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Amazing Individual Comeback Stories that will Inspire you

Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali and many other great and renowned people had some inspirational comeback stories after series of setbacks and undesirable situations.

“The world is full of suffering, but it is also full of overcoming it.” Helen Keller, who unexpectedly become blind and deaf at the age of two, is quoted above. Helen Keller went on to become a famous author and educator who inspired millions of people all over the world.

Keller’s life was the epitome of grit and perseverance, two traits that frequently appear in the comeback tales of extremely successful people.

While it’s true that we are inspired by those who do great things, we are also greatly moved by inspirational success stories.

We may celebrate those who break down barriers and create revolutionary businesses, but we give standing ovations and cry for those who inspire us with their inspirational tales.

The following individual comeback stories should give you the drive to overcome whatever difficulties you may be facing if you’ve been having trouble in life.

Also Read: 8 Famous Motivational Quotes for Students Preparing for Examinations

What are Comeback Stories?

Typically, comeback tales fall into one of two categories:

  • The people who succeed greatly before suffering a severe setback that nearly undoes what they have accomplished.
  • The individuals who overcome great obstacles and start from scratch in order to have an impact on the world.

The first category of stories—those about the folks who reach the peak and then descend the mountain—tends to evoke less empathy in us.

How could they simply throw it all away when they had everything working in their favor?”

These comeback tales may be a little less relevant, but they nonetheless impart to us a valuable lesson about achievement: success is difficult to attain, but it’s even more difficult to sustain.

We frequently underestimate the amount of work required to achieve success, but we significantly overestimate the amount of work required to maintain success. Because of this, it is more difficult for us to relate to those who ruin their own achievement and then have to recover.

But what about a compelling tale of the underdog? The majority of us can typically support that.

Neither of these comeback tales is superior to the other. Even if the underdog story is somewhat more sympathetic, both kinds show the incredible strength of those who just refuse to give in to life’s difficulties.

The comeback tales that follow showcase examples of outstanding people from both sides.

Why Do Comeback Stories Appeal to Us?

Similar to motivational sayings about overcoming obstacles in life, comeback stories broaden our view of what is achievable.

Our brain clings onto the notion that our challenges are particular to us as one of its defense mechanisms. We feel less guilty for not acting to improve our circumstances if we think that our difficulties are singular and that no one else is suffering the same way.

Most of the time, our individual challenges are not uncommon.

It’s not just you that went through a difficult divorce. Nobody has ever grown up without a father or mother at home—not even you. You weren’t the only person who grew up in a community where bad influences were prevalent.

There are people who have been in your shoes all around the world and nevertheless managed to remake themselves by using their suffering as power.

In truth, the person staring back at you from the mirror is the only one who can prevent you from achieving everything you’ve ever desired.

8 Inspiring Individual Comeback Stories

Without further ado, let’s discuss some of the most motivational comeback tales that should inspire you to overcome your own challenges.

1. Niki Lauda

Even though I don’t particularly enjoy watching racing, this is one of the most inspiring comeback tales I’ve ever read about.

Individual Comeback Stories
Niki Lauda

Niki Lauda drove a Formula One car for Ferrari in 1976. Lauda had a successful year as well because he was about to claim his second consecutive world title.

Despite the less-than-ideal racing circumstances on August 1, 1976, he came to the German Grand Prix in top form. The drivers competing that day faced highly risky conditions due to heavy rain and an old race course.

Lauda, like many other drivers, was concerned about the potential effects of the race. He made the decision to express his worries by convening a meeting for drivers only, where he suggested that the race be called off.

Sadly, he was defeated by one vote in the end. A few hours later, Lauda lost control of his Ferrari after spinning off of a turn. His fuel tank blew up, and his car burst into flames as he hit the wall.

Lauda was engulfed in a fire because he was unable to exit the vehicle. The other drivers saw what was happening and got out of their cars to help Lauda, but they were unable to do so due to the fire.

He was engulfed in the raging fire for 50 seconds. Additionally, by the time he was taken from his car, he had third-degree burns that were awful and had ingested a lot of hazardous gases.

Lauda’s circumstances appeared so hopeless at one time that a priest actually stood over him while he was unconscious and read him his funeral rites.

Normally, you’d assume that someone who spent 50 seconds in an 800° fire would be out of competition for at least a few months, but Niki wasn’t like other people.

