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Daymond John Success Story

As an American investor, entrepreneur, apparel developer, and motivational speaker, Daymond John has inspired millions with his story of success. His innovative business mindset has sparked economic growth across the globe while allowing him to become a leader in many industries. John is also the mastermind behind the iconic hip-hop apparel company known as FUBU, which helped him become one of the most successful and richest entrepreneurs in history. So in consideration of his many impressive accomplishments, we aim to unravel a few of his best success insights in this Daymond John Success Story special.

How can someone go from humble beginnings of selling homemade t-shirts on the streets of Queens, New York, to becoming an international superstar? Well, there’s no doubt that Daymond John’s story will leave us clues to such questions, as most success stories tend to do. So, if you’re ready to discover what his particular success story can teach, let’s dive right in.


Daymond John Story of Success

An Entrepreneurial Spirit From the Start

On February 23rd, 1969, Daymond John was born and raised in the lower middle-class neighborhood of Hollis, Queens in New York City. His parents continuously reminded him that in order to achieve success, hard work was necessary.

Unfortunately, his parents eventually opted to go their separate ways and filed for divorce while he was still young. In fact, when Daymond was just ten years old, his father abruptly left, and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

This was a big even in John’s life, as it forced him to become the man of the house and stronger emotionally; considering this event also transformed his mother into a single parent who now had to take on all of the household responsibilities, and all of the extra pressures and anxieties that came along with this new reality.[1]

In his teen years, John worked tirelessly to make ends meet, taking on the task of distributing flyers for a meager salary of $2 an hour. Additionally, he attended high school and was enrolled in a unique program that allowed him to both work full-time and study simultaneously. After graduating high school, he established his very own commuter van service while also waiting tables at a restaurant.

From an early age, Daymond John was driven and possessed a strong entrepreneurial spirit.

Building FUBU

In 1992, Daymond John had a revolutionary vision of creating an apparel line specifically designed for young men, resulting in the birth of FUBU. Furthermore, his mother helped nourish his creativity by teaching him how to sew and provided a platform for John to practice crafting in her home. She too would help him to sew his initial line, showing through her actions her support and commitment to his success.

At first, he stitched together a set of nearly 90 hats and sold them to passersby in New York. To his delight, they made him $800 on the very first day. Following the success of selling hats, John and his business partner decided to branch out into printed T-shirts. They began selling on consignment as well as attending larger events in an effort to grow their brand.

Even though FUBU was off to a great start, it wasn’t enough to financially sustain Daymond John and his business partner. John took up a full-time position at a local restaurant and he and his mother took a mortgage of $100,000 out on her house to fund their operation.

Now, all that was left was to put in the sweat equity to make their brand a success. Daymond John and his business partner started knocking on each and every door, determined to make FUBU recognized by the fashion industry.

The Rise to Success

After putting forth much hard work and relentless effort, Daymond was eventually noticed by the hip-hop community. The name FUBU, which stands for “For Us By Us”, spoke to the young generation of musicians who wanted to be united through their creative pursuits, not their budgets or backgrounds.

Brand Nubian and Miss Jones from popular radio station Hot 97 were Daymond’s first supporters, and the recognition from the hip-hop industry was enough to attract the attention of the famous rapper LL Cool J.[2]

daymond john success story quote

In the Gap advertisements of the time, Daymond noticed that LL Cool J was wearing a FUBU hat. This was Daymond’s first big break, which put his brand into the spotlight. It didn’t take long before other famous celebrities such as P.Diddy and Will Smith were wearing Daymond John’s FUBU gear.

By the mid-nineties, Daymond had successfully established his business empire and earned celebrity status throughout the fashion industry. FUBU rapidly became renowned far beyond urban areas, from shopping malls in the Midwest to websites across Europe, becoming a global powerhouse.

At its zenith, FUBU was achieving $350 million in yearly sales, and since it’s inception, the . popular brand has amassed over $6 billion dollars in global revenue.[3]

Getting On Shark Tank

While Daymond John was known in fashion and musical circles, he gained even more recognition from mainstream America when he became a star of the hit TV show Shark Tank. Daymond wasn’t keen on the idea when he was first invited to join the show in 2008.

However, with time, he realized that he could use his business acumen to mentor and help others succeed while expanding his own portfolio. As such, he leaned into the opportunity.

He signed onto the budding show in 2009 at the height of the recession, and soon after, Daymond gained a reputation as an influential, decisive, and shrewd investor. Daymond has been on Shark Tank ever since, using his experience to carefully choose investments in companies that have the potential for long-term success.

How Daymond John Gives Back

After a life-changing success story, Daymond John is driven to give back to his community. As a proud member of the Board of Overseers and volunteer host or judge for NFTE events, John dedicates his time to giving back. The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship is a worldwide entity with chapters in 12 countries, devoted to teaching the core principles of entrepreneurship and fundamental skillsets to scholars living in underprivileged communities.

The For Us, By Us Fund (FUBU fund), is committed to providing assistance for folks in need of financial support and mutual aid in Maine with the resources they need to lead a fulfilled and meaningful life. By empowering BIPOC-led projects, organizers, and even granting individuals in need of financial aid or mutual support, they are providing much-needed grants to those who require it most.[4]

Success In His Own Words

Daymond John’s story leaves many clues on how anyone can get on the right path towards achieving success. But, John has also generously offered up many success insights of his own in the form of advice. So, here’s a few success gems that can be found in Daymond John’s own words:

There you have it, Daymond John’s success ethos summed up in a a few short sentences.

Related: Daymond John Quotes

Lessons We Can Learn From the Daymond John Story

When someone as influential as Daymond John takes the time to share his success story, it is essential that we take note and use it as a guide as well as a source of motivation. Daymond John’s journey teaches us some valuable lessons about ambition, resilience, and determination.

Daymond never gave up on his dream or ambitions, despite numerous obstacles and failures. His community was also a critical factor in Daymond’s success. Without key figures such as his mother, his friends, his FUBU co-founder, and the burgeoning hip-hop community in New York, Daymond’s success would have been much more difficult to achieve.

So remember when you’re losing motivation, ask for a helping hand, make an offer to support someone else, and stay connected and committed to your passions and goals. But most importantly, don’t be afraid to dream big and take some risks to bring those big dreams to life.

