Success stories of College dropouts

Kiran Jonnalagadda cleared his PU course after five attempts. And by the time he did it, his friends had completed their engineering course. But Kiran’s story had just begun.

This Bangalorean’s name now features in the team that developed the Human Protein Reference Database by John Hopkins University. The database contains entries on the 3,000 most-studied human proteins and their roles in diseases and is supposed to be the standard of developing a database internationally. Kiran has come a long way from an unsuccessful PU candidate to a successful entrepreneur.

kiranLike many who failed many times before tasting success, Kiran says it’s OK to fail. Stories of suicides by anxious students shock them. Exams are not the end of the world, they insist. “As Einstein said: ‘Just because a fish cannot climb a tree doesn’t mean it’s not smart.’ I was never good at Maths and Chemistry but I loved computers,” Kiran says.

What kept him going through the five years in PU: “Fear. It was through an act of rebellion that I started working. I gained confidence and I wanted to get into a college. But I felt insulted when some people said I was too old for it. That was last straw,” he said. Kiran has worked with Chip magazine, the e-governance wing of the Karnataka government and then with the John Hopkins University.

Another interesting example is renowned theatre artist Vivek Madan. He dropped out of college when he was doing his first year BSc in Environment Science at St Joseph’s College. >”Some days, I’d revise a subject for days before the exam, but remember nothing during the exam. I’d think ‘What’s the purpose of studying?’ I realized I wasn’t stupid – it was either the subject or the way it was dealt with,” said Vivek.

He added, “It wasn’t an easy decision to quit. My family did well in academics. My two grandpas are PhDs. Scoring 52% in PCMB was a horrifying experience,” he said.

vivek artistYet that didn’t stop him from quitting college at 19 and plunging whole-heartedly into theatre, despite of his parents’ disapproval — “I had a big fight at home when I did that,” he says. “It was supposed to have been a year-long sabbatical but I never went back to college.”

He began with a series of musicals adaptations. He went on to direct his first play at the tender age of 20 and even won an award for it. “You know, I got kicked out of the dramatics team at school and college. I always wanted to go back and show the cultural secretary that award,” he grins.

He then decided to tread a more conventional path and took up a job at Trump It – an events and marketing company. It was a short stint however that lasted all of ten months.So he went ahead and started his own entertainment company, Harlequin entertainment along with a partner.

KARTHIK.jNarlaKarthik Naralasetty, 25, with an established business in the US, feels success in studies does not guarantee success in life. Karthik dropped out of Rutgers University, US, after a year. “I realized I had to spend a lot of my father’s hard-earned money to get a degree. I asked myself, ‘What do I want to do after getting a degree?’ I knew the answer – start a large business and manage it,” said Karthik, currently running a company called Socialblood Inc based in New York. “Funnily, though I don’t have a degree, I’ve got investors who’ve been to Harvard, Stanford, MIT and IIM,” says Karthik.

He was labelled a poor student in school. Karthik said he couldn’t do much about his dislike for Mathematics. “Through school, I was bullied by teachers because of this. In Class X, my school officials openly declared that I and a few students would surely fail the examinations and be a disgrace to the school,” recalled Karthik. He said the mantra to be successful in life doesn’t lie in Class X or Class XII grades.

Now much more successful than he may have ever been, Naralasetty is an Internet entrepreneur and the founder of the first of its kind site Socialblood.org. “In June 2011, I heard of a rare case in a four year-old girl who had thalassemia. She needed 30 units of blood a day every day. Not knowing anything about blood banks I realised how hard it was to find blood. My obvious response in the age of Facebook, was why can’t Facebook tell me when someone needs blood,” he says animatedly over the phone.

Having started eight groups for different blood types on Facebook, his idea led to people posting requests for blood on the site. “Eventually, I formed the website that can connect you to people in your locality or the city to donate and receive blood. Within six months, 20 countries approached us to create a similar model for them,” adds this winner of the Staples Youth Social Entrepreneur Award, 2011.

At least Akshar Peerbhoy, a successful businessman, followed that mantra since the day he was enrolled in the school. I’m probably one of the only few students to fail in Class 1. Even during exams, I’d prefer playing some games” or later on, hanging out with my friends. Most teachers gave up on me. My parents were incredibly worried, as both of them are leaders in their field,” said Akshar, who had a brief stint at Deakin University, Australia but dropped out in the second year and returned to India.

akshar-It’s been a rollercoaster journey so far for Akshar, who says that focus and power of mind are keys to real success. “Today, I’m respected among colleagues and clients. Today, when I meet school friends, they’re amazed at the change in me. At the beginning of my career, I started every morning with only one goal — be better than I was the day before,” said Akshar, a successful businessman.

Reid Hoffman started his professional life with the intention of becoming an academic. But then he realized: “in order to be a professional scholar, you have to dedicate a vast majority of your career to writing esoteric books that only 50 people will understand.”

linked inSo instead, he got into the technology industry with a job at Apple, where he helped build eWorld, Apple’s version of America Online. Next, he started a company called SocialNet. It failed.

A friend of Hoffman’s, Peter Thiel, recruited him to join a startup, PayPal. It sold to eBay in 2002. Then Hoffman went on a long trip to Australia. There, he decided to create an Internet company. It’s LinkedIn. Today, it’s worth $19 billion – and Hoffman is its biggest shareholder.

Mantras for success

* I don’t believe the school system is the only route to success. It gives you an automated path to a career. Otherwise, you can make your own path.

— Kiran Jonnalagadda

* I was lucky it worked out for me. It could have gone awry. You have to play your cards right.

— Vivek Madan

* Life is what you make of it. If you fail, laugh at it and move on. Never lose hope.

— Karthik Naralasetty

* Studying is not the end of life. Today, I am who I wanted to be all along and it has nothing to do with a formal education.

— Akshar Peerbhoy

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Failed-That-doesnt-mean-you-are-not-smart/articleshow/19268060.cms

Success story of school dropout who became CEO of Quick Heal company

It is not everyday that one comes across a truly inspiring story of success, interwoven with hardwork, vision, judgment calls, and yes, the ability to spot opportunities. Kailash Katkar, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Quick Heal Technologies started his journey as a school dropout.

Despite being low on education and skill, Kailash Katkar has created a multi crore anti-virus software business.

Katkar gave up formal education after he passed the Secondary School Certificate examination in the mid-1980s because of his family’s circumstances. His father was a machine setter in electricals company Philips in Pune and his mother was a homemaker.

Katkar relied on his interest in technical matters to learn how to repair the then popular office gadgets such as Facit adding machines, desktop electric calculators and ledger posting machines.

Looking back, Kailash Katkar, started his entrepreneurial venture with a calculator repair business in Pune in the 1990’s.

When one door closes, another opens. It’s been like that right through Kailash Katkar’s life. Every time an opportunity looked like dimming, another emerged for him. He says his success was largely the result of his ability to sense changes in technology early.

Kailash Katkar explains his success story as told to Amit Shanbaug.

“I wasn’t interested in studies, had no special skills, only a small repair business These may not be the right qualifications for being an entrepreneur, but it has turned out well for me.

I started working on my own when I was in school. I always was on the lookout for jobs that could supplement my family income. I think it’s the drive to give myself and my family a better life that moved me on the entrepreneurial path.