43 days later, he made the choice to suit up in defiance of all medical advice. His vision was still cloudy, his face had not fully recovered, and you can only image the kind of anguish he was going through.

A pretty amazing accomplishment for someone who had been fighting for his life just 43 days earlier, he finished fourth that day at Monza.

In what is usually regarded as the most thrilling Formula One season of all time, Lauda lost the world championship by just one point that year.

One of the most incredible comeback tales in sports history is still Lauda’s 1976 campaign.

2. Dwayne Johnson

We are all familiar with Dwayne Johnson as the former WWE star turned multi-millionaire actor, but less well-known is his journey to get there.

Individual Comeback Stories
Dewayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson dreamed of joining the NFL in 1995. He played defensive line with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League, but he had trouble getting enough playing time to show off his skills.

Unsurprisingly, after a brief tenure, the Stampeders terminated Dwayne Johnson, ending his hopes of playing in the NFL.

Shortly after, Johnson, who only had $7 to his name, went back to live with his parents in Tampa. Shortly after returning home, Johnson suffered from significant despair as a result of the unpredictability of his future.

He ultimately decided to pursue pro wrestling as his next career, though. And by simply being persistent, he transformed himself into one of the WWE’s most successful wrestlers.

And the rest is history, as they say. Johnson’s days of only having $7 to his name are long gone; today, he has a net worth of more than $320 million. Additionally, by continually extolling the virtues of discipline and work ethic, he continues to inspire a lot of people.

3. Darren Waller

Darren Waller, who is currently regarded as one of the NFL’s top tight ends, is the next person on this list of comeback tales.

But a few years ago, opinions of Waller were very different. Waller established a reputation for two things during his rookie season in the NFL: his potential as a receiving phenom on the field and his off-field use of drugs and alcohol.

Waller says of his actions at the time, “I tried Percocet, marijuana, adderall, cocaine, everything that promised a high. I wasn’t trying to hear it if you were attempting to assist me.

After some time, the NFL became aware of his actions off the field, and after he broke their drug rules, they suspended him for the entire 2017 season.

The worst, though, was yet to come. Two months later, Waller was holding a handful of opioids in his hand while seated in his Jeep Grand Cherokee. He sensed something wasn’t right as soon as he took them.

He felt as though he were about to pass out as his head started to spin. He fought the need to vomit and eventually dozed off in the car. Waller slept for four hours in the automobile before waking up drenched in perspiration.

He wouldn’t discover until much later that the opioid pills he had taken included fentanyl, one of the main causes of overdoses in the US.

Waller was shaken by the incident and, for the first time in his life, began to worry that his drug use would lead to his demise. This ultimately proved to be Waller’s breaking point; 30 days later, he checked himself into a Camden, Maine, addiction treatment facility.

He developed a number of healthy routines while in treatment, including as self-improvement journaling, meditation, and songwriting, the majority of which focused on sobriety.

After leaving rehab, Waller worked as a fruit stocker at a supermarket, earning a meager $11 per hour. He continued to maintain his sobriety and, in the unlikely event that he was given another opportunity to play in the NFL, he recommitted to staying in shape.

He received the opportunity from the NFL eleven months after leaving treatment. However, as soon as he returned to the league, he was put on the practice squad, which dealt him a significant ego damage.

He didn’t let this interfere with his work ethic, though. He showed up early to every practice and stayed late for additional fitness sessions since he was determined to recover his starting position.

Waller eventually received an opportunity to establish himself on the Oakland Raiders after being signed off the practice squad of the Baltimore Ravens.

And he did, as he demonstrated. The strongest year of Waller’s career was 2019, and he solidified his place in the NFL with an even better campaign in 2020.

Waller receives a lot of praise for his on-field abilities, and rightfully so. However, his transition may be even more astounding than the type of player he has developed into.

4. Tiger Woods

You most likely heard about Tiger Woods and the dramatic marriage scandal that dominated news cycles for months in 2008, unless you were living under a rock.

Individual Comeback Stories
Tiger Woods

Woods had an impeccable reputation prior to 2008. He was viewed as a murderer who would do anything to win on the course. Off the course, many thought of him as a brilliant knight who lived a perfect life.

When it was revealed that he had cheated on Erin Nordegren 120 times during the course of their five-year marriage, these feelings abruptly changed. He had screwed up, and not in a small way, so the world had turned its back on him, and justifiably so.

