Being "good at school" doesn't guarantee success in life. In fact, for some people, the very character traits which make school unbearable, are the ones that set them apart as thinkers, creatives and entrepreneurs.
For the parents amongst us dealing with a kid who is permanently in the dog's box for disrupting the class, or whose attention span needs medical intervention, don't despair! Here is a list of inventors and innovators who just couldn't get into step with the school game.
The Business Mogul: Amancio Ortega, Europe's wealthiest man and founder of Zara. The son of a railway worker left school at 14 years old and found work as a shop hand for a local shirt-maker. It was here that he learned to sew by hand, and after honing his entrepreneurial skills alongside his sewing skills, he eventually launched his own range of bathrobes before opening his first Zara store.
The Tech Whizkid: Tumblr's David Karp. Despite having a science teacher mom who taught at the school he attended, Karp dropped out at 15 years. He'd discovered web developing at 11, started interning for an animation producer at 14, and was designing websites for businesses by the time he dropped out. He planned to home-school, but instead, got stuck into work and founded Tumblr (now worth $800 million) at age 21.
The classic American actor, Sidney Poitier, dropped out of school at only 12 years old to help support his family. He earned a living as a dishwasher, where a waiter sat with him at night for weeks, helping him to learn to read the newspaper. Now, the prolific actor is known for being the first African-American to win an Academy Award, and garnered no less than a Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama!
The Fashion Visionary, Coco Chanel, landed in an orphanage at 12 after her mother died. She learned to sew there, but her prospects were poor as a peasant girl with limited formal education. This didn't stop her, and she proved that she could use her own wit and skill to find the financial support she needed to launch her visions into the fashion world and set about trends that changed the course of its history.
TVs Favourite Talent Scout, Simon Cowell. Can you imagine Cowell sitting in a classroom, aiming his scathing wit at an unlucky teacher? He didn't last long in the institution, leaving at 16 and working his way through the ranks of the music industry.
Perhaps, as Sir Ken Robinson warned in his famous TED talk, we shouldn't try to trim our kids' eccentricities to fit into school, but work to change our school system so that such talents can flourish.
Date Published: 19 July 2017
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