Till you reach your aims,


Daymond John’s success story is a combination of hard work, dedication, and taking risks.

PS – If you enjoyed this Daymond John story, then chances are you’ll also enjoy the success stories of some of his fellow sharks like Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, or Robert Herjavec.

The Strive Team is made up of everyday people and experts from all sorts of different callings and professions, each contributing their best advice and unique insights to help you navigate the challenges of success, and support you as you strive to dream big, work hard, and achieve the impossible.

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colonel sanders story

Colonel Sanders who officially went by the name of Colonel Harland David Sanders, was the American businessman who founded and popularized the famed brand known as Kentucky Fried Chicken. His story is unique, and is one that every entrepreneur or dream chaser should know about.

We believe success leaves clues, and Colonel Sander’s story not only does that, but it also provides a level of encouragement that can help just about anybody get through the struggles we all face as we strive to achieve our aims.

So, with that being said, if you’re ready to learn and be inspired by one of the best failure to success stories of all time, then let’s dive into this epic Colonel Sanders Story of Success.


colonel sanders success story

Early Days

Colonel Harland David Sanders was born September 9, 1890 in Henryville, Indiana. He was the oldest of three brothers and was born into a family that struggled to make ends meet.

His father passed away when he was just six years old, and his mother worked long hours in a tomato canning factory. Harland was no stranger to hard work as he would become a farmhand to help out the household financially at the age of 10.

When 7th grade rolled around Harland would drop out of school to go work off of a farm. Thus, at the age of 13 he left home to achieve his fortune working various odd jobs. When things weren’t working out financially, he decided to join the military.

So, at the age of 16, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, even though he did so by faking his age. Colonel Harland Sanders would serve one year before getting honorably discharged.

An Early Career That Was All Over The Map

Once Good Ole Harland Sanders got out of the military, he would go on to take countless jobs in a variety of different fields. Most of the jobs he’d lose would be due to quarrels with others or just plain old misfortune.

Over the years he’d flit from job to job in a manner and frequency that would even impress a Millennial. Here’s a snapshot of just a portion of his job-hopping ways:

  • Worked For The Railroad Company (Lost His Job Due To Fighting).
  • Legal Career (Lost His Job After Attempting To Beat His Own Client With A Chair).
  • Life Insurance Salesman (lost this job due to insubordination).
  • Life Insurance Salesman (Lost This Job Due To Insubordination).
  • Started A Ferry Boat Company (Succeeded And Cashed It Out).
  • Took A Job As The Secretary Of The Chamber Of Commerce (Resigned Within A Year).
  • Started A Lamp Manufacturing Business (It Failed).
  • Took A Job As Salesman For The Michelin Tire Company (Was Eventually Laid Off).
  • Landed A Job Running A Service Station (Station Closed Due To The Economy).
colonel sanders story quote

Positive Change, For A While

Things started to change for Colonel Sanders when he hit 40. He would eventually land another job working for a service station out of Kentucky. This time, he worked for Shell, and was allowed to live their rent free so long as he paid a portion of his sales to the company.

And, because he had a living quarters within this station, Sanders started to experiment with offering up his delicious chicken to customers. The demand for his meals grew so large, that he eventually opened up a restaurant in the station to serve all the interested customers.

Sanders’ popularity grew so fast within the community, that he practically became a household name locally. Everybody knew Sanders, especially because he did volunteer work delivering babies locally, that and because everyone loved the delicious meals his restaurant served. And before he knew it, his generosity and popularity helped him earn the title of colonel by the Governor of Kentucky.

With his restaurant business and reputation humming along, Sanders would seek to expand his empire. He purchased a hotel in North Carolina, but then just a few short months later, his popular restaurant in Kentucky would burn down.

Sanders would go on to rebuild it, but the economy was starting to become severely impacted by WWII, which would eventually force him to close his North Carolina hotel.

Refiring Instead of Retiring

When Sanders hit the age of 52 he started to dabble with the idea of franchising his secret recipe. He would call his perfected recipe, “Kentucky Fried Chicken”. Unfortunately, his idea to franchise his recipe didn’t receive the warm welcome he was hoping for. In fact, his recipe would get rejected 1,009 times before anyone warmed up to the idea.

But, he persisted and eventually found a few converts he and there, and would eventually negotiate around 4 cents for every chicken sold that used his recipe.

Unfortunately, at the age of 65, Sanders’ hit restaurant in Kentucky would eventually lose steam. As such, he sold it. Sanders was now forced into early retirement with only a small amount of savings and a measly social security check to live off of.

But, believing that every failure could be a stepping stone to something better, he decided to use his new found circumstances as an opportunity to really push his recipe franchising idea into overdrive. So, he hit the road and did what he did best aside from making phenomenal chicken, he started selling his recipe.

And as the saying goes, the rest is history. Colonel Sanders’ Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise would explode in popularity and demand. He got the funding he’d been looking for and expanded his franchise all over the country, and then the world.

Avalanches of success flowed the Colonel’s way, and before he knew it he had over 600 franchises selling his chicken all over the world. This new found success allowed Colonel Sanders to finally slow down at the ripe age of 73. So, he sold his company and turned him into a multi-millionaire overnight.

Success In His Own Words

Before we wrap up this Colonel Sanders story of success and achievement, here are a few of his own insights on success. Consider these quotes his very own advice on what it takes to succeed in the world of business, as he has:

Read More: Colonel Sanders Quotes

Final Thoughts

Colonel Sanders story demonstrates how someone can flit around from job to job and still eventually find his groove and leave a legacy. Sander’s story also shows that hard work and diligence eventually pays off, especially if you press on long enough.

But most importantly, Colonel Sanders’ story highlights how it’s possible to continually turn your life around, and go from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm, and that there is a fantastic reward that awaits those who through sheer will and persistence, keep striving for their goals.

Colonel Sanders is indeed an icon, a legend, and yes even a massive failure…. but that’s exactly why he’s also a massive success.

Till you reach your aims,


PS – If you enjoy this Colon Sanders Success Story, then chances are you’ll also enjoy these handful of motivational stories.

