7 Inspirational Comeback Stories That Will Motivate You

Comeback stories are what we could all use right now to inspire us for the future. It’s been a tough time for many. People have lost jobs, lost homes, and lost loved ones.

The news can all seem hopeless at times, but there’s a new year around the corner. Perhaps it can be your best one yet. You might be on the verge of one of the best comeback stories yet.

We’ve all had moments where we didn’t know if we’d be able to turn things around. Moments where we’ve been unsure of how we were going to make it to a better future again.

I hope these inspirational comeback stories remind you that even if you fall down to your lowest of lows, there’s always hope. You can overcome the challenges in your life and find yourself happier than ever before.

What are comeback stories?

If you search for comeback stories, often you’ll see articles that highlight famous failures like J.K. Rowling or Steven Spielberg. But I don’t think many of them are accurate tales of redemption.

Most of those sites detail people who just slowly progress to success eventually. And of course, those are motivational things to read.

But what about people who were successful, suffered a great failure in life, but somehow found success again, like Tiger Woods. That, in my thinking, is what describes a true bounce-back story. So with that understanding laid out, here’s a list of some of the greatest comeback stories.

7 inspirational comeback stories

1. Ramona Pierson

At the age of 22, she was a math prodigy and member of the Marines. Ramona Pierson had a bright future ahead of her.

Then one day, she was out for a run with her dog, and got hit by a drunk driver. The physical setback would seem like too much for any human.

104 broken bones, a variety of brain trauma, and puncture holes found in her lungs. Month after month past, and she was still in comatose.

Most people probably would have thought she’d never wake up. But after 18 months, she woke up again.

At that point, Ramona only weighted 64 pounds, had metal bones, and she was completely blind. But one thing she surprisingly still had was her mathematical genius.

She would eventually end up in a nursing home, where the senior citizens there helped her to regain her abilities.

Not deterred by her circumstances, she dived right back into life head-on. Ramona took rock climbing, skiing, qualified for the Paralympic team and even the Olympic team for cycling.

But Pierson didn’t stop there. She went back to school, got her Master’s in education, and then a Ph.D in neuroscience.

Through continual therapy and surgeries, she eventually regained her sight. She’s gone on to do great work for the military. She improved the MRI machines to help surgeons perform better operations on soldiers with head wounds.

Last but not least, Pierson created an education startup which she later sold, and became the founder of another successful education company, Declara. No doubt, her story is a true reflection of what comeback stories are all about.

2. Károly Takács

Man holding gun comeback stories
Credit: Allsport/ALLSPORT

In 1938, Károly Takács was one of the best pistol shooters in his country. He won many national and international championships.

There was a good chance Takács was going to win the 1940 Tokyo Olympic Games in two years. Then, during a training session in the army, a grenade exploded in his right hand, completely destroying it.

You would think since he no longer had his shooting hand, he’d quit. But he didn’t. Instead, Takács believed since he still had a left hand to use, he could learn to shoot with it.

He wanted to succeed in the sport he was good at again and didn’t let not being left-handed stop him.

After lots of practice, to the surprise of his competitors, he competed in the Hungarian national shooting championship and won.

All of this occurred within one year. It wouldn’t be until after WWII that he would compete at the Olympics in 1948 and win the gold medal in pistol shooting.

And that wouldn’t be his only win. He went back to the Olympics four years later and won another gold medal.

Takács never gave up on himself, and proved even after a devastating setback, you can still accomplish your goals.

3. James Altucher

Man sitting down comeback stories

In 1996, James Altucher founded the web design company Reset Inc. Two years later he would sell it for $15 million.

With wise spending habits, he probably would have been set for life. Unfortunately, he would lose everything through bad investments.

Many can only imagine what losing that much money would feel like. For Altucher, it felt so bad, he nearly committed suicide.

After deciding to no longer determine his self-worth based on his net-worth, he eventually made back his money as a hedge fund manager.

Now he’s a successful author, blogger, and podcaster who inspires many people around the world with his messages

4. Monica Seles

Tennis player monica seles
(Photo by Baum Werner/picture alliance via Getty Images)

She was a tennis star who became the youngest French Open champion in 1990. The next year, she would become the no. 1 ranked female tennis player in the world.

From 1991 to 1993, Seles won championship after championship, and was destined to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

One fateful April day in 1993, as she was competing in a quarterfinal match in Hamburg, an audience member ran up behind Seles and stabbed her between the shoulder blades.

Thankfully her physical injuries healed in weeks, but she wouldn’t play again for almost two years. With the psychological trauma she may have suffered, one couldn’t have blamed her for quitting the sport.

But she chose to play again in the 1995 Canadian Open and won her first tournament back on the circuit.

She would go on to win two more tennis major titles before retiring in 2008.

5. Niki Lauda

Race driver car niki lauda

He was one of the top Formula One Drivers in the 1970’s. He had won numerous races and his first world championship in 1975.

