the experience and confidence necessary to make himself successful. He scraped together every penny he had to buy the rights to McDonald’s, and then franchised it out in every town he could. The business grew exponentially, and Kroc’s estate’s net worth stands at over 500 million dollars.
5. Milton Hershey
The Hershey brand of chocolate and candies is know world-wide, but the man who started it all had quite a rough start. Raised on a farm and the only surviving child in his family, he quit school at only 14 years old because his parents had moved him around so much that he’d fallen behind in coursework. He tried his hand at being a printer’s apprentice, but the work was long, backbreaking and boring. Later, he became an apprentice to a candy maker and found his true calling.
However, his first attempt to form his own candy business failed due to lack of sales. Undeterred, he tried again. At an event, he witnessed German machinery that could make huge quantities of rich, milky chocolate. He eagerly purchased some of the machines and began to make a name for himself at last.
Although Hershey passed away over 65 years ago, his legacy lives on with a booming chocolate and candy empire, a school for orphans located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and a theme park that bears his name.
6. Thomas Edison
While not raised in abject poverty like some of the other men listed here, Edison’s struggles as a child and young man were concentrated in his constitution. While still a boy, he suffered through countless ear infections that robbed him of all hearing in one ear and may have severely damaged the other. He also contracted scarlet fever and nearly died.
His fortune turned, however, when he saved a child from being struck by a train and was offered a job as telegraph operator. He began to tinker, and before long had invented a recording machine, a phonograph, and a host of other inventions, some of which are still in use today. He was known to try and fail at creating a working prototype thousands of times before perfecting it, and this dogged determination is what earned him his place in the history books.
7. Bill Gates
Gates is the name on everyone’s lips when it comes to discussing the rise and explosion of computer technology, yet his first few attempts were absolute failures. Born into a prosperous family and a student at Harvard, Gates dropped out to pursue his passion with computers. He originally teamed up with a friend, Paul Allen, and they launched a business called Traf-O-Data.
This attempt failed miserably and Gates was distraught. However, the duo tried again and named their new venture something you may have heard of: Microsoft. Credited with leading the way in computers, Gates is now thought to be worth over 72 billion dollars. Not bad for a college dropout!
8. Harland Sanders
Who doesn’t like a big, juicy piece of friend chicken with 11 herbs and spices? Apparently, 1009 restaurants didn’t care for it. That is the number of times Sanders’ recipe was rejected before he could gain traction. Now one of the largest and most successful fast food establishments in the country, KFC regularly turns over revue in excess of 15 billion dollars a year.
As for Sanders, he sold his interest in the business in 1964 for two million dollars, retired to signing autographs, and lived to be 90 years old. Persistence paid off for the Colonel, despite an overwhelming amount of rejections.
9. Albert Einstein
When Einstein was a toddler, his family and teachers thought he might be mentally handicapped. He didn’t speak until he was four years old, and his instructors at school thought he would never amount to anything. He didn’t learn to read until he was seven, causing even more speculation that he was a special needs child in a time where terms such as ‘retarded’ and ‘idiot’ were used to describe such conditions.
Things looked bleak for young Albert. However, as he grew, his intelligence began to assert itself in a way others could understand. His ideas were so radical and outlandish he was often laughed out of classes as a young man. His brilliance soon became apparent, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1921. He is now considered the father of modern physics and scholars today still haven’t decoded all of his notes.
10. Abraham Lincoln
The 16th president of the United States just couldn’t catch a break when he was young. Born in a one-room cabin and raised in poverty, he went off to war a captain and returned at the lowest rank possible as a private. He had four sons and three of them died. Numerous business ventures failed, and he lost in several elections for various posts.
It was only when he ran for president that he found success and became one of the most respected and revered presidents in the history of the nation.
11. Ted Geisel
The man who wrote under the silly pen name Dr Seuss is beloved the world over for his fanciful and colorful children’s books. He received a wonderful education, eventually earning a PhD in English Literature from Lincoln College, but was roundly dismissed by over 27 publishers before finally selling his first book.
After that, his career followed a meteoric path that included over 60 books that have been translated into more than 20 languages. He also won a Pulitzer and two Emmy awards. The publishers who passed him up must still be kicking themselves.
12. Jack London
Another writer of great fame and fortune on our list, London did not have an easy start in life. Raised by an ex-slave and a mentally deranged mother, his father denied him and told his mother to abort him. His father’s further denial devastated London so much that, after receiving the letter from the man he’d believed to be his father denying paternity, he dropped out of school and went to the Klondike.
