For ages, America has been coined “The Land Of Opportunity.”
How lucky are we to live in a place which strives to create equal opportunity for all? It’s not everywhere in the world that the rags-to-riches story is a reality for so many.
The truth is that the land of opportunity does indeed exist, but it’s really not so simple as it sounds. The rest is up to the individual to do the work required to get to the top. Normally it involves years of hardship, failed projects, small successes that go unrecognized, and unwavering perseverance before anyone really “makes it.”
Take a look at these stories of individuals who worked hard to achieve their goals and never gave up. It paid off big-time for these guys in the end. May you let their inspiration motivate you to never give up, too.
Andrew Carnegie was an industrialist, philanthropist, and business wiz. His many initiatives in the 19th Century led to the expansion of the steel industry in the USA. Coming from a poor family, Carnegie worked odd jobs from an early age to make ends meet. After his teenage years, he began working on the Pennsylvania Railroad as a secretary and telegraph operator, where he became well-versed on the functions of the railway system. At age 31, he invested $40,000 into a farm which contained petroleum oil wells. This investment ultimately led to his success a millionaire tycoon.
This legend is known for his role as the founder of Ford Motor Company and the brains behind the assembly-line innovation. Ford was born into a family of farmers. Although farming did not pique his interest, the farm machines did. He grew up working as a mechanic for the Edison Company as well as Dodge brothers. Bestowed with many achievements, Ford is best known for designing and building cars that could be easily driven. This was quite a breakthrough since cars were still quite new on the market and all other models were difficult to drive. He built Model T, which were the least expensive and user-friendliest cars available at the time. For this reason, his cars sold like hot-cakes among the middle-class.
Oprah Winfrey has a rather epic rags-to-riches story. She grew up in utter poverty, living part-time at her grandmother’s farm and the rest of the time with her teenage, single mother. She was a victim of multiple acts of sexual harassment performed by her cousin around the age of 9. When she was 14, she moved in with her father who education in her life. She developed an interest for media, and became the first African-American news anchor at the budding age of 20. Eventually she blossomed into hosting her own television program, the Oprah Winfrey Show, which was a roaring success for decades. She has used her platform to spur countless philanthropic and community-based initiatives.
Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft, and known to many as the richest man in the world. Growing up, math and technology were his main interests, but his family begged him to pursue a law career like his father. His fascination with computers began in school alongside his friend, Paul Allen. The two spent the majority of their time writing code and programming for fun. In 1975, Gates and Allen contacted MITS, the developer of Altair 8800, and told the developers they were working with an interpreter for the platform. The duo had not actually written any code for the platform, their real agenda was to finagle a a meeting with MITS’ president. The meeting turned out to be favorable for Gates and Allen. They walked away with a signed deal to distribute the interpreter. This is how Micro-soft, with a hyphen that was to be removed a year later, was born.
Larry Page co-founded Google in 1998. Born to a Computer Science professor and instructor parents, Page had been interested in science and technology since early childhood. According to Business Insider in July 2001, Page was originally inspired to create the mega-popular search engine as a result of an vision which would allow him to “download the entire Web by examining the links between the pages.” He created the very same algorithm that Google uses to date, called PageRank.