Following the public humiliation, Woods put himself into a sex treatment facility where he battled the demons that caused his marriage to fail so tragically.

Woods, however, was in for more suffering. For the next ten years of his life, Woods would alternate between playing golf and disappearing, largely because of chronic back pain.

After a back operation, he would resume playing golf, begin to resemble his former dominant self, and then stop owing to persistent discomfort. This occurred in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017; the person who could enter tournaments and win them all was a ghost.

Additionally, this wasn’t just regular back ache. He said that on certain days, the agony was so debilitating that he had to stay in bed all day.

Woods still had more room to fall, though. Police saw him dozing off in his running Mercedes on May 29, 2017.

Evidently, Woods had taken a significant amount of painkillers before getting behind the wheel and had just passed out in his car. In the end, he entered a guilty plea to careless driving, which made it quite evident to everyone that this was Woods’ lowest point.

Even the guys who had grown up idolizing Woods had lost hope, according to a poll done after the event, which found that 70% of PGA tour players believed Woods would never win another major championship.

But as is his style, Woods disproved their claims. After undergoing a fifth spinal fusion procedure on his spine, Woods was finally allowed to play golf again in 2018 after an 18-month absence.

Woods won the 2019 Masters Tournament, his first major championship since 2008, two years later. Woods was back where he belonged after an eleven year period marked by public humiliation, inner turmoil, and crippling pain. He was hoisting the big trophy and inspiring millions in the process.

5. Ramona Pierson

Ramona Pierson was preparing for the marine corps in 1984. One night, Pierson was out on a run when a drunk driver blew a red light and hit her. The impact was so severe that Pierson’s body practically exploded.

Pierson spent the following 18 months in a drug-induced coma. Before she came to, she underwent more than a hundred surgeries. And when she did return to the world, she was a shell of the person she had once been.

The sheer amount of fundamental life skills that Pierson had to relearn during her protracted, precarious recovery makes this one of the most compelling comeback stories I’ve ever read.

She had lost her hearing and sight when she awoke from the coma. She was unable to express her views because she had dropped almost half her body weight. She had to relearn how to walk independently because her basic motor abilities were severely compromised.

Pierson was severely hurt, yet her bravery was unflappable. She was able to speak clearly again after receiving speech therapy.

As soon as she mastered braille reading, she was able to start reading academic texts. Despite being blind, she finished her psychology undergraduate degree in just two years. (Yes, you read correctly)

She ultimately regained her sight eleven years after the accident. After five years, she reached another milestone by earning her doctorate in neuro-clinical psychology.

This served as the impetus for Pierson to create her own business, which she later sold for $10 million. Then, she repeated the process using the social and collaborative platform Delcara, which was purchased in 2019.

Ramona’s life came to an abrupt end in 1984. Who could have blamed her for giving up on her quest for happiness and success when it would have been the simplest thing in the world to do so?

However, the individuals included in the comeback tales on this list are extraordinary, and Ramona is undoubtedly one of them.

6. Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins, who was then 41, discovered herself in a rut. She and her husband were always at odds, and she openly acknowledged that they were close to divorcing.

They had put all of their savings in a business venture that had cost them $800,000, which added to the anxiety.

Robbins was in a death spiral as a result of this, his bad habit of hitting the bottle hard at night and his repeated use of the snooze button in the morning.

One day, she was watching a NASA rocket launch from her bed. She counted down, “5-4-3-2-1…Launch!” she observed.”

Mel was motivated to make a commitment after witnessing the launch procedure; the following morning, she swore to launch herself out of bed in the same way.

The following morning when her alarm went off, she was immediately overcome with the same feelings of self-loathing that ordinarily kept her in bed: the status of her marriage, her debilitating debt, and of course that overwhelming sense of guilt.

This time, she overcame her ingrained habits and jumped out of bed after counting backwards from 5. Additionally, she had broken her habit of pressing the snooze button for the first time in months.

What was initially just a small gimmick for fun turned became Mel’s religion. She came to understand that there were times during each day when, if she didn’t act in under five seconds, her brain would argue her out of doing something.

Mel learned to take control of these crucial junctures in the day by counting backwards from five and then just doing the thing she was dreading or feeling anxious about.

Mel progressively altered her life and conquered her demons by following her intuition and acting despite her feelings.

She and her husband put forth a lot of effort to get their finances in order. She started to change her drinking behavior following the same guideline, which benefitted her relationship with her husband as well.

