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From Rags to Riches: Inspirational Biographies

By Sarah Baker 

Finding Success in Everything You Do

Have you ever felt miserable about things in life? Frustrated about how nothing seems to work out? Plagued by obstacle after obstacle standing in your way? Considering giving up? Stop right there. Don’t do it. No matter the situation, no matter the obstacle standing in your way, never give up. If you really want it, you can have it. There are people in this world just like you, but these people have taken their obstacles and shoved them out of the way to pave way for their success.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah has very publically told people about her own hardships in order to try to be an inspiration for others. She was born to an unwed teenage mother and spent the first six years of her life living with her grandmother, wearing dresses made out of potato sacks. She was molested by two members of her family and a family friend which ultimately forced her to make the decision to run away at age 13. When she was 14, she had a newborn child pass away shortly after it was born. She then went back to live with her mother who sent her to live with her father. This caused her to turn her life around. She won a full scholarship to college and a beauty pageant, where she was discovered by a local radio station. That is where is all began. She is now worth an estimated $2.7 billion.

Oprah Winfrey: Now and Then 
John Paul DeJoria

John Paul’s parents divorced when he was just two. Before he was even ten years old, he was out selling Christmas cards and newspapers to help his family financially. Shortly thereafter, he was sent to live in a foster home in Los Angeles. He spent a bit of time in a gang out in L.A. before joining the military, where he began to turn his life around. He worked for Redken Laboratories for a short period of time before taking out a $700 loan to create John Paul Mitchell Systems. When he first began the company, he sold shampoo door to door while living out of his car. John Paul has also had a hand in various other industries, including Patron Tequila. Today JPM Systems is worth over $500 million.

Leonardo Del Vecchio

Leonardo was born one of five children who could not be adequately taken care of by his widowed mother. Because of this, he grew up in an orphanage. Growing up, he worked in a factory, where he lost part of his finger, making molds for auto parts and eyeglass frames. At the age of 23, he opened his own molding shop. This eventually expanded to become Luxottica, the largest maker of sunglasses and prescription eyewear in the world. They make brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley and own retail stores such as Sunglass Hut and Lenscrafters. Luxottica is worth an estimated $10 billion.

J K Rowling

JK Rowling didn’t live the rough childhood that the others above did, but she had her share of hard times as an adult, before Harry Potter. In the early '90s, she was a recently divorced woman, with a dependent child, living on welfare. She completed most of the Harry Potter books in cafes, as walking around with her daughter was the best way to get her to sleep. With the right motivation and story, she went from welfare to being worth about $1 billion.

You Don’t Have to be Famous to be Successful

All of these stories are about people who have overcome obstacles to become rich and successful in business, but I want to tell you some stories about people, who have overcome a lot in their lives. They may not be billionaires, but they are pretty successful.

Cinderella from Rags to Riches 

Personally, my life has been a rollercoaster. I am one of eight children, number two in line. My father owns his own construction business, as his father before him. My mother didn’t work because she was busy raising eight children. My father’s business was constantly up and down with the housing market. One year, we would buy a pool, the next year, we had to sell stuff. He used to own a lot of rental properties, some of which he inherited from his father, but all of those were eventually sold off.  About six years ago, the housing market was booming and my father finally built his dream home. A house where we all had our own rooms, a pool, and arcade games and such in the basement. 

A couple years later, everything went downhill. My family went bankrupt, and we lost the house and most of the things in it. My mom ended-up getting a job for the first time in over 20 years. Some weeks, the only reason we were able to have food on the table was because she had a job making minimum wage. 

During all of this, I was raped and verbally and physically abused by a boyfriend. Everything seemed like it was falling apart around me. I graduated college and had lost hope on ever being able to find work in my field. After a bit of moping around and feeling sorry for myself, I decided to put myself out there. I applied for jobs, and I picked myself up. I may not be rich and have a lot of money in the bank, but I am finally successful. I have overcome many things in my life to become the person that I am today. I have people who love me, a job that I love, and everything I need to make me happy. Would more money be nice? Of course, but I don’t need it to be successful. I am successful because of who I am and what I have done, not because of what my bank account says.

Success: It’s more Than Just a Number

Success is more than just money. It’s a state of mind. It cannot be measured by ones bank account but by what they have overcome and what has led to who they are today. Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you’re successful and vice versa. It can be personal success, which is the best kind of success. Success is about how you feel inside. You can only truly fail if you fail yourself. You can only truly succeed if you yourself feels successful. No matter what you are doing and how much money you have, if you feel successful, then you’re a success. Did you dream of being a teacher and now you’re a teacher? Then you are successful. Did you dream of being a writer and now you’re a writer? Then you are successful. Did you dream of being an actress or a dancer and now you are? Then you are successful. Did you overcome something in your life? Then you are successful. No matter what you are or what you do, if it was your dream and you’ve accomplished it, then you are successful.

Italian Goddess Sophia Loren went from rags to riches:
a young Neapolitan girl who came from poverty & conquered Hollywood and the world with her beauty & charm.
Follow Your Dreams and Be the Success You Aim For

This article may be about people who have overcome hardships to become successful. But even more, it’s about following your dreams, doing what you love and becoming what you want to be, regardless of who says you can’t, who says you can and what has happened in your life. It’s never too late. Just follow your dreams, Fashionistas, and be a success! Until next time xoxo.  

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