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Best Success Stories

Success, it’s something we all strive for in some form or fashion, but what is it?  What is success?  There are multiple definitions these days.  However, there seems to be just one common thread that most people do agree on about success.  And that is this, that success is a biproduct of persisting in the face of failure.  So, that is what we hope to share with you on this page, inspirational success stories that clearly reveal the road commonly travelled by people who have achieved staggering success.

Our purpose in sharing these success stories is that they may encourage you to keep striving towards your dreams, and keep you believing that achieving the “impossible” is actually possible.

With that being said, here are the top success stories to inspire you to succeed in the face of failure, setbacks, and obstacles. If you are ready to be inspired, let’s dive in.


inspirational success stories

1. Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone has one of the most inspiring success stories. Before he made it big, he was essentially a starving artist. For many years after during and after his college years, he worked odd jobs to pay the bill while simultaneously taking on any acting roles he could find to keep his dreams of becoming a successful actor alive.

It was a struggle that Sylvester would endure for many years, seven in fact. Throughout all of those seven challenging years, Sylvester would gain a few small roles in a handful of movies, but nothing grand enough to get his career launched.

During those seven long years of striving, he came face-to-face with near poverty. Getting so desperate for money he at one point had to sell his wife’s jewelry out of desperation for money. He even had to sell his dog because he couldn’t keep him fed. And to top it all off, there came a point where Sylvester was homeless, and had to sleep outside for a number of days.

But, his days of struggle as an aspiring actor would not last forever. After facing seemingly insurmountable odds for over seven years, he would finally get his big break. And this break would come after he managed to get a script he wrote in a three day flurry of inspiration, in front of two big-shot directors in Hollywood.

It was this defining moment that would turn the tides for Sylvester Stallone, and his career would skyrocket after he negotiated the lead role in the film that would come to be known as ‘Rocky’.

Success eventually comes to those who always dream of her. For a more complete account of Sylvester Stallone’s inspiring success story, you can find it here.

sylvester stallone success stories quote

2. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey’s success story is very unique. From a very early age she experienced a level of adversity and poverty that most people would struggle to overcome. She was born into poverty and a broken home in rural Mississippi. Her parents who were just 18 and 19 when they had her, split soon after she was born, so she ended up being taking in by her grand mother.

And her grandmother was not your typical warm and fuzzy grandmother. No, she was a hard-nosed grandmother who was an extreme disciplinarian who discipline her for even the slightest offenses. But, the poverty and disciplined lifestyle didn’t last forever as she moved back with mother at the age of six.

Oprah would then experience sexual assault at an early age, having been molested as early as 9 by some of her family members. And having been emotionally abandoned, abused, and molested, she eventually started part-taking in extremely risky behaviors which led to her becoming pregnant at the age of 14.

Because she got pregnant her mother kicked her out of the house, and she went to live with her father, only to go on to lose the baby a week after he was born.

Needless to say, Oprah’s early life was chockfull of struggle, adversity, and tragedy. But, regardless of all of her unfortunate experiences, she decided to turn her life around after she lost her baby. So, she committed herself to getting an education, becoming her best, and to going after her dreams.

She decided to start trusting herself again, and loving herself, and making choices that would improve her life versus destroy it. One day, she garnered enough confidence to participate in a beauty pageant. And it was her participation in this pageant that would eventually lead her into a job working for a radio station doing the news. Her love for speaking to an audience set the stage for continued success as she would go on to become a news anchor, which she would eventually leverage to host a TV chat show in Maryland, which ultimately led to her having her morning talk show in Chicago.

And as they say, the rest was history. Oprah overcame massive challenges in her youth. Challenges that side line all too many people. She chose to turn her wounds into wisdom, and went on to become one of the most successful talk show hosts in history (by helping many others do the same) with her own self-named talk show, The Oprah Winfrey show. And now she is considered one of the richest self-made women in America.

success stories - oprah

3. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Considering Arnold Schwarzenegger is the epitome of the self-made man, we wouldn’t dare exclude him from our success stories collection. Having been born and raised in Austria, at a time where it was still healing from it’s defeat in World War II, the odds were already stacked against him.

Arnold grew up in a climate where alcoholism was rampant, where defeatism was the norm, and big dreaming was laughed at.

But Arnold didn’t care. He knew he didn’t want to live the traditional Austrian life his parents wanted for him, and he knew he wanted to move to America, the land of the free.

As such, he hatched a plan to become a success in body-building, and then use that success to get into movies. And sure enough he did just that. He went on to fulfill his vision by becoming the youngest man to ever win a Mr. Universe competition, and then on to win five Mr. Universe titles and seven Mr. Olympia titles.

After reaching what he set out to do in the sport of bodybuilding, he then went on to commit himself to the acting career he had always dreamed of. And sure enough, he would go on to conquer the film industry to the same degree that he conquered the body building world. Going on to star in multiple blockbuster movies that would gross over $3 billion, and earn him one of the most sizeable net worth’s in Hollywood.

You can find a more complete account of Arnold’s inspiring success story here.

Success Stories Arnold Quote

4. JK Rowling

J.K Rowling had a dream of becoming a writer early on. But, she would have to persist for many years before her dream of becoming a published author would materialize. Almost as soon as she decided to get to work on putting her ideas down on paper for her book, she would be sidetracked by her mother’s death.

The depression that would ensue left Rowling seeking out a job as a teacher in another country. Soon after, she would get married and have a child, which would delay her aspirations even further.

But things weren’t done going off the rails for Rowling, as her marriage would abruptly end just one year after it began, leading her to be jobless with a child, and a barely surviving off of unemployment benefits.

However, despite her challenges, Rowling would persist in the creation of her book. And she did so by seizing every spare moment she could while her child slept to write. Until finally the day came when she completed her manuscript.

Of course, even after Rowling finished her manuscript obstacles still remained. 12 different publishers would reject her novel, and she found herself almost ready to quit before her manuscript would eventually get accepted. And it was at that moment, that J.K. Rowling’s luck turned around.

Now, J.K. Rowling is now one of the best selling authors of all time. In fact, she is the highest paid novelist in the world, with her books having been translated into over 80 different languages with over 500 million being sold. Clearly, persistence and patience pays off in the long run.

success stories - jk rowling quote

5. Steven Spielberg

Most people don’t know this, but Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school three times. But he didn’t let those rejections stop him, and he kept applying till he got accepted.  Eventually Cal State, Long Beach would accept him into their film program. 