In 1985, having barely managed to complete my matriculation, I took up a job at a local radio and calculator repair shop as I needed to supplement the family income. The owner sent me to his Mumbai shop for a two-month training and, subsequently, I returned to Pune to work for him for just 1,500 a month. I was only 19 and, over the next five years, I not only learnt a lot about fixing calculators and radios, but also picked up enough accounting skills to handle the books for my employer. In 1990,I felt confident enough to start my own calculator repair business with a seed capital of 15,000,which was drummed out of my savings. I leased a small 100 sq ft office in Pune and started a one-man venture.

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In the first year, I managed a decent income of 45,000, but I was not satisfied with the progress I was making. I realised that one way to scale up would be to capitalise on the ongoing software boom. So I started reading about computer hardware, even enrolling for a short computer management course in 1991-92 to understand the basics of computer application. The classes were held in the evening, so my business did not suffer, and once I was sure I had my basics in place, I decided to venture into computer maintenance.

The idea was to take care of the entire repair work for an annual fee. In 1993, I finally started a new venture, CAT Computer Services, while continuing with the repair business. Generating business was a huge challenge initially since I had no work experience in the field. However, I did not lose hope and kept trying to woo customers aggressively. I got my first break a few months later when two families signed up for the maintenance of their personal computers for an annual fee of 2,000 each.

With some work experience to back me up, more work soon came my way. In September 1993, I managed to breach the corporate domain by bagging the annual maintenance contract for New India Insurance followed by another group a month later. I managed to generate a turnover of 1 lakh in 1993-94 and employ four people to manage and expand the business.

Around this time, my younger brother, Sanjay, who was studying computer engineering in Pune, began writing software programs. On my insistence, he started developing a basic model of antivirus software for us. In those days, the people involved in computer maintenance faced this problem and I realised that there would be plenty of takers for cheap and simple solutions.I started using the software we called it Quick Heal for my customers and sold it to other vendors making it one of the least expensive options available in the market.

But nobody was willing to pay for it. So it was distributed free with the computer AMC and also circulated it among their network of computer service professionals.

“Then came deadly viruses like One Half and Natash. Only our antivirus could decrypt the files they encrypted,” Katkar recollects, indicating that even the global big names in the antivirus business were not up to the task. “That was the birth of Quick Heal as a business idea — a solution that would reside on a machine and tackle problems as they cropped up.”

Before long, the anti-virus software became a big hit and my turnover for 1996-97 was 12.19 lakh, three times that for the previous financial year. In the following years, Sanjay and other hired software developers came out with more advanced versions of this software.By 2002,the business had grown to a point where we managed shift to a 2,000 sq ft office in Pune, which we purchased for 25 lakh.

Our first branch opened in Nashik a year later, followed quickly by several others across India. By 2005-6, we had diversified our product portfolio, moving beyond the anti-virus solutions. We covered the entire gamut, from security and tuner solutions, which focused on increasing computer speed, to mobile security and gateway level protection. Another milestone year for us was 2007,when we renamed the company Quick Heal Technologies.

Of course, there have been several setbacks along the way.

“There was a time when our employees were leaving our setup because they felt that our company was small and wasn’t growing or well-known. We realised that it was time we moved to a realistic idea and that’s when we decided to do away with the Maintenance Company tag. We lost a few customers because we were short staffed and could not meet our deadlines. We suffered losses and the cash crunch affected our product development and the process. Even no bank was ready to support us.

At one point, in 1999, the business was in such a bad shape that we considered shutting shop since we were not even in a position to pay staff salaries. Thankfully, we decided to delay the decision by a couple of months, and during this period our hard work pulled us out of the red.

Accepting challenges is not always easy, but if you have a “never give-up” attitude, you survive. You have to completely believe in your idea and give your 100% to it. Also if you are a good observer and can read the pulse of your consumers, you will know when and how to improve.

The infusion of 60 crore from the US based private equity firm, Sequoia Capital, in 2010,helped us expand our footprint internationally. In the past two years, our export turnover has been to the tune of 4% of our total business, and we hope to push it up in the coming years. Today,the company employs 610 people and has 23 offices in India. We also have a presence in nearly 50 countries across the globe. The sky is truly the limit for us.”

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-02-11/news/37039101_1_repair-business-calculator-work-experience

Visit this link to view his interview

Visually-challenged Pratish Dutta gets Gold medal at IIT Kanpur

Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur’s student Pratish Dutta who is visually challenged has proved that eyes are not required to see, one can see through his mind.

Pratish Datta who lost his eyesight when he was in college was awarded Professor Jagadish Chandra Bose Memorial Gold Medal from President Pranab Mukherjee for the best academic performance among outgoing students of the M.Sc courses in the science disciplines at the IIT.

His cumulative grade point average was 9.87 — higher than any other M.Sc student at the IIT. After graduating with mathematics from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, he joined the institute in 2010.

Born at Batanagar in north Kolkata to Prabir, a civil engineer with a government undertaking, and Ranjana, a home-maker, Pratish has depended on his mother for studies. She would read out his lessons and he would memorise them.

From his childhood he was dependable on his mother for everything. “If I studied 10 hours a day, my mother used to study 15 hours for me as she is instrumental in helping me understand the subjects since I could not read,” said a jubilant Pratish who thanked his mother after receiving the award.

Pratish was six months old when doctors told his parents that he had ‘retinoschesis’ , in which the layers inside the retina gradually get separated from each other, eventually leading to total blindness. By Class VIII, he had to use high-powered magnifying glasses to study.

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It was in his second year at St Xavier’s College that he lost his sight completely. Ranjana turned a full-time reader for her son and when he cracked IIT-JEE , she moved to Kharagpur with him. Pratish and his mother live in a rented apartment on the IIT-KGP campus. “We received a lot of help from people . His IIT teachers and classmates were very kind. At St Xavier’s , College they would print question papers on A3 sheets for him,” Ranjana said.

“My parents are my inspiration . They never made me feel that there was anything wrong. I received tremendous support from my teachers and buddies. My friend and classmate Fauzal Atik took great care of me at IIT,” Pratish said.

His father, who is a civil engineer, also played a pivotal role in shaping his career. “My father always told me to give my best effort and I followed his words. At last, I have succeeded,” added Pratish.

“His mother would read out his lessons to him,” said Pratish’s father Prabir Datta. “All the credit goes to his mother. He even ranked second in the country in GATE this year. We feel so proud. My boy is no different… Rather, he has proved better than many,” Datta said.

Keen to take up teaching and research as his career, Mr. Datta has enrolled in a Ph.D. programme on Cryptology and Network Security at IIT Kharagpur.

His PhD guide Sourabh Mukhopadhyay is amazed at how a visually impaired person could score so high in a subject like Mathematics. “This has never happened in IIT, Kharagpur, or anywhere in the world,” he said.

He could not solve a mathematical problem on a piece of paper because of his visual impairment.

“I could not even write a simple mathematical formula, all I did was remember it. I do all the calculations mentally and then dictate it to my scribe, who puts it down on paper,” 23-year-old Datta said.

“I would read out the lessons, including mathematical problems, and he would memorise them,” his mother Ranjana Datta said, adding that since Mr. Datta was interested in mathematics, she encouraged him to take up the subject.

But, this did not dampen Pratish Datta’s love for mathematics, or his zeal for pursuing a career in mathematical research. Not only was he able to do complex mathematical calculations but he scored the highest grade among all M.Sc. students this year.

