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Learning from defeats

personSlađana Milošević
history5 minutes reading

We have all heard stories of artists who happened to be at the right place, at the right time, for the right person to notice their talent, and the rest, as they say, is history. For some people, it’s easy. But for the majority of artists, their big break didn’t come until they put in a lot of hard work and suffered a lot of rejection. Some of the biggest writers, artists, musicians, and actors were told they would never make it in the business, and they should just quit. But lucky for us, they didn’t listen. For all people out there who choose to give up because of a little criticism, here are few stories of celebrities whose perseverance, trust in their talent and focus on success, has paid off.


Born in 1899, in Omaha, Nebraska, Fred Astaire is one of the most famous failures to grace the entertainment business. In 1905, the family moved to New York City to allow Fred and his sister, Adele, to pursue a career in entertainment, and they focused their energies solely on the musical and dancing education.

The two performed together in acts for some time, even touring the New York City Broadway circuit, and on to London as well.

However, in 1932, the sister-and-brother act split, when Adele wed her husband. Fred continued his career despite that. And, according to legend, he was famously rejected during a Hollywood screen test when it was said that he “Can’t act. Slighty bald. Dances a little”, which came as a major disappointment at the time. Astaire kept that note in his Beverly Hills home.

Yet, that didn’t stop him. Fred Astaire’s career in the entertainment industry lasted a mind-boggling 76 years! He appeared in 31 musicals, television shows and recordings. Gene Kelly once stated: “The history of dance on film begins with Astaire.”


Born in 1958, Madonna Veronica Ciccone, who goes by the stage name, Madonna, is an American pop culture icon who’s often referred to as the Queen of Pop.

In 1978, while attending the University Michigan School of Music on a dance scholarship, she dropped out to move to New York City to pursue her dreams of becoming a professional dancer.

With only $35 in her pocket on arrival in New York City, Madonna searched for work. She had different jobs, mostly she was dancing with different dance groups.

Life was not easy. However, instead of giving up, even through all the failure and setbacks, she pushed forward, although Madonna’s talents were considered modest.

Madonna has become one of the most famous singers to have ever lived, influencing many other modern-day singers and professional dancers.


As one of the most famous and the best-selling artists of all time!

But back in 1954, Elvis was still a nobody, and Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after just one performance telling him, “You ain’t going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck”.

The same year, he failed an audition to become part of a vocalist quartet. When asked by his father what had happened, Presley stated, “They told me I couldn’t sing”.

He was so frustrated, that he decided to take up a job as a truck driver. Still, he did not give up, he came back to singing and music. The rest is history.

There are many more artists on this list: Andy Warhole, Walt Disney, JK Rowling,… And from business: Warren Baffet, Oprah Winfrey, … From politics, too: A. Linkoln, Winston Churchill  itd.

And when they tell you that you can’t, that you’re not good enough: leave it behind, take the good and move on. That’s what Dr. Frankl taught us in logotherapy. Life teaches us that only such people are winners.

You choose whether to complain about your destiny or take it and use it for something good, not only yourself but other people as well.

Can you imagine world without Elvis, if he quit when he was told he cant sing?




Sladjana Milosevic
Blog Author Sladjana Milosevic

Accredited coach/mentor (MP EIA). Accredited coach/mentor supervisor (ESIA)

Diplomate in Logotherapy (Viktor Frankl Institute, USA)

Logocoaching – coaching by applying basic principles of logotherapy.

Coaching – Sir John Whitmore defines coaching as: “Unlocking person’s potential to maximize their own performance” (Source: Whitmore, J. (2002). Coaching for Performance, Third Edition: Growing People, Performance, and Purpose).

Coaching is not a therapy in any sense!

Logotherapy – Logotherapy provides answers to questions about the meaning of existence. As a psychotherapeutic approach, it brings into psychotherapy the knowledge that in addition to the physical and mental dimension, a person also has a third, spiritual dimension. In Logotherapy, the focus in on the future, on tasks and meaning.

You can find more about Logotherapy from: Viktor Frankl Institute, Vienna/Austria.

For more information about logocoaching, coaching and coach/mentor supervision you can send e-mail to Sladjana: kontakt@plesigrad.rs