Fortunately for Spielberg, he would then go on to leverage his opportunity at Cal State to land an unpaid internship at Universal Studios. 

Of course, this internship wouldn’t last forever, but it lasted just long enough for him to learn how sneak in to the studios undetected so he could continually gather intel on what it would take to become successful in the business. 

Finally, the day would come that he managed to get a film he created in the hands of film executives. But, he had to first overcome the film executives multiple attempts to make him give up.

After being told that the film size was not the right size multiple times, and remaking the entire demo to the recommended sizes every time, the executives finally relented and gave him his film a shot. The movie would go on to win major awards, and solidified Steven Spielberg’s place within the industry.

Steven Spielberg is now one of the most influential film makers in history and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. And out of all of our inspirational stories of success, his story in particular, shows, that if you knock long enough and hard enough, the doors of opportunity will eventually swing open for you.

Related: 5 Steps to Start Living Your Dreams

Success Stories - spielberg

6. Mary Kay Ash

Mary Kay Ash has a truly inspiring success story. Mary Kay Ash was born in a small l town in Texas and got married and started a family at an extremely young age of 17. She went on to have three children with her husband who was in the military, but they eventually got a divorce.

Mary Kay would struggle for years to take care of her children on her own, taking various sales jobs in the direct selling industry, and striving to climb the corporate ranks. However, after many years of selling various products, along with a few middle management and trainer roles, she started to feel like she was being overlooked for the more prominent leadership roles she aspired to because she was a woman. As such, she eventually decided to take matters into her own hands.

Once her kids were out of the house and on their own, At the age of 45 Mary Kay Ash decided to become her own boss and start her own cosmetic company. She started off very small, but in just a few short years, she manage to transform Mary Kay Cosmetics into a multi-billion dollar corporation that still serves and empowers people all over the world to this day.

Despite being past what most people consider their prime, Mary Kay went on to author multiple best-selling books like The Mary Kay WayMiracles HappenYou Can Have It All, as well as a few others, and she became an inspiration to countless women. And due to the success of her business and her aim to inspire as many people as possible, she became a multi-millionaire and eventually named as ‘The Greatest Woman In American History’.

inspirational success stories - mary kay ash

7. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo grew up in a household that was barely getting by. As a child, he had to share a room with three of his siblings due to their meager financial situation. There were even times where they didn’t have enough money to buy a soccer ball just so he could play in the streets. But Ronaldo did not let his environment dictate his destiny.

No, instead he would find ways to play the sport he loved even without the ball. He would use bottles, rags, or pretty much anything he could find to make a makeshift ball just so he could play. 

Eventually, Cristiano would get so good at soccer, that he would have to make the ultimate sacrifice at the age of 11 to move over 500 miles away from his family to train with a prestigious soccer academy. It’s a good thing he did too, because by doing so, he put himself on track to eventually become on of the best players in history.

Now Cristiano Ronaldo is known as the greatest Portuguese player of all time by the Portuguese Football federation.  He is also considered by millions of soccer fans all across the globe to be the greatest of all time. 

In addition to this, he is the first soccer player ever to earn over $1 billion dollars, while generating one of the largest net worth’s among professional athletes.  

If you’re looking to learn more about Cristiano’s inspiring success story, you’ll love this.

success story quote

8. Lionel Messi

Since we are on the topic of soccer, we might as well mention Lionel Messi’s success story because it’s is every bit as inspiring.  Here’s why, at age of 11, Messi was cut from his soccer team because they thought he was too small to play.  And he was small, but it was because he had a growth hormone deficiency which made him a lot smaller than all the other kids his age.

Fortunately, Messi didn’t let this deter him.  Instead, he would place himself on a strict regimen where he would inject growth hormones into himself.  And he would go on to do inject himself with this hormone for seven days in one leg, and then seven days in the other.

Messi would keep this routine up for six years.

The great news is, Messi’s sacrifice and persistence paid off.  Because now, he is one of the highest paid soccer players with a staggering net worth, and is considered by legions of fans to be one of the best soccer players of all time due to his winning soccer’s highest achievement, ‘The Ballon d’Or’ six times.

Success requires sacrifice.

success story quote - messi

9. Michael Jordan

Since we mentioned the greatest of all time in soccer, we can’t leave out the man many consider to be the greatest of all time in basket ball. Now, most people aren’t’ aware of this, but when Michael Jordan was merely a sophomore in high school, he already had big dreams of being a great basketball player. 

So he did something brash and tried out for the Varsity team. But, things didn’t go his way and he got himself cut from the team.

This rejection hit Jordan especially hard because of his oversized dreams and expectations. In fact, the rejection hit him so hard he went home afterwards and cried in his closet.

Even though that rejection still bothered Jordan, he dusted himself off and went all in for the JV team.  He trained like no other in the off season and grew four extra inches. And the following year he tried out for the varsity team again. But this second time around, he made it.

Not only did he make it, but he went on to become the team’s MVP, making the All-American Team, and eventually earned himself a college scholarship. And from there, well, you know the rest of the story.

He went on to become the man who would score 32,292 points in a basketball career, acquire 6 NBA championships, collect 5 MVP titles, and come to be considered as the greatest basketball player of all time.

For all the success stories we’ve covered, this one clearly shows the importance of having great expectations, and resilience after rejection.

success stories quote by michael jordan

10. Paulo Coelho

Over 30 years ago a book titled ‘The Alchemist’ was published and hardly anyone noticed. The author of this book was a man named Paulo Coelho, and he was told by the first bookseller to carry his book, that only one person bought a copy after it was released.  As bad as it was to hear about the grim results Coelho remained confident in his work. 

He waited for better results to appear, but they were slow to come by as six months would pass before the next copy would be sold.  Oddly, the person who bought his first book was the same person who bought the second.

After that first year the publisher decided that the book was a flop and ended Coelho’s contract.  Fortunately, though, Coelho shrugged off that initial defeat.  He made up his mind to not give in, and so he doubled down to pursue his vision with even more fervor by finding another publisher. 

Now finding this new publisher was no easy task, as he was met with rejection after rejection.  But, he finally did land that new publisher, and with it, another opportunity capture his dream.

