The extent of Accumulation of wealth is the measure of success in most cultures. And in popular culture, most commonly, being a millionaire corresponds to the fact that you have “made” it. Having a million dollars in your bank sets you apart from the rest. It makes you eligible for a better life. This is what everyone dreams of, right, having a million dollars in their bank account?
Unfortunately, as pretty as it sounds, earning that kind of cash is not easy. People with that kind of money in their bank accounts either were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, or they went to great lengths and depths of human ingenuity and creativity to come with an idea so robust that it helped them put themselves on the map. Their journeys are the source for great movies and books.
I, in this article, would like to share with you some zero to millionaire stories that will hopefully inspire us to never give on your dream or an idea that has been stuck with since forever because you never know what that idea may be worth. That dream or vision might take you places you could not have imagined in your wildest dreams.
These stories would remind you that no matter how tight the market is or how bad the economic situation is, or just how bad things get, there is hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Stories of the people who were born with nothing now have everything. These stories will provide us with motivation to do better. These are stories of perseverance, hard work, and self-belief.
1. Oprah Winfrey
The first one is a person we see and have been seeing on the television for the longest time. She is the inspiration of thousands of people, and her name is Oprah Winfrey. One of the biggest names in showbiz, she is most famous for her “ The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She has a net worth that will blow your mind!! She is worth some 2.6 billion dollars. I mean, talk about rich you guys. But did she get to where she is with ease? Let’s look at her story.
Oprah was born in the poverty-stricken Mississippi and was born to a teenage mother who was on welfare. They were extremely poor. The family lived hand to mouth, and things were so bad that Oprah had to wear garments fashioned out of a potato sack and was called Sack girl. She told in detail that she had no friends growing up, and all she had were dolls that were fashioned from corn cobs. She was repeatedly molested at the age of 9 by a cousin who was 19. And at 14, she ran from home and got pregnant and gave birth to a stillborn.
When she told all this in an interview in 1986, her family refused to believe her account of things. But she was bright and got into programs for bright students working her way through high school. She won Miss Black Tennessee Beauty Pageant. From there, she went to work for radio and won oratory contests that put her through college.
She was soon offered a job in 1976 in Baltimore, where she worked as a news anchor but was soon fired on the grounds of “ Not fit for TV news.” This was racial discrimination in the media industry against the blacks. Oprah, with her resilient will, kept trying for her big break but was met with the same answer.
In 1983, she was given a small segment of a morning show with a very small viewership and failing ratings. But Oprah, with her empathy and her charisma, turned it around and made her show famous. Now she was in the limelight, and she was offered a show called “In the movies,” later renamed as “ The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She is a world-famous phenomenon now.
She is worth a substantial amount of money, and she has some of the most famous people on her show. According to The Times and CNN, she is the most influential woman in the world and is also considered one of the greatest black women of her generation. What a life, right. Woah!! Just take a moment and think if that little girl who had been through the worst would have given up at any step along the way would she be in this place right now?
The next is the story that is close to my heart. He is a man who has inspired many people, including myself, and his songs have helped me in the hard times of my life. This is a story of a rapper who changed the black-dominated industry of R & B and hip hop and made a name for himself, not a rap king but as a “Rap God.” This is the story of Marshal M Mathers, better known as Eminem.
He was born in Missouri in 1972 to a drug addict mother and runaway father. Marshal and her mother kept bouncing from one place to another and then settled in a rough neighborhood in Detroit. He was a shy and a reserved kid and was the victim of bullying at school by the older kids. One time, he was bullied so bad he was sent to the hospital for a cerebral hemorrhage. He constantly shifted in and out of consciousness.
Mathers started to skip school because of the ongoing bullying. His grades kept on getting bad the time he realized he had failed ninth grade 3 times. Around the time his Uncle had played him his first rap song by the artist Ice-T. Mather was fascinated by this new art form he had just experienced and was hooked on it. He was a failing student and had no job, so under the threat of getting kicked out by his mother, he started to, you guessed it, rap.
He and his buddy will skip school and take part in lunchroom rap battles. He later went to a Hip Hop shop where he would often engage in rap battles. In a black neighborhood, he was always discriminated against, and crowds would always bo-ed him. Determined, Mather kept on competing and made a name for himself with his creative rhymes and insults.
Marshal released his first album at the age of 24 and had a stage name of M & M, which later became Eminem. This album was called “ Infinite” and was almost all about the daughter that he was expecting. Despite high hopes, the album could not turn heads and was a flop. Now a complete failure, and after working 60 hours a week before getting first and his girlfriend leaving him, he was at an all-time low. This was when he tried to commit suicide by taking too many painkillers. But failed and got back into music with a new purpose and wrote even angrier rhymes.
His next goal in life was to compete in the rap Olympics in LA. He had his eye on 500 dollar prize and a Rolex. As mentioned before, the black community dominated the rap scene, and judges dispute Marshals’ amazing performance gave him second place, which crushed him even further. But the copy of his performance got into the hands of Dr. Dre, who was blown away by the rapper’s talent and invited him to his place for a recording session.
Dr. Dre was heavily criticized for his support of a “white boy,” but he never had second doubt. At age 27, Eminem releases a second album called Slim Shady, and that album put him on the map. That was something never heard before and was an instant success and earned him a grammy. He battled with addiction, but with the help of good mentors and his love for his daughter helped him through it all, and without a doubt, Eminem is one of the greatest rappers of all time.
3. Howard Schultz
We all love Starbucks, right? Well, the owner of the company Howard Schultz has 23,000 stores and is worth some 85 billion and even has self-worth of nearly 2.9 billion dollars. Well, Howard was no born into money. His father was a truck driver, which according to him, was a broken man who had lost all his spark by working on projects that were a dead end. He says that he was motivated by his father, and he worked hard. He was ridiculed in his childhood for living in a government housing facility.
In life, you can blame a lot of people and you can wallow in self-pity, or you can pick yourself up and say, ‘Listen, I have to be responsible for myself.’
In 1982 he was employed at Starbucks. He left to open his own coffee shop and later merged with Starbucks. He stepped down as CEO in 2000. In the market crash of ‘06-07, he was brought back, and he led his company by mass firing and closure of stores and also by acquiring many American and Chinese beverages. He showed determination and retained his decision-making ability in the teeth of difficulty helping his company survive a tough time.
If you know Harry Potter books and series, you had a great childhood. That magical series was the best thing that ever happened to our teen years. But its writer, J.K.Rowling, is also a success story who had nothing, and now he is a billionaire. She was from a humble background and worked as a lingual secretary for Amnesty International.
She got an idea in 1990 about the Harry Potter series while waiting for a delayed train. In the next 6-7 years, she experienced her mother’s death, the birth of her child, and her divorce. In an interview, she told that she would eat less so her daughter can eat more and that there was a night when they would run out of money. But the realization of her books and then the production of movies based on the books brought her out of her impoverished lifestyle, making her one of the most influential writers of modern times.
These stories show us that even in the worst of conditions, a little resilience and self-belief, and even some faith in God don’t go unpaid. Where is a will, there is a way. People who believe in knocking down doors and creating their way in this world certainly achieve whatever they want. These stories provide us with the motivation to go on in the worst of times and achieve our goals and more.