“Pratish has an extraordinary mind and his way of learning is only through listening to lectures. But whatever he listens, it gets inked in his mind. We were also confused when he joined the institute, but he emerged with flying colours with his ability to rise above adversities,” head of the mathematics department Professor P.D. Srivastava said.

Sheer grit and determination can do wonders. And 23-year-old Pratish Datta knows all about it. Datta has been a topper all his life. He tells that if one tries, one can do anything; lack of sight is hardly an impediment.

Listen to his talk at TEDxIITKharagpur

You did MSc in mathematics at IIT and are known to do complex mathematical calculations mentally. How is that possible?

It goes back to my childhood. I lost vision in one eye at six months of age and had poor vision in the other. My parents felt that if I studied a lot, the pressure would damage this eye too. So my mother would read all my lessons to me and I would memorize them. Even maths sums were done mentally. I knew no other way to do it. Over time, practice made me perfect. I also manage to finish my exams in almost the same time as normal students. But a lot of higher mathematics is not just calculation but visualization too and I can handle that. Even Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler lost his vision in the last 17 years of his life. But he continued to do research. My mind is my eye now.

How did you cope with the loss of your eyesight?

I was doing my second year at St Xavier’s College in Kolkata in 2008 when I lost vision in my second eye. I was shocked to suddenly see a dark world but my parents and teachers stood by me. As I loved studies, I decided to concentrate on that. All my happiness is related to studies. Even when I came to IIT, there were many questions about whether I would be able to cope. But my faculty helped me with a competent scribe, which itself takes the load off students like me. He’s a computer operator here who understands mathematics symbols and has done presentations for various seminars.

The dean of student affairs also helped me find accommodation within the campus. I also have nice friends, especially Fouzoul Atik who studied with me in MSc. He would sit beside me, dictate what was written on the board, take me from one class to another, xerox pages for me…he was very happy when I got the gold medal.

Was it difficult to handle the pressure in IIT with this impairment? Your mother seems to have sacrificed a lot.

As I was able to see in childhood, I understood maths symbols and could do well. But for many others, the fact that higher education books aren’t in Braille are a handicap. An attempt should be made to convert them so that others like me don’t suffer. As for my mother, she has stood by me like a rock. Even when I said I wanted to study in IIT, she told me bravely, ‘Go as far as you want, I will be with you.’ And she did. She left Kolkata where my father is a civil engineer and came to stay with me, an only child, here at Kharagpur.

You seem to lead a normal life -you use the mobile quite well and have a Facebook profile. How do you manage these?

I have memorized the keys and functions of my mobile so I can use it effortlessly. I also have a computer screen-reading software called JAWS which reads out whatever text there is on it.

“My aim in life is to serve the nation by inventing tools that will help society,” he added.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-09-23/all-that-matters/34040184_1_iit-mathematics-poor-vision

Famous People Who Failed At First – II

Public Figures
From politicians to talk show hosts, these figures had a few failures before they came out on top.

Winston Churchill: imagesCAL5A729This Nobel Prize-winning, twice-elected Prime Minster of the United Kingdom wasn't always as well regarded as he is today. Churchill struggled in school and failed the sixth grade. After school he faced many years of political failures, as he was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister at the ripe old age of 62.

Abraham Lincoln: While today he is remembered as one of the greatest leaders of our nation, Lincoln’s life wasn’t so easy. In his youth he went to war a captain and returned a private (if you’re not familiar with military ranks, just know that private is as low as it goes.) Lincoln didn’t stop failing there, however. He started numerous failed business and was defeated in numerous runs he made for public office.

Oprah Winfrey: imagesCACNS3E5 Most people know Oprah as one of the most iconic faces on TV as well as one of the richest and most successful women in the world. Oprah faced a hard road to get to that position, however, enduring a rough and often abusive childhood as well as numerous career setbacks including being fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for tv.”

Hollywood Types

These faces ought to be familiar from the big screen, but these actors, actresses and directors saw their fair share of rejection and failure before they made it big.

Charlie Chaplin: It’s hard to imagine film without the iconic Charlie Chaplin, but his act was initially rejected by Hollywood studio chiefs because they felt it was a little too nonsensical to ever sell.

Lucille Ball: During her career, Ball had thirteen Emmy nominations and four wins, also earning the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors. Before starring in I Love Lucy, Ball was widely regarded as a failed actress and a B movie star. Even her drama instructors didn’t feel she could make it, telling her to try another profession. She, of course, proved them all wrong.

Marilyn Monroe: imagesCAJTG3JHWhile Monroe’s star burned out early, she did have a period of great success in her life. Despite a rough upbringing and being told by modeling agents that she should instead consider being a secretary, Monroe became a pin-up, model and actress that still strikes a chord with people today.

Writers and Artists

We’ve all heard about starving artists and struggling writers, but these stories show that sometimes all that work really does pay off with success in the long run.

Vincent Van Gogh: During his lifetime, Van Gogh sold only one painting, and this was to a friend and only for a very small amount of money. While Van Gogh was never a success during his life, he plugged on with painting, sometimes starving to complete his over 800 known works. Today, they bring in hundreds of millions.

Emily Dickinson: Recluse and poet Emily Dickinson is a commonly read and loved writer. Yet in her lifetime she was all but ignored, having fewer than a dozen poems published out of her almost 1,800 completed works.

Steven Spielberg: untitledWhile today Spielberg’s name is synonymous with big budget, he was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times. He eventually attended school at another location, only to drop out to become a director before finishing. Thirty-five years after starting his degree, Spielberg returned to school in 2002 to finally complete his work and earn his BA.

Stephen King: The first book by this author, the iconic thriller Carrie, received 30 rejections, finally causing King to give up and throw it in the trash. His wife fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit it, and the rest is history, with King now having hundreds of books published the distinction of being one of the best-selling authors of all time.

J. K. Rowling: jkRowling may be rolling in a lot of Harry Potter dough today, but before she published the series of novels she was nearly penniless, severely depressed, divorced, trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel. Rowling went from depending on welfare to survive to being one of the richest women in the world in a span of only five years through her hard work and determination.

Musicians

While their music is some of the best selling, best loved and most popular around the world today, these musicians show that it takes a whole lot of determination to achieve success.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Mozart began composing at the age of five, writing over 600 pieces of music that today are lauded as some of the best ever created. Yet during his lifetime, Mozart didn’t have such an easy time, and was often restless, leading to his dismissal from a position as a court musician in Salzberg. He struggled to keep the support of the aristocracy and died with little to his name.

Elvis Presley: As one of the best-selling artists of all time, Elvis has become a household name even years after his death. But back in 1954, Elvis was still a nobody, and Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after just one performance telling him, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

The Beatles: Few people can deny the lasting power of this super group, still popular with listeners around the world today. Yet when they were just starting out, a recording company told them no. The were told “we don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out,” two things the rest of the world couldn’t have disagreed with more.

Ludwig van Beethoven: In his formative years, young Beethoven was incredibly awkward on the violin and was often so busy working on his own compositions that he neglected to practice. Despite his love of composing, his teachers felt he was hopeless at it and would never succeed with the violin or in composing. Beethoven kept plugging along, however, and composed some of the best-loved symphonies of all time–five of them while he was completely deaf.