From that point forward Coelho’s dreams started to come true.  At first, he only sold three thousand books.  But the sales kept trickling in, as he then sold ten thousand, and then 100 thousand, and on and on. 

Coelho’s luck has yet to run out, as his books sales continue to grow year over year, with now over 150 million and counting copies of ‘The Alchemist’ having been sold. Even more staggering is the fact that he sold over 320 million books when counting all of his works.

Paulo Coelho’s story shows that if you truly want something bad enough, all the universe really will conspire to help you make that dream happen.

Related: Success Quotes for Overcoming Failure

Success Stories Paulo Coelho Quote

11. Abraham Lincoln

Most of us know of this great man because of what he did for our country. The Emancipation Proclamation which led to the abolition of slavery was a massive accomplishment.

But, what most don’t realized about Abraham Lincoln, is that he has one of the most impressive rap sheets when it comes to overcoming defeat.

In short, his success story consists of a list of failures and set backs so sizable, that you would hardly think it belonged to one of the greatest presidents of the United States of America.

Here’s a great example of the many failures Lincoln endured, with a few victories he managed to sprinkle in over his lifetime:

1832: Lost his job

1832: Defeated for legislature

1833: Failed in business

1834: Elected to legislature

1835: The woman he loved died

1836: Had a nervous breakdown

1838: Defeated for Speaker

1843: Defeated for nomination for Congress

1848: Lost re-nomination

1849: Reject for Land Officer

1854: Defeated for Senate

1856: Defeated for nomination for Vice-President

1858: Again defeated for Senate

1860: Elected for President of The United States of America

To be sure, Lincoln failed his way to success, and his recorded failures helps us realize the truth behind the Michael Jordan quote we mentioned earlier, and that is…that the key to success is through failure.

Real Life Inspirational Stories of Success - Abe Lincoln

12. Tom Brady

One of our favorite inspirational stories of success comes from Tom Brady. Brady didn’t follow the typical athletic path into the NFL. While most athletes begin getting groomed for the sport by the 3rd grade, Tom Brady wouldn’t set foot onto the grid iron until the 9th grade.

In fact, his debut into actually getting onto the football field didn’t come until his Sophomore year when the starting quarterback for the JV team quit. Fortunately for Brady, that opportunity helped him capture the starting Varsity QB role by the time his Junior year arrived.

After finding success at the high school level, Brady would eventually go on to become a Michigan Wolverine. But success wasn’t a given for Brady at this level. Nope, he had to earn it.

In fact, Brady came into the program as an underdog, with seven other quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart. After almost requesting a transfer to another school, Brady’s determination would eventually win him the coveted starting position by the time he was a Junior.

The obstacles Brady would face continued on even into the Pros. Brady had his mind set to play in the pros, but there was very little interest in him during the draft. In fact, Brady barely made the draft, being chosen in the 6th round as the 199th pick.

Brady was grossly underrated and underestimated by every coach in the league. His draft report from 2000 NFL draft actually stated the following qualities:

  • Poor Build | Skinny
  • Lacks Great Physical Stature and Strength
  • Lacks Mobility and Ability to Avoid The Rush
  • Lacks a Really Strong Arm
  • Can’t Drive The Ball Down Field
  • Doesn’t Throw a Really Tight Spiral
  • System-Type Player Who Can Get Exposed if Forced to Adlib
  • Gets Knocked Down Easily

Indeed, Tom brady was not the highest rated quarterback, he wasn’t the most well groomed for the sport, nor was he the best athlete. In addition, he didn’t have the best numbers, or even the best mechanics. However, Tom Brady did have the most heart and determination.

Thus, through sheer willpower, he pushed himself to becoming one of the greatest football players of all times. And he has proved his case with the following accolades:

  • Most NFL Championships By a Player (7x)
  • Most Games Won By a Quarterback
  • Most Games Played By a Quarterback
  • Most Combined Passing Yards
  • Most Touchdown Passes
  • Most 4th Quarter Comebacks
  • Best Touchdown to Interception Ratio
  • 5 Time Super Bowl MVP
  • 3 Time MVP of the NFL
  • 2 Time NFL All-Decade Team Player
  • Only Player to Win a Super Bowl for Both The AFC & NFC
Success Stories - Tom Brady

Bonus Success Story

We decided to add one last bonus success story to drive the point home that it’s never too late to be what you might have been — and that no matter where you come from, or where you’ve been, you can change, you can clean up your act, and you can find massive success in the process.

So, this last success story is about a man who grew up poor in Louisiana, lost his father at a young age, and was raised a single-parent household with four other siblings. This last story is about a man named Grant Cardone.

Cardone is not your typical celebrity. He didn’t come from money, he is not a Hollywood superstar, and doesn’t possess some amazing talent, like script-writing, politics, or athleticism. However, what he does possess, is something that is available to us all, and that is a determination to succeed.

Grant Cardone found himself in bad company in his youth. He was involved and addicted to drugs, and was stuck in a downward spiral for over a decade. After getting robbed at gun point, getting beaten to a bloody pulp with a gun, and then getting kicked out of his mother’s house, he finally decided to change his life.

At the age of 25 Grant Cardone decided to clean up his act. He cut all the negative influences from his life, got sober, and took one of the first jobs he could land as a car salesmen. It wasn’t a job he was thrilled about, but he made due given that his options were limited because of a slow economy at the time.

Cardone committed to becoming the best salesperson he could be and invested heavily in his own self-improvement by reading books and studying his craft and his industry.

After committing to becoming his very best, his income doubled, and he soon became one of the best car salesmen in the country. He eventually moved on to running his own business, and was extremely smart and disciplined with his money. He would go on to save every dollar that wasn’t absolutely needed to keep him fed and housed, and moved that money into an investment fund just for real estate.

Grant Cardone’s focus on learning more so that he could earn more, along with having the discipline to invest his extra money, instead of wasting it on frivolous things, helped him become a self-made millionaire just five years later by the age of 30.

Cardone has since gone on to become a prominent international businessman, speaker, and the owner of Cardone Capital, a $1.5 billion investment firm.  He’s also authored New York Times bestselling books If You’re Not First, You’re Last, and other notable books like The 10X Rule, and Axiom Award winning Sell or Be Sold.  In addition to this, he also founded Cardone University, a popular sales training platform that has accrued over 50,000,000 and growing users.

