It is famously said that people look at the results and not at the process. If you never believed you could become anything, perhaps it is time for you to look at the beginning of 3 of the famous billionaires of our time. See how normal and simple they looked. They didn’t know they were going to become billionaires at the time. Read about the amount of failures they had and use it to reflect on your own life. If they could, why can’t you?

Elon Musk


Elon Musk was born in 1971 in South Africa. He is famous for reading extensively (during his childhood about 10 hours a day) and founding multiple companies including Paypal, Tesla and SpaceX. These are the things Elon Musk is known for, but did you know his parents divorced when Musk was only 9 years old? He was bullied at school and was beaten so badly that as an adult he struggled to breathe through his nose and needed corrective surgery. No wonder that at the age of 14 he had an existential crisis. He got out of his puberty crisis by reading the Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy. A bit later he decided that his life mission will be to save humanity. If you ever heard the phrase that a person needs to have a strong “Why” I think Musk can be an inspiration for us all. However, not only his youth was difficult. In 1995 Elon Musk applies for a job at Netscape, the most popular browser before it lost to, among others, Internet Explorer (no joke). About a year later he founded but also got kicked out as CEO of Zip2, the predecessor of Paypal. Paypal also had a rough start and was voted to be one of the worst business ideas a few years later. No wonder Musk was kicked out of Paypal a year later which occurred during his honeymoon (talk about bad timing). That same year Musk went on holiday and caught malaria, nearly killing him. Personal drama was not a stranger to Elon Musk either. He married 3 woman and lost his first son to infant death syndrome. Now of course you may think that this was just one story. So let’s go to the next one!

Jeff Bezos


Founder of Jeff Bezos started with selling books online and dreamed about selling everything online. He made that dream come true but it also famous for making million dollar mistakes. The tale of Bezos is just as spiky as the one from Elon Musk. His mother left his father at an early age due to the bad drinking habit of his after. He grew up with his immigrant stepfather from Cuba (Miguel Bezos) but only found out about his real father when he was 10. He starts studying physics but switched after realising that study doesn’t work for him. He co-founds a fax newsletter start-up which fails after not raising enough money. He then founds but realises it sounds weird over the phone (cadaver…) and changes it to Amazon instead. If you think it that it becomes more glorious from this moment onwards, you are wrong. Jeff Bezos had to pack hundreds of books by hand himself to get things going the first years. Amazon gets sued by Barnes and Noble (a book selling retail chain) but he survives and takes Amazon public on the stock market. From here on, Jeff Bezos aggressively invests in useful (Google) and useless start-ups and starts competing with first-movers like eBay. Of course one can say by now that his successes far outweighs his failures. The board of Amazon did not always agree with that idee though…

Bill Gates


Founder of Microsoft, friend of investment legend Warren Buffet and amazing philanthropist. Who does not know Bill Gates? Thankfully Bill Gates did have a better childhood. His worst failure was that he got banned from school during puberty for hacking. Before going to university he starts a traffic counter start-up but fails and goes to Harvard. During his time there he bluffs that he has a computer language for Altair and after some quick work he founds Micro-Soft and drops out of Harvard. So far he has not made mistakes but it does cost him 16 hour workdays to get by for 5 years. He is asked to work for Steve Jobs but gets into a fight about stealing idea’s. A bit later he gets sued by the U.S Government and also gets a pie thrown in his face by angry people calling him corporate evil. Eventually he turns to the philanthropist we know and who promised to donate half of his wealth over his lifetime.