Doesn't everyone love a great comeback story? I know I do.
It's so inspiring to see someone--whether a business person, a celebrity or even an entire town--beat the odds and experience massive success after life has had them down and out.
As you prepare for the year ahead, take a moment and look back at these incredible comeback stories. They shine a light on the possibilities and should renew your faith that indeed anything is possible.
1. WhatsApp Founder Goes from Food Stamps to Billionaire
Jan Koum has a 45% stake in WhatsApp, the company he founded in 2009. This year, WhatsApp caught Facebook's eye and when the deal closes, Koum's take of the $19 billion deal may be a reported $7 billion. Such massive deals for entrepreneurs are incredible on their own, but especially when you consider Koum's struggle as an immigrant to the US. In the early 1990s, the teen survived on welfare and food stamps, barely graduating high school in California.
2. Britney Spears' Career Resurrection is Unrivaled
Just a few years ago, things looked pretty bleak for pop star Britney Spears, her troubles with substance abuse and mental wellness hyper-documented. Under the conservatorship of her protective and business savvy father, Spears has undergone a career transformation and is now one of the hottest draws in Vegas. Her recently inked contract renewal came with a $150,000 per show raise for a grand total of nearly $66.5 million, putting her almost on par with legend Celine Dion.
3. Delta Airlines Flying High Again After Near-Collapse
After filing for bankruptcy in 2005, Delta Airlines had to face the cold, hard reality that higher gas prices and intense competition just weren't going away. They focused on better service, improved reliability and innovating ahead of the competition. Still, they puttered along until 2013, when the upswing really got started. This year, Delta's stock finally rebounded and is now approaching $50 a share, compared to just mid-teens in 2012.
4. Republican Takeover of the US Senate
This year, Republicans rode in on a powerful wave of voter discontent with Obama and the Democrats to capture control of the Senate. Republicans took 53 seats in the 100-member chamber this time around. "Elections have consequences, there's no question about it," Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.) said. "The consequences are that the Republicans control the committees, the agenda in the U.S. Senate--they'll determine what will be taken and how it will be taken up." It was a massive coup for the GOP in the Senate after they were almost wiped out in 2008.
5. Actress Builds $1 Billion Honest Company
Jessica Alba proved her doubters wrong in spectacular fashion. The starlet's career seemed to be winding down in 2012, but not if you peeked behind the screen. Some thought her crazy for choosing to enter the business world rather than focusing on lucrative endorsement and modeling contracts, but her business and investment savvy has served her incredibly well. Alba was People With Money's top paid actress in 2014, raking in $96 million--$60 million more than her closest competitor. She has her substantial property holdings, restaurants, and lifestyle brand The Honest Company to thank for her incredible comeback.
6. Kent Bradley May Be the Luckiest Man of 2014
Coming back from a business or career failure is tough, but coming back from the brink of death? That's some straight-up inspiration, right there. Dr. Kent Bradley had only seen one person survive Ebola in his time treating patients in West Africa, until he contracted the disease himself. One of only two doctors treating Ebola in Monrovia, he awoke one day with a fever and quickly degenerated to the point he was evacuated to Atlanta. Bradley came back from death's doorstep as a survivor of the worst Ebola outbreak in history.