You might not believe it, but some of the most successful people in history were once losers – broke, unemployed, divorced, and constantly failing, among other things. The key to their success is that they worked hard to change their lives around, and there are many lessons we can learn from their stories. Here are five of the biggest losersthat worked hard to become successful winners.

Walt Disney

Walt Disney learned from his mistakes. We’ve all seen Disney movies, and it’s most children’s dream to go to Disney World. But did you know that the man himself, Walt Disney, failed many times before starting his animation empire?

Disney started off as an editor at the Kansas City Star, but he was fired for being bad at his job. When he tried to start his own business, he went into bankruptcy. So, how did he overcome these challenges? He moved away from Kansas to Los Angeles and used the knowledge from his past mistakes to form a new company.Disney’s story goes to show that being able to wipe your hands clean of past mistakesand starting with a blank slate can help you achieve the goals you want.

Ray Kroc

Ray Kroc succeeded late in life,McDonald’sis one the biggest fast food companiesin the world, but don’t forget that, like most things, it had humble beginnings. The original McDonald's restaurant in California was run by two brothers, who hired on a man named Ray Kroc as their marketing manager.

Kroc was 52 years old at this time, and he had spent his life as a paper cup salesman. But, that didn’t stop him from building the business into the global tycoon it is today. Even after suffering from diabetes and arthritis, Kroc didn’t let his ailments stop him from making McDonald’s a global force.

Jan Koum and Brian Acton

Jan Koum and Brian Acton rolled with the punches, andWhatsApp is one of the biggest messaging apps in the world, but you might not know that its founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton faced many failures before they were successful tech entrepreneurs. The leaders were turned down for jobs at Facebook and Twitter, but they didn’t let those failures stop them from reaching their dreams.

That’s right, the company that had turned them down later bought them out! Koum and Acton proved that it’s not necessarily how you succeed, it’s how you learn from your failures.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison didn’t listen to negativity. The light bulb. The phonograph. The movie camera. Thomas Edison has a hand in the creation of all of these, but not everyone considered him a genius like we do today. In fact, when he was in grade school, Edison was said to be too stupid to learn anything. He was fired from two of his jobs for not doing good work.Edison’s life is a good lesson of staying optimistic, ignoring negativity, and striving to accomplish your passions in the face of adversity.

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling didn’t let poverty define her. The author of the “Harry Potter” bookswasn’t always successful. Although she had good ideas, she struggled through part of her life as an unemployed single mother. Even as she worked on her books, publisher after publisher rejected her. As Rowling has said, “By every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.” But, she didn’t let her poor situation define her, and she kept working on her passions. Eventually, she was accepted by a publisher and went on to become one of the world’s most famous authors.

The oft-repeated mantra of “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again” really holds true with these examples. These big “losers” changed their lives around with hard work, dedication, and courage to keep going even when the odds were insurmountable. If they had given up with their first failure, or even their hundredth failure, they wouldn’t have succeeded in their goals.