It took Grant Cardone only five years to completely revolutionize his entire life. With the right mindset and a good dose of willpower, just imagine what 5 years could do for you.

Success Stories - Gardone

Final Thoughts

Hopefully these success stories help you realize that while success may be elusive, it is not unattainable. We also hope that you’ve come to understand that success is both a journey and a destination. And in order to achieve success, you’ll have to first go through your share of struggles, rejections, and even disasters.

So, keep your feet on the ground and your eyes on the prize. Keep moving towards your dreams no matter what. Do this, and your success will be just around the corner.

Till next time,


PS – Every success story is different and can inspire in a different way, and if you’re looking for more inspiring stories about how others achieved success, then you’ll love our Strive Stories.

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Strive Stories




grant cardone story of success

Grant Cardone is a prominent international businessman, speaker, and owner of Cardone Capital, a $5 billion investment firm.  Cardone is also the author of the New York Times bestselling book If You’re Not First, You’re Last, and other notable books like The 10X Rule, and Axiom Award winning Sell or Be Sold.  In addition to this, he is also the founder of Cardone University, a popular sales training platform that has accrued over 50,000,000 users and continues to grow to this day.  So, considering Grant Cardone’s list of impressive achievements, we will be diving into how this success superstar came to be in this Grant Cardone Success Story special.

“Average is a Failing Formula.”

They say success leaves clues, and we believe it.  Which is why we cover uber-successful people like Grant Cardone.  We also chose Grant Cardone because he has a great rags to riches story to boot. 

In addition to this, we also believe every story possesses hidden insights that can teach us, guide us, and benefit us in incredible ways.  So, with that being said, if you’re ready to learn how Grant Cardone became an above average person let’s dive in.


grant cardone story

Growing Pains | Grant Cardone Success Story

Grant Cardone grew up in a little town called Lake Charles in the state of Louisiana.   He and his twin brother were the youngest out of five children.  At the age of 10, Cardone lost his father, and his mother was forced to support 5 children alone, with no education, and no work experience. It was a combination that led to very slim prospects for Grant’s success growing up.  Fortunately, his mother found a way to make it work. But needless to say, Cardone grew up poor, and in an environment that was less than ideal.

And it was this environment, and the trauma he faced from losing his father early in life, and his oldest brother a few years later, that led him towards a self-destructive and downward spiraling path.  And so from the age of 15 to 25, Cardone found himself in bad company, making bad decisions, and addicted to drugs.

However, there was one traumatic event that would act as a catalyst for reversing the direction of his life.  And this event would occur one rainy night when Cardone was walking home.  As he walked home, a friend of his set him up to get robbed at gun point. 

And in his attempts to fight off the armed robber, Cardone was severely beaten with a pistol and left for dead.  Cardone ended up in the hospital for three days and would need over 70 stiches.  His face was so damaged from the robbery, that when his mother came to visit, she couldn’t even recognize him.  

This experience was a major turning point for Cardone.  But the final straw that would see Cardone check himself into a rehab center was the day his mother kicked him out of her house.

Turning Point

Grant Cardone was 25 years old when he finally decided to clean his life up.  After he got out of rehab, Cardone committed to living a sober life in pursuit of his potential.  And even though he felt like a loser at the time, he knew, deep down inside that he was meant to do more with his life. 

As such, upon his release from rehab he chose to cut out all negative influences from his life.  He stopped hanging around his drug addict friends, he stayed away from his enemies, and all those negative influences and environments that in the past kept him going back to the comfort of drugs like clock work.

The Struggle

Now after deciding to turn his life around things didn’t automatically become full of sunshine and rainbows for Cardone.  He still had to find an avenue to pursue his potential.  Cardone had his degree in accounting, but such jobs were limited at the time.  And, with the economy being slow with unemployment at 24%, Cardone didn’t have the luxury of being selective.

“What’s Crazy Is The Thing I Hated Became The Gateway To The Rest Of My Life”

– grant cardone –

As such, he landed a job as a car sales person, even though he detested the decision, because he had an accounting degree.   However, he took some advice he got from his mother early on, and applied it to his situation.   And the advice was this…  “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

As such, he got to work learning as much as he possibly could about selling, how to influence people, along with everything there was to know about the automobile industry. 

After he saw his income double from $3,000 to $6,000 per month, he knew he figured out one of the most powerful tools for becoming successful; applied knowledge.  And, through that effort and investment in knowledge, Cardone eventually became one of the best car salesmen in the country.

Towards Becoming Self-Made

 Cardone’s success within the industry would skyrocket. But eventually he got fired after trying to do the right thing by telling the owner of a company that another sales person was stealing from him. 

Grant Cardone Story Quote

But Cardone didn’t let this setback diminish his enthusiasm or momentum.  And instead decided to never become dependent on another person or company again. 

As such, he started his own sales consulting business, and began aggressively selling his sales strategies across the country.  And shortly there after, Cardone paved a way for himself as a self-made man.

Related: Motivational Grant Cardone Quotes

Success Ethos | Cardone Success Story

Grant Cardone’s business took off, and his businesses were doing so well that he eventually became a millionaire by the age of 30.    But he didn’t become a millionaire just because his businesses were earning large amounts of income. 

The truth is, nobody automatically becomes a millionaire just because they have an income or a business. Nope, but Grant Cardone became a millionaire because he was disciplined with his money, and because he had a millionaire mindset.

Essentially, every time he paid himself from his businesses earnings, he would consider himself “broke” immediately after, because he’d shove all his extra money into down payments for investments, primarily in the form of real estate.

Cardone would do this for years, until his assets topped a million dollars.  And it is this same simple process that he uses to this day; which has helped him achieve more than a billion dollars in his investment ventures.  He strives to make as much money as he can, so he can invest as much as he can to build an investment empire, it’s that simple.

Success In His Own Words

With that being said, our Grant Cardone story wouldn’t be complete without a few wise words from the man himself. As such, here are a few supporting Cardone Quotes to help sum up his success ethos so you can follow suit:

But don’t just take our word for it. Watch the excellent video below. In the video he explains how he built up his massive net worth. In addition to this, he demonstrates how anyone can do the same to become a millionaire.

