Good grades in school and college make your parents proud and the words of appreciation bring a smile to your face. Well, that’s it. Grades are not an indication that you will be a successful person in your future life. These grades soon become irrelevant in your life. Your success depends on how hard you work. And bad grades too have a similar impact. Poor or mediocre grades do not dictate the rest of your existence. Those who grab opportunities when they present themselves, with passion and perseverance, will rise to the top. This is why we see a lot of students with poor grades running the world.
1. Bill Gates
“The hardest thing in education is motivation.”
A business magnate, investor, author, and philanthropist. Well, one thing he is not is a college graduate. Gates dropped out of Harvard two years after joining the university to co-found Microsoft. The Harvard Crimson, the daily student newspaper of Harvard University, has called him “Harvard’s most successful dropout.” Yes, without a college education he founded the world’s largest software business, Microsoft, and subsequently became one of the richest men in the world.
2. Walt Disney
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
This man gave all of us a very entertaining childhood with his cartoon characters. Did you know that the creator of your favorite Mickey Mouse cartoons dropped out of high school at 16? He later attended night courses at the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago. He won 22 Academy Awards during his lifetime. Disney also went on to create the first major theme park, ‘Disneyland.’
3. Richard Branson
“I would urge you to travel, take on new experiences and draw upon those when it comes to making the decisions that will shape your future. The amount of business ideas that people pick up from traveling the world is enormous.”
Remember the island where Barack Obama and Michelle Obama went for their vacation after leaving the White House? It was one of Branson’s private islands in the British Virgin Islands. A self-made billionaire, he dropped out of high school at the age of 15. He struggled with dyslexia in school. He has shared his experience as a poor student saying that words just looked like jumbles of letters on the blackboard to him. But he did not let it get him down. Later in life, he founded Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Records, and Virgin Mobile.
4. Steve Jobs
“You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
If he had stayed in college, we would have missed out on a lot of our favorite gadgets today. Steve Jobs, one of the greatest innovators in modern history, dropped out of Reed College after six months. Well, poor grades were not a factor here. Financial constraints were his primary concerns. He walked away from a formal education to become the founder of Apple, one of the world’s most admired companies.
5. Oprah Winfrey
“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.”
‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ ruled American television for a very long time. And the talk show host Orpah Winfrey did it without the benefit of degrees. She won the hearts of millions with her hard work and enthusiasm. She left Tennessee State University to pursue a career in media and went to become a talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. Also, other world-famous talk show hosts like Larry King, Ellen DeGeneres, and Jimmy Kimmel did not complete their college.
6. Mark Zuckerberg
“The greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail.”
How can we leave him out of this list? He is the one who used his college dormitory to create the most popular social media site there is today, Facebook. He left Harvard as Facebook’s popularity went beyond his expectations. He moved his company to Palo Alto, California, and as they say, the rest is history. But, 12 years after leaving Harvard to work on Facebook full-time, he has returned to pick up his degree in 2017.
The list of creative people without degrees is never ending. This is not to dismiss the importance of a college education, but to make a point that a college degree is not the ultimate criteria to judge a person’s talent or competence. It simply isn’t the be-all and end-all of things. This is a reminder that those without a degree are not necessarily less intelligent in way, shape or form. So go chase your dreams!