Athletes

While some athletes rocket to fame, others endure a path fraught with a little more adversity, like those listed here.

Michael Jordan: imagesCABIL7R4Most people wouldn’t believe that a man often lauded as the best basketball player of all time was actually cut from his high school basketball team. Luckily, Jordan didn’t let this setback stop him from playing the game and he has stated, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Stan Smith: This tennis player was rejected from even being a lowly ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because event organizers felt he was too clumsy and uncoordinated. Smith went on to prove them wrong, showcasing his not-so-clumsy skills by winning Wimbledon, U. S. Open and eight Davis Cups.

http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/#top

Famous People Who Failed At First. – I

Not everyone who’s on top today got there with success after success. More often than not, those who history best remembers were faced with numerous obstacles that forced them to work harder and show more determination than others. Next time you’re feeling down about your failures in college or in a career, keep these famous people in mind and remind yourself that sometimes failure is just the first step towards success.

Business Gurus

These businessmen and the companies they founded are today known around the world, but as these stories show, their beginnings weren’t always smooth.

Henry_Ford_400 Henry Ford: While Ford is today known for his innovative assembly line and American-made cars, he wasn’t an instant success. In fact, his early businesses failed and left him broke five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.

R. H. Macy: Most people are familiar with this large department store chain, but Macy didn’t always have it easy. Macy started seven failed business before finally hitting big with his store in New York City.

Soichiro Honda: The billion-dollar business that is Honda began with a series of failures and fortunate turns of luck. Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation for a job after interviewing for a job as an engineer, leaving him jobless for quite some time. He started making scooters of his own at home, and spurred on by his neighbors, finally started his own business.

Akio Morita: You may not have heard of Morita but you’ve undoubtedly heard of his company, Sony. Sony’s first product was a rice cooker that unfortunately didn’t cook rice so much as burn it, selling less than 100 units. This first setback didn’t stop Morita and his partners as they pushed forward to create a multi-billion dollar company.

Bill GatesimagesCA5BGSVS Gates didn’t seem like a shoe-in for success after dropping out of Harvard and starting a failed first business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data. While this early idea didn’t work, Gates’ later work did, creating the global empire that is Microsoft.

Harland David Sanders: Perhaps better known as Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, Sanders had a hard time selling his chicken at first. In fact, his famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it.

Walt Disney: imagesCA11BT3K Today Disney rakes in billions from merchandise, movies and theme parks around the world, but Walt Disney himself had a bit of a rough start. He was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. He kept plugging along, however, and eventually found a recipe for success that worked.

Scientists and Thinkers

These people are often regarded as some of the greatest minds of our century, but they often had to face great obstacles, the ridicule of their peers and the animosity of society.

Albert Einstein:untitledMost of us take Einstein’s name as synonymous with genius, but he didn’t always show such promise. Einstein did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven, causing his teachers and parents to think he was mentally handicapped, slow and anti-social. Eventually, he was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. It might have taken him a bit longer, but most people would agree that he caught on pretty well in the end, winning the Nobel Prize and changing the face of modern physics.

Charles Darwin: In his early years, Darwin gave up on having a medical career and was often chastised by his father for being lazy and too dreamy. Darwin himself wrote, “I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect.” Perhaps they judged too soon, as Darwin today is well-known for his scientific studies.

Isaac Newton: Newton was undoubtedly a genius when it came to math, but he had some failings early on. He never did particularly well in school and when put in charge of running the family farm, he failed miserably, so poorly in fact that an uncle took charge and sent him off to Cambridge where he finally blossomed into the scholar we know today.

Socrates: Despite leaving no written records behind, Socrates is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the Classical era. Because of his new ideas, in his own time he was called “an immoral corrupter of youth” and was sentenced to death. Socrates didn’t let this stop him and kept right on, teaching up until he was forced to poison himself.

Inventors
These inventors changed the face of the modern world, but not without a few failed prototypes along the way.

Thomas Edison:imagesCALOPUOW In his early years, teachers told Edison he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Work was no better, as he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Even as an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Of course, all those unsuccessful attempts finally resulted in the design that worked.

Orville and Wilbur Wright: Wright brothers battled depression and family illness before starting the bicycle shop that would lead them to experimenting with flight. After numerous attempts at creating flying machines, several years of hard work, and tons of failed prototypes, the brothers finally created a plane that could get airborne and stay there.

http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/#top

Jessica Cox the armless pilot who makes miracles happen

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Jessica Cox was born without any arms to an American father and a Filipino mother in Tuscon, Arizona. Prenatal testing did not show any birth issues, but when she came out, she had only two limbs. Doctors could not explain her rare congenital condition as sonograms and other prenatal tests did not reveal any defect.

Jessica’s father William Cox is a retired band teacher and mother is Inez Cox , took her to various doctors. There was no answer. why jessica born with out arms .so Cox learned to do with her feet what other children learn to do with their hands.

“As a child, there was no way to understand why I did not have arms like everyone else. It was difficult being different,” said Cox, her voice softening.

By the time she was 3, Cox was enrolled in gymnastics classes. By the time she was 6 she was swimming in the backyard pool and tapping out rhythms in dance class.

Her parents William and Inez tried to use prosthetics to cover the missing limbs during her early years, but by the time she was in seventh grade, she refused to wear them. Jessica said, “In a sense, they were dehumanizing to me. I was basically prevented from doing what comes naturally to me.”

On her first day of eighth grade, she finally decided to take off her prosthetics before boarding the school bus. “As the bus door closed behind me, I felt freer and independent. Since that day, I never wore the prosthetics again.”

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Jessica has been forced to live her entire life using just her feet for everyday things, from text messaging and playing the piano to putting in her contact lenses.

Nevertheless, she still took part in various activities such as gymnastics and tap dancing, often performing on stage.

For Cox, the greater challenge of being born without arms is the constant stares rather than the physical adversity. She said “I used to get very irritated when people stared, especially when I’m walking down the street or eating with my feet. But I’ve learnt to turn that into something positive and use that opportunity to channel positive vibes and be an example of optimism.”

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Jessica admits that she was quite shy when she was around other children and adults. “I used to feel shy about being different. I remember the first time I was on stage. It was my very first at our dance studio presentation. I was so scared that I asked my dance teacher to put me in the back row. She told me there was no back row.” Fortunately, after the show, the audience clapped and cheered for her. “I couldn’t wait to go out for a second time and perform. I danced for 12 years after that,” she said.

Cox credits her parents for being her role models and pillar of support. Her mother is a nurse and her father, a retired music teacher.

“My mum is my role model and always tells me I can do anything I’ve set my mind to.”

“My dad never once shed a tear when I was born because he did not see me as a victim. It is hard being a parent to a disabled child. He was my rock during the difficult times and that has shaped me into the person I am today,” she said.

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She actively participated in Te Kwon Do, swimming (she was able to swim proficiently by the age of six), and even learned how to drive. When she first learnt to drive a car, she was encouraged to use special modifications. However, after she had her car modified, she decided to remove the modifications and now holds an unrestricted driver’s licence. Jessica said that it’s like riding a bike, “I slouch back in the driver’s seat, and control everything, including the steering wheel, using my feet..

At the age of fourteen, Jessica earned her first black belt in Te Kwon Do, and received a second one after she rejoined the American Te Kwon Do Association later in college. She certainly was taking her life to the maximum; whatever a person with arms could do, Jessica stated, “I can also do”.