In the end, she turned the rule into a best-selling book named “The 5 Second Rule: How To Transform Your Life, Work, And Confidence With Everyday Courage.”

Robbins is one of the top paid female speakers in the world today and a successful entrepreneur. Millions of individuals have adopted the 5 Second Rule to get over self-doubt and begin taking charge of their lives.

7. Robert Downey Jr.

One of Hollywood’s most storied comeback tales is the rise of Robert Downey from unhireable drug addict to major motion picture star.

In the late 1980s, Downey started to establish a reputation for himself as an actor. He spent one season on the Saturday Night Live cast before landing significant roles and being known for his talent.

He was nominated for an Oscar in 1992 for his role in “Chaplin,” and it seemed he was on the fast track to a very lucrative career.

However, things started to go south in 1996. After being detained for having heroin and cocaine, Downey struggled with addiction and spent the next seven years going in and out of jail.

He was discovered in 2001, barefoot, in the heart of Culver City, California. Police officers arrested him after suspecting he was under the influence, and a judge ordered him to attend treatment.

Downey didn’t give up narcotics for good until 2003. No one in the movie business wanted to work with him despite his dedication to recovery. The majority of directors continued to think he was talented but refused to pay the outrageous insurance fees needed to have him on set.

Fortunately, Mel Gibson, a different performer, offered Downey a second chance. He consented to financially finance Downey’s insurance so they could both star in The Singing Detective in 2003.

Due to Downey’s success in this position, other possibilities came his way. The Ironman trilogy’s Tony Stark role would present him with the most fruitful opportunity of all.

The film was an enormous hit. Downey benefited from this success by making appearances in a number of more Marvel films, most notably The Avengers series.

Downey has transformed from being regarded as an untouchable actor who had to compete for roles to becoming one of Hollywood’s most revered performers.

The example of Downey’s comeback shows how simple it is to lose your footing once you reach the peak of a mountain. However, it also demonstrates that once you hit rock bottom, there is no reason to stay there.

8. Harland David Sanders

Harland David Sanders is the last but certainly not the least impressive recovery story on this list.

Throughout his life, Sanders has plenty of experience with failure. Sanders’ legal career had to be interrupted, and he worked as an insurance salesman before being sacked for disobedience.

He established a ferry boat business in 1920. Sanders tried to cash in on his winning streak as his company started to grow by investing money in a lamp manufacturing company, but this venture failed, leaving Sanders penniless.

Sanders opened a restaurant and purchased a motel four years later; both of these buildings burned down. Before having to close it due to World War 2, Sanders successfully restored the motel and operated it.

Sanders attempted to franchise eateries after the war. His “secret recipe” reportedly received 1,009 rejections before being accepted.

As word spread about his dish, business at Sanders’ eatery began to soar. However, he suffered yet another setback when an interstate opened up next to him, completely killing off his company.

Sanders still possessed one priceless asset, however: the formula for his famed “Kentucky Fried Chicken”

Sanders made the decision to follow through on his desire to start franchises all across the nation, and this time, he was successful. He eventually sold KFC for what would be the equivalent of $15 million today as the company started to grow abroad.

The life of Harlan David Sanders demonstrates how difficult it is to defeat someone who simply never gives up.

Individual Comeback Stories
Individual Comeback Stories

Last Words: Beating Your Own Demons

Reading through these comeback tales makes it simple to feel motivated. However, be aware that the inspiration you’re experiencing now is only temporary.

You’re about to delete this blog entry, and it will expire.

The one behavior that all of these great people have is their commitment to action.

Ramona Pierson survived a terrible tragedy that left her a vegetable and went on to become a very successful entrepreneur thanks to her unwavering determination.

Mel Robbins transformed himself from an unhappy, broke, and self-described alcoholic to one of the most inspiring motivational speakers in the world via unrelenting action.

Let these comeback tales serve as evidence that tenacious action can overcome the odds, regardless of how tightly the deck is stacked against you. Although you have no control over what life may throw at you, you always have power over how you will react to it.

Go now and reapply! Despite the fact that you’ve been turned down twenty times, apply to ten more jobs. Even if it can seem impossible, try to resolve your financial issues. Even if your social anxiety has been hurting your life for years, take control of it.

Develop a habit of taking decisive action, and one day you’ll find yourself the subject of pieces like these.



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