So, give it a watch, as it sums up his success ethos very succinctly.

Video Credit: Grant Cardone (Subscribe Here)

Related: New Worth of Grant Cardone


There you have it, the Grant Cardone success story that describes his Journey from being a poor kid from Louisiana, to barely surviving as a drug addict, to then making the most of his situation to rise to superstardom as one of the top motivational leaders internationally. 

We’ve uncovered the success ethos that has guided Cardone in creating the massive success and wealth he now enjoys. Here they are again as a recap to answer the question about how Grant Cardone became successful:

Obsession with Success | Self-DevelopmentInvesting Every Extra Dollar Into Assets

Now go forth and apply the Grant Cardone success insights you’ve just gained to help you improve your life.  And remember…

So, don’t doubt that by doing so, you can and will eventually become a self-reliant and a self-made millionaire, just like Grant Cardone.

Till next time,


PS – If you enjoyed our Grant Cardone success story, then you’ll love this collection of short but encouraging success stories.

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Strive Stories




Robert Downey Jr. Success Story

From his humble beginnings in a small theater in New York to the big screen, Robert Downey Jr. has come a long way. His journey was not easy. It was full of highs and lows, successes and failures, but ultimately it was one of incredible transformation.

Let’s take a look at how the man we now know as Iron Man and whom has accumulated over a $300 million dollar fortune got his start, struggled with addiction, and eventually found massive success in Hollywood, and beyond in this Robert Downey Jr. Success Story write-up.


robert downey jr. story

Childhood and Early Career

Robert Downey Jr. was born in New York City in 1965. His parents were both involved in the movie business, a legacy he inherited. From the age of five, Robert was fortunate enough to join his father’s film sets due to his being a filmmaker. His dad was an actor and director, while his mother worked as an actress in various small roles. As he often featured in minor roles in his father’s projects, this enabled Robert to develop an affinity for acting from such a young age.

When he was 12, he joined the Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts institute and soon after moved to California at age 13. His passion for acting pushed him to quit school in 1982 so that it could become his full-time career. He then made the move back East and settled in New York City.[1]

In 1983, Downey ventured into theatre by showcasing his talent in the celebrated production of American Passion at the Joyce Theater. In 1985, he joined the new cast of Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, following a year full of negative reviews, most of the cast were removed from their positions in order to make way for a new crew.

This didn’t hold the young actor back and he continued to find roles that would expand his career, including “Tuff Turf”, “Weird Science”, and “The Pick-up Artist”. His first notable drama performance was in the film “Less Than Zero”, a story of teenage addiction, angst, and decadence. Robert’s portrayal of drug-addicted rich kid Julian Wells earned him several accolades.

The 1992 production of “Chaplin” took Downey’s career to a whole new level. As the lead role portraying Charlie Chaplin, Robert earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role, alongside Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington.

The Struggle with Addiction

The road to success was not without its bumps and setbacks. Despite his success, the late 1980s and early 1990s saw Robert’s life spiraling out of control due to substance abuse.

Throughout his twenties and thirties, Robert continued to star in films but began to struggle with substance abuse issues – namely alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine addiction. However, he stated that this dependency on drugs began well before adulthood.

His father reportedly gave him drugs when he was just eight years old. This dark underside of his life had been masked by his family’s glamour and industry connections, yet was rearing its ugly head now that the pressure was on.

From 1996 to 2001, Downey was arrested multiple times for being found with drugs in his possession and for using them in public. He was also sent to jail twice for violating the terms of his probation. He personally admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he was in a self-destructive spiral and would stop at nothing, even if it meant losing his first wife, health, and career.

Even his seminal role on the show “Ally McBeal”, coming along with Emmy nominations for Downey, wasn’t enough to keep him out of trouble. The young actor was nearing the height of his career but was also at the height of his addiction.

The Road to Redemption

In 2003, Susan Levin proved to be a pivotal point in his life and career. Refusing to tie the knot with him unless he abandoned drugs, she made it clear that an entirely different life was what she wanted for him. After losing so much of his past, this was a turning point for Robert Downey Jr.

Robert immediately decided to get sober and committed himself to a long-term rehabilitation program.

After that, he registered for a program where he engaged in yoga, martial arts, mindfulness, and meditation. This marked the commencement of his most difficult challenge ever – life was tough but he had to work even harder. He developed a new outlook on life and became determined to make an impact.

As time went on, he starred in an array of progressively successful films, such as “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, “Gothika”, “Zodiac”, “Good Night and Good Luck” and the thought-provoking thriller “A Scanner Darkly”.[2]

2008 marked the release of Robert Downey Jr’s breakout film ‘Iron Man’, a critical and commercial success that grossed over $580 million, making him an instant household name and Hollywood star. From there, he went on to star in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, becoming a global phenomenon.

Giving Back to Others

Robert Downey Jr. has been incredibly generous in his career, yet he hasn’t publically shared much about it. Although it is not widely publicized, Robert Downey Jr. continuously gives donations to noteworthy organizations such as the Orca Network. His surprise visit to a Make-a-Wish event in Singapore was an astounding success that resulted in record-breaking fundraising proceeds.

Robert Downey Jr. has recently created The Footprint Coalition, an organization dedicated to utilizing technology in order to help protect the environment and combat climate change. By combining the influence of celebrities such as himself with financial investments, they are able to raise awareness while also supporting other environmental non-profits across the globe.

Success Secrets from Robert Downey Jr. Story

Robert Downey Jr. is a true success story and his path to redemption serves as an example for others who may be struggling with addiction. His story proves that change is possible and that, through hard work, dedication and resilience, anything can be achieved.

He attributes much of his success to his ability to stay humble and grounded despite the spotlight he receives. He also emphasizes the importance of surrounding yourself with people who can help keep you on track and motivate you to do your best.

Finally, Robert Downey Jr. encourages us all to be mindful of our inner peace and take time to care for ourselves, as this is an essential element in finding success. His time focusing on mindfulness practices in his darkest days allowed him to go on to become the successful actor he is today.