After high school, Jessica attended college at the University of Arizona, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.

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Today, she cooks, eats, washes dishes, curls her own hair, and writes and types with her feet. She also likes to swim and ice skate.

She can type 25 words a minute, blow dry her hair, and put on her makeup and contact lenses with as much ease as anyone else.

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Jessica believes that by combining creativity, persistence, and fearlessness, nothing is impossible. She can write ,use computers, brush her hair and talk on to her phone simply using her feet. Her indomitable spirit overrides what she may lack physically.

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Cox used to watch with envy as other kids swung about on the monkey bars in elementary school while she was limited to the swings.

Frustrated, she would envision herself flying over the playground like Superwoman while everyone watched in disbelief. “I would imagine taking people up one at a time to experience my super powers. Years later, I realised that my imagination had become a reality,” said Cox at a media interview.

Flying in commercial planes was her greatest fear since childhood. Needless to say, piloting an aircraft was never on her to-do list. However, that changed when a member of Wright Flight, a Tucson-based non-profit group, approached her after a Rotary Club talk she gave in 2005. The group uses aviation as motivation.

A fighter pilot named Robin Stoddard who represented the group asked if she would like to fly an airplane. Being the achiever and optimist that she is, Cox decided to give it a try and was instantly hooked.

She learned to fly in rudderless light Ercoupe aircraft, where you only need your hands to control it rather than both hands and feet. Ercoupe aircraft is one of the few airplanes to be made and certified without pedals. Without rudder pedals Jessica is free to use her feet as hands. She took three years instead of the usual six months to complete her lightweight aircraft licence, had three flying instructors and practiced 89 hours of flying.

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She earned a US Federal Aviation Administration sport pilot licence . (This type of licence does not require a medical examination, only a valid US driver’s licence, an oral and written exam, and a certificate to fly solo.). Jessica is now training to become an instructor – so she can help other disabled people learn to fly.

“When I fly, I have the greatest feeling of freedom, independence and power,” said Cox, who controls the throttle with her left foot and the yoke with her right.

She is now an inspirational speaker. She now talks almost daily to schools, businesses, and public crowds literally across the nation. Whether it is about overcoming the fear of flying, learning how to walk, or doing well in school, she helps thousands each and every day. Defying the standards of what she calls a "two-handed" world, Jessica shares in her speeches humorous stories of struggles and success.

What may have been a disaster of a life to some soft-minded people became a life-long challenge that Jessica determined to beat. She said, “Desire is 80 percent of success. Persistence means never give up. Never allow your fear to stand in the way of your opportunity.” As a human miracle, Jessica Cox believes that every challenge can be overcome with the power of the mind.

    Jessica Cox quotes

“Accepting myself is an ongoing journey. It’s difficult to keep your spirits up all the time but I rely on my faith to carry me through the rough times.

“It’s only human to have low moments in life because if you don’t, then you won’t feel the high, exciting times.”

“Handicaps are mindsets, whatever it is that stands in the way of achieving something, that’s when it’s a handicap. I prefer them as obstacles or challenges. This is how I’ve been my whole life, I don’t know any different. I just live my life through my feet.”

“My message is that disabilities are not limited to physical. They shouldn’t stand in the way of success, there’s no handicap to success.”

“The greater the difficulty, the greater the glory.”

“The human being must live some difficult moments in life to have emotional moments”.

“This is just to show that there’s always more than one way to accomplish a task.”

“I may not have arms but that does not determine who I am or who I can become,” she said.

Her favourite quote is one by spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; it is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

“Sometimes fear is rooted in a lack of knowledge and the unknown. When I first started flying, I realised my fear was because I did not know much about it.

“A universal fear people have is a fear of inadequacy and lack of faith in ourselves,”

Visit this website for more details about her inspiring life. http://rightfooted.com/

View this video to see her miracles.

Rags to Riches story of Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan was born in Hong Kong on April 7th, 1954. His parents, Charles and Lee-lee Chan named him Chan Kong-sang which means “born in Hong Kong.” Jackie weighed 12 pounds when he was born and his mother required surgery to deliver him. Charles borrowed money from friends to pay for the operation, turning down the doctor’s offer to take the child in payment

Although Jackie’s parents were poor, they had steady jobs at the French embassy in Hong Kong. Charles was a cook and Lee-lee was a housekeeper. Together, the Chan family lived on Victoria Peak in Hong Kong. During his childhood, he suffered from terrible poverty.

When Jackie was young, his father would wake him early in the morning and together they would practice kung fu. Charles Chan believed that learning kung fu would help build Jackie’s character, teaching him patience, strength, and courage.

Chan attended the Nah-Hwa Primary School on Hong Kong Island, where he failed his first year, after which his parents withdrew him from the school. He used to spend his travel money on food and went to home by walk and used to fight on the way with Caucasian kids attending special schools in the area. He was not academically bright, failing to pass Primary 1 as his peers moved on to Primary 3. This was noticed by Charles, who decided to enrol the boy, now 7, at China Drama Academy,a Peking Opera School, operated by Shu Master Yu Jan-Yuen.

Walking in with his dad, Jackie saw tens of kids, between 7 and their early teens, somersaulting and playing with swords and sticks. He recalls that he felt like kids must feel today on entering Disneyland. He would never return to academic education. Though he speaks 7 languages, he still cannot read or write with great proficiency, and has someone else write his scripts for him. He said the hardest thing about acting is speaking in English. Doing stunts are easy for him compared to speaking in English.

He trained rigorously for the next decade, excelling in martial arts and acrobatics. Eventually, Jackie’s mother left too, to join Charles in Australia, Jackie being adopted by the single-minded Master.

During Jackie’s time at the school, he learned martial arts, acrobatics, singing, and acting. The school was meant to prepare boys for a life in the Peking Opera. Chinese opera was very different from any other kind of opera. It included singing, tumbling, and acrobatics as well as martial arts skills and acting. Students at the school were severely disciplined and were beaten if they disobeyed or made mistakes. It was a very harsh and difficult life but Jackie had nowhere else to go, so he stayed. He rarely saw his parents for many years.

While at the China Academy, Jackie made his acting debut at age eight in the Cantonese movie “Seven Little Valiant Fighters: Big and Little Wong Tin Bar.” He later teamed with other opera students in a performance group called “The Seven Little Fortunes.” Fellow actors Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao were also members. Years later the three would work together and become known as The Three Brothers. As Jackie got older he worked as a stuntman and an extra in the Hong Kong film industry.

When Jackie was 17, he graduated from the China Drama Academy. Unfortunately the Chinese opera was no longer very popular, so Jackie and his classmates had to find other work. This was difficult because at the school they were never taught how to read or write. The only work available to them was unskilled labour or stunt work.
Each year many movies were made in Hong Kong and there was always a need for young, strong stuntmen. Jackie was extraordinarily athletic and inventive, and soon gained a reputation for being fearless; Jackie Chan would try anything. Soon he was in demand.

Amidst some difficulty finding stunt work and following some of his early commercial failures in the acting realm, Chan joined his parents in Canberra in 1976. While there he briefly enrolled at Dickson College and worked in construction.

