Use our Famous Failures flashcards to learn that everyone makes mistakes

Famous Failures Flashcards

Try our Famous Failures Flashcards to learn about problem solving skills throughout your career.

As you prepare to leave school or college, there may be problems or setbacks you face along the way. This could range from unexpected exam results or not getting the place you wanted, to feeling like you’ve made the wrong decision about your course or place of study.

Don’t panic. Everyone makes mistakes. Even those we consider to be successful or inspirational in their field will likely have had to overcome their own set of challenges to achieve success. Often these set-backs, and the lessons learnt from surviving them, help you to thrive and build resilience to tackle even bigger challenges in the future.

Over the past few years you’ll no doubt have needed to develop essential problem-solving skills and resilience to help you face challenges and deal with change. If you haven’t, or you still need help tackling unexpected problems, hearing about some of the ‘Famous Failures’ those in the public eye have encountered may inspire you to take the next steps to finding solutions.

Download our Flashcards to use in lessons, careers sessions or even at home:

How to use

This quick-fire activity focuses on helping young people realise that everyone makes mistakes – even celebrities and famous people who’ve gone on to achieve career success later in life!

Time to Play: 10 to 30 minutes

Setting Up: Print out the Famous Failures Flashcards and cut up into famous people/companies and failures/obstacles. Display around the room or provide a few of each flashcard on each table. Ask students to work in pairs or small groups. Write or display a list of discussion points on the board or print out a copy for each table/group.


Using the Famous Failures Flashcards, ask students to match the famous person or company to their failure/obstacle and use the discussion topics below to start conversations and spark ideas.

  • Why do you think that challenge occurred?
  • How successfully do you think they overcame that challenge?
  • What do you think contributed to their success?
  • What else could they have done?
  • What skills do you think they learnt from this experience?
  • How has this experience impacted their future career outcomes?

This is an ideal activity to prompt students to consider what challenges or set-backs they may face during their academic careers or in the future. Expand this topic by introducing resilience or talking about support services available for young people. Use our Lesson Plan on ‘Problem Solving & the Growth Mindset’. Ideal for form time or short activities in longer lessons. Assign ‘My Plan B
as a home-work or follow-up activity to gauge students understanding of potential set-backs and planning an alternative career pathway.