So if you’re looking to become the best version of yourself and make a great change in the world, take a page out of Robert Downey Jr.’s book and allow yourself the time to become balanced and focused, while also surrounding yourself with positive people who can support you in your journey. You won’t regret it!

Till you reach your aims,


PS – If you enjoyed this Robert Downey Jr. Story about success and struggle then you’ll probably also enjoy this collection of short inspirational success stories.

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Strive Stories




suze orman success story

Suze Orman is a highly successful personal finance expert and advisor who is best known for her TV show, podcast, and numerous New York Times bestsellers. In the late 80’s, she founded the Suze Orman Financial Group, and she eventually ran a show on CNBC for 13 years where she shared helpful financial tips so people could learn how to manage their money better. She has also been named one of Time’s Top 100 most influential people on multiple occasions, and has won numerous awards. Needless to say, she knows a thing or two about success, which is why we’ve decided to publish the Suze Orman Success Story in more detail.

“People First, Then Money, Then Things.”

– suze orman –

It is critical to take a closer look at why some people are more successful than others. That way, we can learn from some of the mistakes that they made without having to make them ourselves, while also following in the footsteps of what made them successful. Indeed, just about every success story leaves a blueprint.

Now, Suze Orman’s success story is not straightforward. However, by taking a closer look at it, we can use it as a source of inspiration, and maybe even discover a few success clues that can help to move our dreams forward.


Suze Orman Story of Success

Early Days: Speech Issues Make Life Hard

Kids are perceptive. They will immediately notice anything that makes anyone different. That is something that Suze Orman noticed immediately. She had a difficult childhood, growing up on the south side of Chicago. Life became even harder when she realized that she had a speech impediment. 

Born in 1951, she had a difficult time pronouncing letters such as R, S, and T. This meant that she had a hard time learning how to say certain words. For example, she had a difficult time saying the word “beautiful,” and she had a hard time saying words like “fair” and “shouldn’t” properly.[1]

Because she could not speak very well, she also could not read very well. She was consistently among the lowest-scoring students in the class in reading and writing, and she was often ostracized from the rest of her classmates because of her low test scores. 

Barely Scraping By: Going To College

Even though she scored poorly on tests, including the SAT, she decided to go to college anyway. Her family was having a difficult time with money. While some students had parents who could pay for their education, and other students were receiving scholarships because of their academic achievements, Suze Orman had neither.

Her parents were struggling to get by, and she knew that she would have to pay for her college education herself. That meant that she had to put in the work to apply to all the state schools and community colleges. To her surprise, she did get accepted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

When Suze Orman walked through the school doors for the first time, she met a guidance counselor who would guide her in her class choices. Her dream was to be a brain surgeon. However, the guidance counselor immediately thought that she did not have what it took.

So, Orman got to work doing some research. She realized that the easiest major was social work, as such, that’s what she signed up for.[2]

The Language Issues Resurface

She knew that she needed to make enough money to pay for her college education, so she got a job working in the dish room of her college dorm seven days per week just to make enough money to pay the bills. She even shared a one-bedroom apartment with two friends she had met in her dorm.

Even though her social life was looking up, her language skills would eventually come back to haunt her. Even though she was supposed to graduate in 1973, she was unable to do so. She did not have her language requirement, and this time, it would be a foreign language.

Suze Orman knew that she was having a difficult time speaking the English language, so how on Earth would she learn a foreign language? So she decided not to put herself through the trauma, and essentially dropped out of college.

But all of her hopes and dream weren’t crushed. She still had a passion for travel and adventure, so she set off to travel across the country to see the Grand Canyon. 

She would have to make enough money to hitchhike across the country, so she worked some odd jobs as she explored everything the country had to offer. Eventually, she felt ashamed of not finishing her college degree, so she decided to take some Spanish classes at one of the local universities.

Finally, in 1976, three whole years after she was supposed to graduate, she earned her degree from the University of Illinois. 

A Desire To Own Her Own Restaurant

One of the jobs that she worked while she explored the country was waitressing. While she enjoyed it, she wanted to own her own restaurant. Her parents did not have the money to finance her restaurant, and she did not know what she would do.

She talked to her brother, who gave her some money, along with numerous other generous people to help her make her dream come true. Orman eventually collected over $50K from friends and patrons who supported her dream.

One of her patron’s advised her to deposit the money into a money market account. However, a bad-seed at the brokerage where she went to deposit the money, advised her to instead invest the funds into a speculative and high-risk investment so she could earn more money from her invested money while she saved the rest to meet her savings goal.

Sadly, just three months after she put the money in the account, it was all gone. All of the money given to her by her patron Fred, and her other supporters had been drained through those speculative investments. She felt like her dream was within reach, and then suddenly, the money was gone.

This prompted Suze Orman to decide that she did not want something like this to happen to anybody else, so she decided to become a financial advisor. Orman felt like there were not a lot of female role models from which to learn, so she decided to change that fact by getting into the financial advising industry.

Founding the Suze Orman Financial Group

So in short order, she decided to join Merrill Lynch, where she completed her training. After some time she moved overt to Prudential securities to become a vice-president, and then after she felt like she really knew her stuff, she resigned and founded her own financial group.[3]

After leading numerous customers and clients to financial success, demand grew for her services. In fact, demand for her services grew so fast, that she and her financial group became the go-to for financial advising.

Thus, in short order she became a household name, especially when she started writing books. Suze Orman has since written ten consecutive New York Times bestsellers about personal finance, won two Emmy Awards, and won eight Gracie Awards. She has been a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King live close to 30 times, and she is best known for her show on CNBC.

These days, Suze Orman still pops up across on various shows or podcasts, offering her helpful financial insights to all who will listen.

Related: Suze Orman Quotes

Final Thoughts

So, there it is. The Suze Orman story. No doubt, her journey is rife with lots of challenges and adventures, but it is also one filled with helpful advice on how everyone, including you, can navigate an eventful life where everything doesn’t goes as planned, to eventually coming out on top as a success, both financially and professionally.

That said, if if you’re looking to learn more about Suze Orman and her wonderful financial philosophy, her website is a good place to start.

Till you reach your aims,


PS – If you enjoyed this Suze Orman success story, then you’ll probably enjoy learning about the success journeys of fellow financial experts Dave Ramsey or Robert Kiyosaki.

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