The weather was bitter and the land inhospitable. He got scurvy and had a drinking problem, but London fell in love with this harsh land. He began to write stories, using the Klondike as his setting. He was rejected by over 600 publications before receiving an acceptance. He went on to publish over 20 novels and countless short stories, and is credited as one of the greatest American writers to even put pen to paper.
13. Michael Jordan
Lauded now as one of the greatest basketball players ever, Jordan did not grow to his impressive 6’6″ height until late in high school. His unimpressive stature led him to be refused a spot on the varsity basketball team, causing him to lock himself in his bedroom and cry. However, Jordan was not a quitter. He wowed everyone with an impressive showing on the junior varsity team, and when he grew taller he kept on impressing everyone with his work ethic, talent and teamwork skills.
He is a two-time Olympic gold medal winner, a gold medalist in the Pan Am Games, a six-time MVP, and a six-time NBA Champion, among scores of other accolades and awards. His fighting spirit and willingness to commit himself to his goals are lessons that Jordan hopes to pass on through various charity causes and speaking engagements in which he is involved. His net worth is estimated at 650 million dollars, with an annual income of 80 million from endorsements, appearance fees, and smart investments.
14. Franklin Roosevelt
Imagine all the stress and exhaustion that comes with being named the President of the United States. Think of all the late nights, speeches, appearances and interviews that running for the position requires, and everything that is demanded once sworn in. Now, imagine doing all of that suffering from post-polio syndrome and being paralyzed from the waist down in an era where people with disabilities were referred to as ‘the afflicted’ or ‘invalids’.
Roosevelt wasn’t having any of that sympathy nonsense. He continued to campaign and preside over the nation in grand style for 12 years and four terms, spearhead the creation of what became The March of Dimes, and put through The New Deal. Pretty impressive for a man who could not stand unaided.
15. Benjamin Franklin
Franklin was born into a family that was so poor, they could only afford to send him to school until he was ten. After that, he was on his own. He went to work at the age of 12 and learned the printing process and also how to set type, all while completing his own education by reading everything and anything he could get his hands on. Possessed of a brilliant mind, he invented the lightning rod and bifocal eyeglasses, as well as the odometer and the Franklin stove.
Not content with inventing, he is also credited with being ‘The First American’, as he campaigned for the unification of the Colonies. Truly a scientist, scholar, politician and musician, Franklin never let his lack of formal education stymie his dreams.
While all of these men are or were vastly successful, it was no mean accomplishment. If you are ever feeling frustrated, or think a goal is simply impossible, look at these men’s stories to find inspiration and determination in the face of adversity. The only limits that exist in life are the ones you place upon yourself.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
With cellphones so ubiquitous, your watch choice can be less about telling time and more about personal style. However, a watch is not ‘just’ a watch. For example, the vast majority are made for right-handed people, but a select few cater to the lefties among us. There is a wide range in functionality and size.
The wristwatch is also one of the few socially acceptable accessories for men, so why not have a small selection? If you’re not cashing a CEO’s paycheck just yet, here are the top 28 most handsome watches for men that retail for under $500.
Got a bigger budget? Then check out our guide to the best men’s watches under $1000 instead.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
1. Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
If you like the feel of a pliable, non-metal band but aren’t comfortable with genuine leather, this watch comes equipped with a handsome synthetic band. At 46mm in diameter, this watch is perfect for men of smaller stature, as it will not overpower your hand or make it look like you’re wearing your father’s watch. With bold Arabic numerals, a stainless steel case, and classic styling, this watch is an outstanding choice for an everyday watch and the man on a budget.
2. Nordgreen Pioneer – Black Dial
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Not everyone has an endless amount of cash to drop on a luxury timepiece. If you’re money-conscious but want something high-end, then why not consider the Nordgreen Pioneer.
An inspired take on a classic Chronograph, Nordgreen celebrates the Danish with what they call a timepiece “that captures the sustainable future.” Available in various dial colors from blue, black, and white. There’s even the choice of three case colors – gunmetal, silver, and rose gold. A perfect addition to the collection of any watch enthusiast.
3. Fossil Grant Brown Leather Watch
This lovely offering by Fossil features slim Roman numeral hour markers and delicate cut-out hands. The casing is stainless steel and is water-resistant to 165 feet, making it a great dive watch. The band is made of supple, soft calfskin leather and uses a buckle closure.
Of course, this timepiece also comes with the generous 11-year warranty and it’s own fun tin. This watch oozes class and is great for nearly every occasion in your life.
4. Citizen Sport Stainless Steel Men’s Watch With Brown Leather Band
If you don’t want to deal with changing out a battery in a digital watch, this watch is powered by either natural or indoor lighting. The mineral crystal face and stainless steel case make this watch water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for swimmers and snorkelers.