Jackie was very unhappy in Australia. The construction work was difficult and boring. His salvation came in the form of a telegram from a man named Willie Chan. Willie Chan worked in the Hong Kong movie industry and was looking for someone to star in a new movie being made by Lo Wei, a famous Hong Kong producer/director. Willie had seen Jackie at work as a stuntman and had been impressed. Jackie called Willie and they talked. Jackie didn’t know it but Willie would end up becoming his best friend and manager. Soon Jackie was on his way back to Hong Kong to star in “New Fist of Fury.” It was 1976 and Jackie Chan was 21 years old.

Jackie Chan began his film career as a stuntman in the Bruce Lee films Fist of Fury(1972) and Enter the Dragon (1973).

Once Jackie got back to Hong Kong, Willie Chan took control over Jackie’s career. To this day Jackie is quick to point out that he owes his success to Willie. However, the movies that Jackie made for Lo Wei were not very successful. The problem was that Jackie’s talents were not being used properly. It was only when Jackie was able to contribute his own ideas that he became a star. He brought humour to martial arts movies;
his first success was “Snake in Eagle’s Shadow.” This was followed by “Drunken Master” (another blockbuster) and Jackie’s first ever directing job, “Fearless Hyena.” All were big hits.

Chan’s fortunes improved when he began to experiment with comic characterizations. The switch brought a fresh perspective to a genre whose original principles Lee had taken to their limits, and allowed Chan to take advantage of the acting skills he had learned at the opera school.

Following the death of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, the search was on for an actor who could inspire audiences to the same degree; every young martial artist was given a chance. Chan decided that rather than emulating Lee (and thus living forever in his shadow), he would develop his own style of filmmaking. His directorial debut The Young Master (1980) was a milestone in martial arts films, being one of the first to effectively combine comedy with action. This set the tone for many of his future films, which combined slapstick humour with high-energy martial arts action.

In his early career, he was almost cast aside as just another in a long line of failed Next Bruce Lees. In perfecting his craft, he’s broken his nose three times, and also cracked his ankle, most of his fingers, both his cheekbones and his skull (patched together with a steel plate). But finally, after nearly 40 years in the business, he has reached worldwide stardom.

Jackie was becoming a huge success in Asia. Unfortunately, it would be many years before the same could be said of his popularity in America. After a series of lukewarm receptions in the U.S., mostly due to miscasting, Jackie left the States and focused his attention on making movies in Hong Kong. It would be 10 years before he returned to make Rumble in the Bronx, the movie that introduced Jackie to American audiences and secured him a place in their hearts (and their box office). Rumble was followed by the Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon series which put Jackie on the Hollywood A List.

Despite the minimal formal education he received, he was made an honorary doctor of social science of the Hong Kong Baptist University, and an honorary fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts.

Though he could not read or write, Jackie Chan was able to achieve such greatness due to his hard work in his chosen field of martial arts. His innovative efforts in adding a comic touch to martial arts films proved to be a great success.

Quotes of Jackie chan

    “ I’m crazy, but I’m not stupid.”

    “ I never wanted to be the next Bruce Lee. I just wanted to be the first Jackie Chan.”

    “ Do not let circumstances control you. You change your circumstances.”

    “ Why do you want to destroy life, when you can make it better?.”

    “ Exactly, how can you fill your cup if already full? How can you learn Kung Fu, you already know so much. No Shadow Kick, Buddha Palm! Empty your cup.”

    ” Don’t try to be like Jackie. There is only one Jackie. Study computers instead.”

    “ Great Success comes only with Great ambition”.

Inspiring Story of Kulandei Francis, Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2012

Kulandei Francis was born to uneducated parents in Karipatti village near Salem. He was eldest of the six children. His father, Kulandei, an agricultural coolie, doubled up as a Railway Gangman while mother Mathalai Mary was a farmhand. She tired her hands at milk and rice business in a small way to augment the family income.

‘I am the only person from our family to enter college and it was mother’s desire. But, to complete my B.Com degree from Annamalai University, Chidambaram, she had to dispose of the little bit of dry land to pay for moneylenders”said Francis.. He was the only one of his siblings to earn a degree.

Fresh from college, Francis’ was not keen on getting a job. ‘Starvation, misery and migration stalking the country side occupied my mind and forced me to do something for their welfare,’ he reasons. As such, he wanted to join the priestly order to engage in the uplift of poor and chose the Holy Cross Society in Bangalore in 1971 and completed Theological studies at the De Nobili College in Pune. For the regency, a period of training, he and two of his colleagues opted to work at the remote Sesurajapuram village for one year in 1975. “Then, there were no roads and we have to walk 20 km in the thick forest. But, we stayed there, conducting night school to the kids besides taking up other ecclesiastical work,’ he recalls.

“During my priesthood, I became part of Caritas India’s (social service wing of catholic Bishops Conference of India) charity works and was assigned to work with famine hit people in West Bengal, who were displaced from Bangaldesh following the 1971 war. Then I worked with NGOs in Pune and Trichy and landed finally in Natrampalayam to devote myself to liberate people from money lenders,” says Francis. But in 1977, he left the order and became a full-time social activist.

Though Francis left the Holy Cross Society subsequently, he asserts that it offered him enough insights to take up his social work. After getting trained at an NGO in Trichy, in 1979 he registered his own, the Intergrated Village Development Project (IDVP) to work from Krishnagiri.

How did all this start? What inspired you ?

It was 1975, and I heard about poverty and starvation deaths in many rural areas. One in particular was in a reserve forest, and you had to walk 20 km from the nearest town, Anchetti, to reach the village .

I was appalled by the poverty. People were eating roots and whatever they could find on the forest floors, many were ill and unemployment was a reality.

The area would get rains, but the water would run off, leaving the area dry and parched. I began in a small way, established a school, got the community interested in check dams and bore wells, and after three decades we have over 200 wells in the area.

Q: What made you choose such a life? You are a graduate, and a priest as well, you could have opted for a regular job?

Poverty is something I know first hand. I myself come from a very poor family. I was the only one in the family to be sent to college, there was no money for the others. My family was also caught in the web of money lenders. I wanted to help families such as mine, and I joined the Holy Cross to train as a priest. I found that I could not reach out to as many people as I wanted, and so I chose to get into the field and do things first hand.

Francis began Integrated Village Development Project (IVDP) in 1979 a Tamil Nadu based self-help group (SHG) which provides help to the poor, students and women among others. IVDP started out with small projects like conducting night schools in the light of gas lamps and setting up a first-aid centre. IVDP is majorly into SHG, health and hygiene and education.

Later, with the help of development organisations, he undertook a micro-watershed programme that, over 22 years, built 331 mostly small check dams, benefitting cultivators and their families in 60 villages.

Visit this link to know more details about his work
http://ivdpkrishnagiri.org/

Kulandei Francis has won Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2012 due to his selfless service for the weaker sections of the society.

Visit this link to view interview of Kulandei Francis.

http://www.sify.com/news/The-economy-is-a-woman-says-Magsaysay-winner-Kulandei-Francis-imagegallery-features-mh1cmTdjcdi.html

How Charlie Chaplin overcame poverty to become Comedy King?

Charles Spencer Chaplin was born in London, England, on April 16th 1889. His father Charles Chaplin Sr was a versatile vocalist and actor; and his mother Hannah Chaplin was an attractive actress and singer, who gained a reputation for her work in the light opera field.

