Extreme Makeover was a popular show in which contestants had their physical appearance drastically changed…usually for the better. What about some real-life total makeover stories outside of television? Here are tales of transformation you won’t believe…



#1: Wells Fargo. Aside from their more recent financial misbehaviour, Wells Fargo has one of the most amazing corporate transformation stories of all time. Wells Fargo was a company that originally carried passengers in stagecoaches across the Wild West. When the advent of the railroad made stagecoaches obsolete, they shifted into banking. Today, they’re one of the largest banks in the world. What could have become a failed business blaming the world around them changed itself into one of the most successful businesses around today

#2: Japan. Seems like a pretty broad story of transformation, but it truly is one of the most remarkable ones in history. Japan closed itself off to outsiders until the Americans forced their way in. Strangely, of all the things that Commodore Perry brought to Tokyo, an electric train set was what most captivated the imagination of the emperor. Within a few decades, Japan had become a world superpower. They defeated Russia in a brief war and then went on to challenge America in WWII. After having two atomic bombs dropped on their biggest cities, they quickly rebounded in a few decades, and once again have become a global economic leader—a true story of human resilience.

#3: Walt Disney and the Disney Company. Did you know for that most of the early years of his life, Walt Disney ran into a series of failures, including having his business partner steal his idea for Oswald the Lucky the Rabbit? Thankfully, he stumbled upon a better idea: Mickey Mouse. Disney is the all-American story of pluck and luck. Within a few decades, he had almost single-handedly changed the face of entertainment around the world. The company faced some setbacks throughout the years, but again and again, they have bounced back bigger than ever, developing a near monopoly on the entertainment market in America.

#4: Colonel Sanders. Wait…the face of that old southern gentleman on KFC boxes was a real dude? Yes, indeed he was. He bounced from job to job and launched failed business after failed business until he started selling his fried chicken recipe to other restaurants—literally driving around the country with a deep fryer in his back seat.

Luckily Colonel Sanders didn’t give up either when he attempted to get financing for his new business, something like 70 knockbacks from financial institutions did not stop him and he finally found someone to finance his new enterprise.  The rest is history.

When that franchising took off, his chicken business launched him into millionaire status within a few decades…leaving us with the message to never give up.

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