Handsome and utilitarian, this is a great watch for everyday wear. It’s one of the best watches for men who are always on the go.
5. Fossil Men’s Machine Chronograph Silicone Watch
This watch was designed with the active man in mind. The knurled silicone band stands up to sweat and oils without issue, and the timepiece itself is water-resistant to 165 feet.
The patterned bezel and quality craftsmanship of the black dial is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fossil watch. It even comes in the iconic and collectible tin!
6. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch
This men’s watch features Japanese quartz movement that charges itself indoors or out when exposed to light, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to change out the battery too often. The stitched canvas strap is soft against your skin and will wick away moisture, while the mineral crystal face stands up to the rigors of your everyday life.
Water-resistant to 330 feet, this dive watch is a classic and simple design you’ll be proud of for years to come.
7. Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph Men’s Watch
Another gorgeous offering by Invicta, this watch features a bold design with a slightly nautical feel to it. It will look at home whether you’re wearing a business suit or are going for a dive of less than 660 feet. This piece is also covered by a one-year warranty as a matter of course. The luminosity feature and magnified date window make it a great choice if you work or play in low light.
If you want something that looks like a Tag Heuer but without the luxury watch brand price tag, this is a good option!
8. Casio Edifice Multi-Function Men’s Watch
This watch has three sub-dials for 12 hour, 60 minute and 60-second displays, in addition to the standard time. It also features a fold-over, push-down clasp on the stainless strap, keeping it secure throughout your activities. If you’re looking for a classy timepiece that shrieks sophistication, this is a great choice.
9. Fossil Machine Three Hand Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This quality watch is a chameleon piece. It looks at home as a dress watch riding below the cuff of your best suit, and it also looks great paired with jeans and a t-shirt. Backed by Fossil’s 11-year warranty as a matter of course and beautifully crafted, this smoke-colored piece is guaranteed to become the go-to accessory for nearly every occasion.
10. MVMT Watches Black Face Men’s Watch
If you like the look of a simple watch, this minimalist offering from MVMT is right up your alley. With just a plain black face, tick marks to denote the hours and a single date window, there is nothing overdone or extravagant about this design. The is understated and suited to the simple design. It’s definitely a classy, low-key piece for the budget-conscious.
11. Timex Weekender Watch
If you’re looking for a fun watch to pair with casual outfits, this is a great option. The band is blue and yellow woven nylon, and the face features both civilian and military timekeeping. An Indiglo night light is also included. This watch is water-resistant to 99 feet, meaning it can withstand splashes of water or exposure to rain but you won’t want to submerge it.
12. PUMA Ultrasize Black Sport Men’s Watch
Boasting a 50mm diameter, this piece is perfect for the large-framed man or one who likes to wear his accessories oversized. A true fashion statement, this sports watch comes in eight different colors schemes to match your favorite hues.
Do be aware, however, that the dial knob is configure for left-handed men!
13. Timex Easy Reader Men’s Watch
Another dress watch designed with the older gentleman in mind, this watch features a white dial with generously sized numerals that do not appear comical to the casual observer.
It’s also an excellent choice if you take your contacts out at night and still want to be able to check the time. With classic lines and a simple white face, the watch would not be out of place at any casual gathering. It comes with Timex’s one-year warranty at no additional charge.
14. Fossil Nate Men’s Chronograph Watch
For men who like a more gritty, industrial feel to their accessories, this Fossil watch is right on point. The bezel is gear-edged and the face is utilitarian black and gray. Water-resistant to 165 feet, this watch is a great choice if you like your adornments to be understated yet add visual interest.
It’s definitely a stand-out piece, for those who would take notice!
15. Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Men’s Watch
Featuring an indigo night light, tachymeter, a date window and a buckle closure, this watch is perfect for men who like to work or play outdoors. It is also water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for snorkeling or swimming.
You won’t want to wear it for diving, however. With classic, black styling and a genuine crystal face, this is a timepiece that will stand the test of time in both form and function.
16. Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This Seiko automatic watch has all the bells and whistles you need, but presents it all in a plain and strikingly attractive manner. It features a date window in either English or Spanish, sword-shaped hands, a sweeping second hand and a mineral dial window. This is a great option for the man on the go. The canvas strap can be removed and hand-washed if sweat or other odors become an issue.
This watch is not water-resistant, so you’ll only want to wear it when you won’t be popping by the pool for a swim!
17. Invicta Pro Diver Collection Silver-Tone Men’s Watch
For those who prefer an all-metal timepiece, the stainless steel Invicta fits the bill nicely. It has a similar aesthetic to a Tag Heuer watch, but at a more affordable price. Equipped with a unilateral bezel and removable links, the band can be customized to fit your wrist perfectly. The face is flame fusion crystal and features a magnifier to highlight the date window.