At the time of his birth, Chaplin’s parents were both entertainers in the music hall tradition: Hannah, the daughter of a shoemaker, had a brief and unsuccessful career, while Charles Sr., a butcher’s son, worked as a popular singer.

His father, Charles Chaplin Sr., achieved modest acclaim on stage in England, but eventually drank himself to death. His mother, Hannah, was a songstress who lost her voice, and struggled to make ends meet only to end up losing her mind. Chaplin’s earliest attempts at acting are all deeply connected to his mother’s tragic downward spiral.

Chaplin’s childhood was fraught with poverty and hardship, prompting biographer David Robinson to describe his eventual trajectory as “the most dramatic of all the rags to riches stories ever told. His early years were spent with his mother and brother in the London district of Kennington. Mother Hannah had no means of income, other than occasional nursing and dress making, and Chaplin Sr. provided no support for his sons.

Because of poverty, Chaplin was sent to a work house at seven years old. The council housed him at the Central London District School for paupers, which Chaplin remembered as “a forlorn existence”. He was briefly reunited with his mother at nine years old, before Hannah was forced to readmit her family to the workhouse in July 1898. The boys were promptly sent to Norwood Schools, another charity institution.

In September 1898, Hannah Chaplin was committed to Cane Hill mental asylum—she had developed a psychosis seemingly brought on by malnutrition and an infection of syphilis. For the two months she was there, Chaplin and his brother were sent to live with their father, whom the young boy scarcely knew.

Charles Chaplin Sr. was by then a severe alcoholic, and life with the man was bad enough to provoke a visit from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. He died two years later, at 37 years old, from cirrhosis of the liver. Hannah Chaplin entered a period of remission, but in May 1903 became ill again. Chaplin, then 14, had the task of taking his mother to the infirmary.

He lived alone for several days, searching for food and occasionally sleeping rough, until his brother Sydney returned from the navy. Hannah Chaplin was released from the asylum eight months later, but in March 1905 her madness returned, this time permanently. “There was nothing we could do but accept poor mother’s fate”, Chaplin later wrote, and she remained in care until her death in 1928.

Chaplin was just five years old when he first took the stage, but it was a bitter sweet occasion. His mother lost her voice in the middle of a song while performing at a theatre. To appease the crowd, the venue’s manager forced young Charlie out onto the stage. “And in the turmoil I remember the manager leading me by the hand and, after a few explanatory words to the audience, leaving me on the stage alone,” he writes in his autobiography. “Before a glare of footlights and faces in smoke, I started to sing, accompanied by the orchestra, which fiddled about until it found my key.” He sang a standard called Jack Jones, and managed to charm the audience with his stiff manner and innocence, not to mention a few wicked impressions. Unfortunately, while Chaplin first found his voice that night, his mother never recovered hers. It would be the last time she ever sang or performed in public.

Several years passed before Chaplin ventured back into the spotlight. In the intervening years, his mother was in and out of mental wards, while Chaplin and his brother were bounced from one bad housing situation to the next. When he was eight years old, his mother re-entered his life for a while, and re-animated his interest in the theatre once more. He credited his mother, later writing “she imbued me with the feeling that I had some sort of talent”.

During a break in class two months later, Chaplin recited a comedic work his mother had taught him and he became an instant celebrity in his school, experiencing his first conscious taste of glamour.

This time, however, he experienced his first failure. Chaplin tried out for a part in his school’s Christmas musical, Cinderella. Years later, he clearly still felt contempt for being passed over. “I was better able…than those who had been chosen,” he wrote in his autobiography.

Through his father’s connections, Chaplin became a member of The Eight Lancashire Lads clog dancing troupe. He began his professional career in this way, as the group toured English music halls throughout 1899 and 1900. Chaplin worked hard and the act was popular with audiences, but dancing did not satisfy the child and he dreamt of forming a comedy act.

By age 13 Chaplin had fully abandoned education. He supported himself with a range of jobs, but said he “never lost sight of my ultimate aim to become an actor. At 14, shortly after his mother’s relapse, he registered with a theatrical agency in London’s West End. The manager sensed potential in Chaplin and he was soon on the stage. His first role was a news boy in H. A. Saintsbury’s Jim, a Romance of Cockayne. It opened in July 1903 in Kingston upon Thames, but the show was unsuccessful and it closed after two weeks. Chaplin’s comic performance, however, was singled out for praise in many of the reviews. From October 1903 to June 1904, Chaplin toured with Saintsbury in Charles Frohman’s production of Sherlock Holmes. He repeated his performance of Billy the page boy for two subsequent tours, and was so successful that he was called to London to play the role alongside William Gillette,

Chaplin quickly began work in another role, touring with his brother—who was also pursuing an acting career—in a comedy sketch called Repairs. He left the troupe in May 1906, and joined the vaudeville act Casey’s Court Circus. Chaplin’s specialism with the company was a burlesque of Dick Turpin and the music hall star “Dr. Bodie”. It was popular with audiences and Chaplin became the star of the show. When they finished touring in July 1907, the 18 year old was an accomplished comedian. Several months of unemployment followed, however, and Chaplin lived a solitary existence while lodging with a family in Kennington. He attempted to develop a solo comedy act, but his Jewish impersonation was poorly received and he performed it only once.

By 1908, Sydney Chaplin had become a star of Fred Karno’s prestigious comedy company. In February, he managed to secure a two-week trial for his younger brother. Karno was initially wary, thinking Chaplin a “pale, puny, sullen-looking youngster” who “looked much too shy to do any good in the theatre. But the teenager made an impact on his first night at the London Coliseum, winning more laughs in his small role than the star, and he was quickly signed to a contract.

Chaplin’s second American tour with the Karno company was not particularly successful, as cast members fell sick and audiences failed to grasp the troupe’s burlesque humour. They had been there six months when Chaplin’s manager received a telegram, asking “Is there a man named Chaffin in your company or something like that” with the request that that this comedian contact the New York Motion Picture Company. A member of NYMPC had seen Chaplin perform and felt that he would make a good replacement for Fred Mace, outgoing star of their Keystone Studios.

Chaplin said “I wanted everything to be a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large … I added a small moustache, which, I reasoned, would add age without hiding my expression. I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the makeup made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked on stage he was fully born.”

Chaplin adopted the character permanently, and attempted to make suggestions for the films he appeared in. These ideas were dismissed by his directors. During the filming of his tenth picture he clashed with director Mabel Normand, and was almost released from his contract. Sennett kept him on, however, when a request arrived for more Chaplin films. With an insurance of $1,500 promised in case of failure, Sennett also allowed Chaplin to direct his own film.

He did not receive screen credit on the many comedies he made for Keystone in 1914-15, as it was studio policy not to credit its actors. Caught in the Rain (issued 4 May 1914), Chaplin’s first directed picture, was among Keystone’s most successful releases to date.

His first screen credit appeared on His New Job (1915), his first film for Essanay. .He went on to create history in the field of cinema.

Charlie Chaplin became a king of comedy though he had to undergo great struggles in the initial stages of his career due to acute poverty and lack of parental support. He built up his career independently and charted a new course though he lacked any formal training. His rags to riches story will definitely inspire us to achieve success by overcoming all obstacles.

Visit his website for more details about his life. http://www.charliechaplin.com/

Daring Vision of Daniel Kish who uses his ears to see

Daniel Kish was born during 1966 in Montebello, California with an aggressive form of cancer called retinoblastoma, which attacks the retinas. He lost vision in one eye when he was seven months old, and in the other when 13 months old to Retinoblastoma.

