The greatest innovation in the history of mankind was invented by a man who dropped out of school in the fourth grade. His name was Thomas Edison, inventor of the lightbulb.
He did not have any formal education beyond the age of 13, but became one of America’s most celebrated inventors and businessmen by developing new ways to harness electricity.
In 1879 when Edison was just 23 years old, he made an extraordinary discovery: an electric current could flow through wires without losing its strength or voltage after being turned on and off repeatedly. This breakthrough led him to create what we now call “electricity” – which powers everything from computers to lights at home!
Bill Gates, one of the most innovative men on the planet, left Harvard University with a dream to build his own computer operating system. He wasn’t interested in degrees or diplomas; he was interested in creating something that “changed the world.”
Bill Gates is a great example of an innovator. He was born in 1955, dropped out of college and founded Microsoft before he turned 30 years old. In fact, he didn’t even have a degree from Harvard University! He had no interest in getting credentials or diplomas; instead, the young Bill Gates wanted to build something that would change the world forever (and it did).
Today we look at innovation as something that happens inside organizations: “We innovate by creating new products and services that meet customer needs” (Innovation Institute). But there is another kind of innovation—one which happens outside organizations as well.
This second kind is what some call “emergent innovation,” meaning it comes from somewhere else entirely: A consumer discovers something new about themselves or their environment through experience; someone else finds inspiration in nature or art; investors discover new business strategies based on knowledge gained from scientific research; government leaders see opportunities for improvement through policy changes following failed attempts at prior reforms.
Most successful inventors, entrepreneurs and creative people never graduated from college. Some achieved remarkable success with high school education or less.
Thomas Edison dropped out of school in the fourth grade to become an inventor and businessman. Bill Gates left Harvard University with a dream to build his own computer operating system that would eventually become Microsoft Corp., which he founded in 1975 with childhood friend Paul Allen (who later sold his share). Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College after only one semester; Einstein did not finish college at all (he was expelled for being too smart).
Most successful innovators were ridiculed at some point. They were thought to be crazy.
Everyone who has ever tried something new, or better yet, had an idea that was so radical, so different from what others were doing that they couldn’t possibly succeed—they were right!
Most people don’t realize how many times they’ve been told their ideas would never work and that they would fail in the end. Maybe this happened to you? Maybe it didn’t happen to me but I’m going to tell you anyway.
And yet, they persevered and succeeded because they believed in themselves and their ideas even when everyone around them was telling them there is no way it will ever work.
And yet, they persevered and succeeded because they believed in themselves and their ideas even when everyone around them was telling them there is no way it will ever work. They had the belief that if you work hard enough, something good can come out of it.
This is what innovation is all about: believing in yourself and your ideas so much that you are willing to take risks even when others think otherwise.
Education is important but it cannot substitute for talent, passion and perseverance. It can teach you how to write, speak and think but it cannot teach you how to innovate and create. That is something only YOU can do.
This is the reason why most people spend their lives doing things they enjoy or think they might be good at while others spend theirs doing what they need to make a living (or at least enough money).
Brilliance is not defined by how many years you go to school or how much you make per year or how many degrees you have hanging on your office wall. Brilliance is defined by what unique gifts you have to offer the world that nobody else has. What unique problems can you solve that nobody else can solve? How can you make this world a better place because you lived?
The last thing you want to do is assume that someone else will do what you can’t. If they can’t, then they don’t deserve your time or money or energy. You have to find out what makes them tick and help them achieve their dreams in any way possible—because if you’re not willing to put in the hard work, then there’s no point in being around long enough for anyone else to get anything out of it either!
The world needs more innovators, inventors and creators. We need people who are willing to take risks and turn those risks into something extraordinary. We need people who have the passion to change the world by doing things differently rather than just following rules and regulations set forth by others who were never able to achieve greatness in their lives because they lacked conviction or innovation.
These three qualities are not easy to come by so don’t give up just yet! You can accomplish anything if you put your mind on it hard enough.