Lauda was beginning a successful career in racing when he got into a fiery crash in 1976. His Ferrari went off the track hitting an embankment, and immediately went up in flames.

He was trapped in his car. Before Lauda could be pulled out, he suffered severe burns on his head and inhaled hot gases which damaged his blood and lungs.

He was able to stand at first but would later fall into a coma. A priest had given him the last rites and he wasn’t expected to survive.

Miraculously though, he would wake from his coma. Most of his right ear was gone along with his hair, eyebrows, and eyelids.

Surprisingly, Lauda would return to racing only six weeks from when the accident occurred. Despite later admitting to being terrified, he participated in the 1976 Italian GP, and finished in fourth.

Lauda would go on to win another championship in the 1977 season. He would retire a year later but would return to racing in the mid 80’s and win another title.

6. Morris E Goodman

Man hat glasses morris e goodman

He had built a successful company selling insurance and was at the top of his career. Interested in doing new things, he took up flying and earned his pilot’s license in March of 1981.

On the 10th of that same month, the plane he was flying lost power. He attempted to get the plane back to the airstrip but flew through some powerlines and crashed to the ground.

Godman’s C-1 and C-2 were broken and he was paralyzed. He couldn’t talk, swallow, or breathe on his own. The only communication he could do was through blinking his eyes.

During his time, his sister Pat found a way to communicate to him through his eyes blinking. Through intense practice, he would eventually regain the ability to breathe on his own.

Speech therapists helped Goodman be able to speak again. Eventually he was moved to a rehabilitation center where he learned to eat and slowly began walking again.

It only took eight months after the accident for Goodman to walk unassisted and be released from the hospital.

Since then, Morris E Goodman has been a motivational speaker. He tells his inspirational story to religious organizations and Fortune 500 companies all over the world.

7. Arunima Sinha

She had achieved success in becoming a national volleyball and soccer player in India. On April 12 2011, while Arunima Sinha was riding on a train, robbers attempted to steal her belongings.

She fought back and resisted, and the robbers eventually pushed her out of the train. She could remember seeing a train moving towards her, but she couldn’t get up in time.

Her leg had been run over, crushing it below the knee. After being quickly taken to the hospital, doctors tried to save her leg, but it had to be amputated.

Sinha would be given financial compensation for her injuries despite police doubting her story. A prosthetic leg was also provided to her free of charge.

Inspired by Indian cricket player Yuvraj Singh’s successful battle with cancer, Sinha decided she was going to do something with her life.

She took up mountaineering classes and did well in them. Upon her brother’s encouragement, Singh decided to climb Mount Everest.

On May 21, 2013, Arunima Sinha became the first female amputee to climb to the top of Mount Everest. She was honored with financial rewards and has used her financial gains for social welfare causes.

Singh also started a free sports academy for differently abled people in poor communities. In 2015, she was awarded India’s fourth highest civilian award.

Why do we enjoy a comeback story?

People enjoy a comeback story because it gives them hope that one day they can find triumph from their own struggles.

Another reason we also enjoy them is because deep down, most of us like to see people redeem themselves.

We want to see people who messed up in life be able to fix their problems and reach their greatest potential.

Comebacks ultimately give us some of the best stories that we can tell our children and grandchildren someday.

You can overcome your obstacles

The message to take away from all these stories is that you can overcome all of the obstacles you’ve faced this year.

Be inspired to not let the circumstances you’ve suffered hold you down. Believe that no matter the challenges you’re up against, you can accomplish the dreams you have for yourself.

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  1. I appreciate your work. Pl check the story of Arunima sinha….there is a mistake.

    Its Arunima Sinha who climbed Mt Everest…not Yuvraj Singh

    1. Hi RPR. Thanks for pointing out the error I made. I’ve corrected it now.

  2. The reason I don’t find inspiration in comeback stories is that these people started from a baseline of success and/or achievement before their setbacks. If the greatest pistol shooter in the world learned to shoot with his other hand, how does that help someone who dreams of being the greatest pistol shooter in the world and due to financial and/or just basic ability limitations, will never achieve that?

  3. Tim Thompson says:

    I think it might be easier to make a come back if you’ve had success in the past. For some of us we’re still trying to find that first success and failure after failure after failure after failure, it starts to feel like success is an impossibility. I have nothing to look back on and as I get older the likelihood of achieving one is getting slimmer and slimmer. I’ve already had to accept that my branch of the family tree is now dead and going no further.

  4. referring to a previous comment, regarding the success, they already have had, before their setback or accident, is not inspiring..

    I think you may have got comeback confused with motivational.
    comeback are the people who have had some major setback or loss in life, but they never surrendered or gave up, and fought back despite what happened and found success, meaning “Come-back” giving people with, some form of crisis, some hopes.

    motivational stories inspire people with people who have achieved fame or sucess, giving hope to everyone that’s its possible.