It’s also water-resistant to 660 feet. If you’re looking for a gorgeous watch that stands up to an active lifestyle, this is an excellent choice.
18. Seiko Men’s Adventure-Solar Classic Casual Watch
This Seiko watch derives its power from either natural or indoor light and can withstand water depths of up to 330 feet. The supple brown leather strap and timeless brushed steel give this piece an attractive look, and the alarm chronograph is easy to set.
If you’re looking for a watch that can serve as a backup for your wake-up call while traveling, stand up to the elements and look awesome, this casual wrist watch is a winner.
19. Nautica Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Resin Band
Featuring a plethora of options and a smart, snappy style, this a great casual watch with a eye-catching blue dial. The hardy resin band is adjustable, and the face is protected by a mineral window. Whether for work or play, this bold blue design is handsome and substantial on the wrist. It comes with Nautica’s five-year warranty at no additional charge.
20. Citizen Sport Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Black Leather Band
The black, red and white face of this piece eschews the traditional two-tone color scheme so often employed in other watches, and the contrasting stitching on the band adds creative flair. It comes backed by Citizen’s five-year warranty and will compliment any casual outfit.
21. Alessi Tic15 Analog Display Analog Quartz Black Men’s Watch
Another not-quite-round offering on our list, the curved square casing of this piece gives it instant visual appeal. Sleek and clean, this unfussy design will be a compliment to almost any occasion. It has quartz movement and is water-resistant to 99 feet, making it a great choice for everyday wear.
22. Invicta 1517 I Force Collection Watch
Another on our list designed for left-handed men, this watch is something special. Water-resistant to 330 feet and featuring oversize stenciled numbers and a sub dial, this watch is great for any casual outfit. The cloth band is extremely durable and stands up to dirt, sweat and grime.
If you lead an active lifestyle, this watch will be right at home in your collection.
23. TRIWA Blue Steel Nevil Canvas Watch
This watch comes in a whopping 14 color variations, all of them beautiful. You may decide to add more than one to your collection!
Designed in Sweden, this watch features Japanese quartz movement, a stainless steel casing and a strap made from Tärnsjö organic leather. TRIWA, which stands for Transforming the Industry of Watches, believes in the artistry of fine jewelry and it shows in their product.
24. Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Watch
Another fine dress watch from the makers of the Swiss Army knife, this watch is emblazoned with the internally recognized cross and shield emblem. It has no sub-dials, tachymeter or other add-ons to detract from its simple and appealing style.
This watch will be at home with all but the most formal of outfits and carries a two-year warranty.
25. Ingersoll Automatic Stainless Steel Bull Run Watch
Again, Ingersoll remakes the classics and brings them into the present day. With a highly polished stainless steel casing, two sub-dials, a date aperture and arrow-shaped hands, this quartz watch is beautiful.
The band features contrasting stitching on the fine-grain leather, adding depth and detail to the workmanship. This watch will compliment any casual occasion and can be relied upon for years to come.
26. Tissot Quickster Chronograph Black Leather Men’s Watch
Made with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Swiss automatic movement, this watch is a smart and utilitarian choice. If you’re looking for a solid Swiss watch that isn’t flashy, this is an excellent option. It’s also guaranteed for two years.
27. Seiko Sport Solar Men’s Beige Watch
Are you getting tired of squinting down at your watch or holding it closer and closer to your face? Don’t worry, we all get a bit nearsighted with age, especially over the age of 40.
If you’re not quite ready for reading glasses or a comically huge watch, this is a great choice from Seiko. The numerals, indices and luminous hands stand out in stark white against a black background, and the numerals are generous in size. It’s a perfect casual watch for the older gentleman.
28. Seiko Men’s 5 Watch Blue Canvas Band
This simple and affordable watch has a clean, crisp aesthetic to it and doesn’t bog down its design with a ton of bells and whistles. It’s time and date, end of.
If you want a watch for casual wear, this Seiko is a shoo-in. The band is forgiving and comfortable against your wrist, and it’s blue color will likely compliment your existing wardrobe. The price is also extremely affordable.
29. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Stainless Steel Watch With Brown Leather Band
Featuring the Hilfiger logo at the three o’clock position, this wrist watch is a statement piece. It is a bright, shiny stainless steel work of art that you’ll be proud to wear at all but the most stuffy of workplaces. The calfskin leather band uses a buckle closure and the date window is beside the logo at three o’clock.
If you’re a fan of Tommy clothing, cologne or luggage, you can complete your look with this stunning accessory.