Parents are forever battering their children with reasons they should do their college homework. Grades and academic achievements are a major factor in choosing and being successful in a career. Yet, there are some very successful, rich and famous people who have achieved what they have without great academic success behind them. Do you know at least one name of a famous person who showed absolutely poor academic performance and still became rich? Oh, you’ll be surprised! Some rich and famous people like Walt Disney and Mary Kay Ash prove that you can become successful without being a great scholar. You always stand a great chance to succeed even if you are not strong in some subjects. Just keep in mind Sanders’ brilliant quote – “One has to remember that every failure can be a stepping-stone to something better…”
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Sir Richard Branson
The English businessman is one of the most well-known success stories of modern times. Despite receiving a privileged education at Bishopsgate School and Stowe School his academic performance was poor and he left full-time education at the age of 16. Today Sir Richard is the Chairman of the Virgin Group – which he founded and built – of more than 400 companies.
- Branson is dyslexic
- His first business venture was a magazine named “Student”
- Branson founded the Virgin Records label in 1972.
- He has been a LinkedIn Influencer since 2012.
- Branson has attempted a number of world records including flights in hot air balloons and transatlantic crossings by air and water.
- He regularly appears on TV and in the movies, as himself, in cameo roles and even as spoofs and satirical views of himself.
- He owns Necker Island in the Caribbean
- He is a humanitarian involved in many charities on green, nuclear and social issues
- Branson appears at number 303 in the Forbes Billionaire list for 2014
- Quote – One thing is certain in business. You and everyone around you will make mistakes.
A man who ended up as one of the most famous names in the world was a poor student. He repeated grades and dropped out of high school at the age of 16. By this time he was already harboring a passion for animation. Via various routes, the beginnings of the Disney we know and love today began in 1923 as the Disney Brothers Studio. Mickey Mouse was unleashed on the world in Steamboat Willie in 1928 and Disney was really born.
- One of Walt’s first animated characters was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. He lost the rights to Oswald in 1927 but in 2006, the Walt Disney Company got them back.
- In 1931, Columbia dropped the distribution rights to Disney cartoons in favor of United Artists – home of Betty Boop, Mickey Mouse’s biggest rival.
- Disney’s first full-length animation was deemed to be a “folly” by the film industry. Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs went on to achieve massive global success and Walt Disney was awarded a special honorary Oscar for significant screen innovation.
- Disney was a founding member of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals – an anti-communist group active during the time of the McCarthy witch-hunts
- The first Disney theme park – Disneyland – opened in California in 1955 and is reported to have cost $17milion to build.
- For a man who struggled with his homework, a most interesting quote from Walt Disney is “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”
Mary Kay Ash
Not much is written or recorded about Mary Kay Ash’s education except that it is known that she did not go to college after graduating from Reagan High School, Houston in 1934. Her 30+ year career in direct sales and the inequality of women in the workplace became the driving force behind the formation of Mary Kay Cosmetics.
- Mary Kay Cosmetics was started from an initial investment of $5,000
- Mary Kay had not originally planned on forming her own company until she realized the book she had written was, in fact, a business plan.
- The first Mary Kay cosmetics were sold from a store in Dallas
- The company was founded on the principle of empowering women and the slogan remains “God first, family second, career third”.
- Mary Kay Ash is the author of three best-selling books
- There are more than 1.5 million Mary Kay Consultants around the world.
- Mary Kay Ash regularly features in lists such as “Most Influential Business Women”, “Best Female Entrepreneur”, “Business Hall of Fame” etc…
- Quote – Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.
Colonel Harlan Sanders
Today the company founded by this man is known all over the world by just three letters – KFC! In his signature white suit, Colonel Harland Sanders was not only the founder but the symbol of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Not half bad for a man who dropped out of elementary school.
- Sanders worked many jobs to support himself and his family and despite having no high school diploma he gained a law degree by correspondence
- The big break for Sanders’ single outlet selling fried chicken in Corbin was when it was included in “Adventures in Good Eating” written by food critic Duncan Hines in 1939.
- Sanders had finalized his secret recipe for fried chicken by July 1940.
- The first KFC franchise was awarded to Pete Harman of Utah in 1952. It was actually Harman who first called the dish Kentucky Fried Chicken. Sanders had finally achieved success at the age of 62.
- Harlan Sanders WAS a commissioned colonel in Kentucky
- Sanders was 90 years old when he died of pneumonia in December 1980
- In 2013, one of his suits and a tie was sold at auction for more than $21,000
- Quote – “One has to remember that every failure can be a stepping-stone to something better…”
Frank Lloyd Wright
Described as probably the most influential architect of the 20th Century, Frank Lloyd Wright’s success was built on a very checkered educational platform. It seemed Mr. Wright didn’t enjoy school or homework much. He left high school without graduating and left college without earning his degree.
- The first properties built independently by FLW were known as “bootlegs” as he was employed by an architect’s firm at the time. Eight of them still stand today. They cost him his job!
- FLW set up independently in Steinway Hall, Chicago and was joined by other architects whose style became known as “Prairie School”.
- Winslow House in River Forest, Illinois was FLW’s first “official” independent commission
- FLW turned down the offer to study (fully-financed) for four years at theÄ–cole des Beaux-Arts in Paris followed by two years in Rome.
- The first of his concrete block houses were built in Hollywood, California in 1923.
- After the textile block, he developed the Mature Organic style, and then onto Usonian.
- The Guggenheim Museum in New York took 16 years for FLW to build.
- Frank Lloyd Wright designed more than 400 structures, of which some 300 remain.
- Quote – Less is only more where more is no good