Kish was born, into a difficult family situation. His younger brother, Keith, was also born with retinoblastoma — it’s genetic, though neither of Kish’s parents had the disease. Doctors managed to save enough of Keith’s eyesight so that he doesn’t need echolocation. He’s now a middle school English teacher. Kish’s father, who worked as an automobile mechanic, was a physically abusive alcoholic, and his mother left him when Kish was six.

Kish can hardly remember a time when he didn’t click. He came to it on his own, intuitively, at age two, about a year after his second eye was removed.

If you saw Kish walking down the street you’d hear him make repeated clicking sounds with his tongue — click! click! click! — as he weaves through traffic or ducks to miss tree branches. The clicks usually aren’t terribly loud, but they come at a continuous clip.

He makes the sound more often when he’s a bit confused or comes to an intersection. Other times he’s silent as he walks with the help of a cane. Many blind children make noises in order to get feedback — foot stomping, finger snapping, hand clapping, tongue clicking. These behaviours are the beginnings of echolocation, but they’re almost invariably deemed asocial by parents or caretakers and swiftly extinguished.

Kish was fortunate that his mother never tried to dissuade him from clicking. “That tongue click was everything to me,” he says.

Kish does not go around clicking like a madman. He uses his click sparingly and, depending on his location, varies the volume. When he’s outside, he’ll throw a loud click. In good conditions, he can hear a building 1,000 feet away, a tree from 30 feet, a person from six feet. Up close, he can echolocate a one-inch diameter pole. He can tell the difference between a pickup truck, a passenger car, and an SUV. He can locate trail signs in the forest, then run his finger across the engraved letters and determine which path to take. Every house, he explains, has its own acoustic signature.

He can hear the variation between a wall and a bush and a chain-link fence. Bounce a tennis ball off a wall, Kish says, then off a bush. Different response. So too with sound. Given a bit of time, he can echolocate something as small as a golf ball. Sometimes, in a parking garage, he can echolocate the exit faster than a sighted person can find it.

He went to mainstream schools and relied almost exclusively on echolocation to orient himself, though at the time neither he nor his mom had any concept of what he was doing.

“My parents did not limit me, they did not restrict me from anything. They were not at all concerned about my blindness, and raised me just like any other child,” he says.

He was raised with almost no dispensation for his blindness. “My upbringing was all about total self-reliance,” he writes, “of being able to go after anything I desired.” His career interests, as a boy, included policeman, fireman, pilot, and doctor. He was a celebrated singer and voracious consumer of braille books. He could take anything apart and put it back together — a skill he retains.

He is so accomplished at echolocation that he’s able to pedal his mountain bike through streets heavy with traffic and on precipitous dirt trails, He rode his bike with wild abandon. He said “I used to go to the top of a hill and scream ‘Dive bomb!’ and ride down as fast as I could,” he says. This is when he was eight. The neighbourhood kids would scatter. “One day I lost control of the bicycle, crashed through these trash cans, and smashed into a metal light pole. It was a violent collision. I had blood all over my face. I picked myself up and went home.”

He climbs trees. He camps out, by himself, deep in the wilderness. He’s lived for weeks at a time in a tiny cabin a two-mile hike from the nearest road. He travels around the globe. He’s a skilled cook, an avid swimmer, a fluid dance partner. Essentially, though in a way that is unfamiliar to nearly any other human being, Kish can see.

He attended the University of California Riverside, then earned two master’s degrees — one in developmental psychology, one in special education. He wrote a thesis on the history and science of human echolocation, and as part of that devised one of the first echolocation training programs.

The thesis was the first time Kish really studied what he’d been doing all his life; it was the beginning, as he put it, of “unlocking my own brain.” He then became the first totally blind person in the United States (and likely the world) to be fully certified as an orientation and mobility specialist — that is, someone hired by the visually impaired to learn how to get around.

Daniel Kish has used clicking sounds to detect objects and to make his way around them. But it was only when he was around 18 that he found what he was doing was called “human echolocation”. He makes clicking noises with his mouth and uses the sound waves reflected by the surrounding objects to identify their location and size. This acoustic process is similar to what bats and dolphins do to navigate.

Human echolocation is the ability of humans to detect objects in their environment by sensing echoes from those objects. By actively creating sounds – for example, by tapping their canes, lightly stomping their foot or making clicking noises with their mouths – people trained to orientate with echolocation can interpret the sound waves reflected by nearby objects, accurately identifying their location and size. This ability is used by some blind people for acoustic way finding, or navigating within their environment using auditory rather than visual cues. It is similar in principle to active sonar and to the animal echolocation employed by some animals, including bats, dolphins and toothed whales.

Echolocation has been further developed by Daniel Kish, who works with the blind, leading blind teenagers hiking and mountain-biking through the wilderness and teaching them how to navigate new locations safely, with a technique that he calls “FlashSonar”,through the non-profit organization World Access for The Blind.

He now trains other blind people in the use of echolocation and in what he calls “Perceptual Mobility”.Though at first resistant to using a cane for mobility, seeing it as a “handicapped” device, and considering himself “not handicapped at all”, Kish developed a technique using his white cane combined with echolocation to further expand his mobility.

Daniel created the first systematic, comprehensive echolocation curriculum for advanced training. So advanced are the results of this training that Daniel has coined the term “Flash Sonar” to underscore the advantages to his specific approach to the advanced instruction and use of active echolocation in contrast to traditional approaches to echolocation, which he believes to be rudimentary by comparison.

Daniel and some of his students have applied FlashSonar combined with other techniques to riding bicycles independently at moderate speeds through unfamiliar environments, and to participate effectively and independently in other complex activities such as skating, ball play, and solo wilderness travel.

There are two reasons echolocation works. The first is that our ears, conveniently, are located on both sides of our head. When there’s a noise off to one side, the sound reaches the closer ear about a millisecond — a thousandth of a second before it reaches the farther ear. That’s enough of a gap for the auditory cortex of our brain to process the information. It’s rare that we turn the wrong way when someone calls our name. In fact, we’re able to process, with phenomenal accuracy, sounds just a few degrees off-center. Having two ears, like having two eyes, also gives us the auditory equivalent of depth perception. We hear in stereo 3-D. This allows us, using only our ears, to build a detailed map of our surroundings.

The second reason echolocation works is that humans, on average, have excellent hearing. We hear better than we see. Much better. On the light spectrum, human eyes can perceive only a small sliver of all the varieties of light — no ultraviolet, no infrared. Converting this to sound terminology, we can see less than one octave of frequency. We hear a range of 10 octaves.

We can also hear behind us; we can hear around corners. Sight can’t do this. Human hearing is so good that if you have decent hearing, you will never once in your life experience true silence. Even if you sit completely still in a soundproof room, you will detect the beating of your own heart.

    Quotes of Daniel Kish

“I don’t remember when I started using echolocation, for I have been doing it ever since I was a child. But would credit my parents for inspiring me to discover it. They were not overprotective and did not treat me like someone who would not be able to achieve what they expected of him.I
“What I can do is not important. What is important is what I can teach others to help them.”

Make a point of regularly challenging what you think you know. Most of it is based on assumptions that have been programmed into us by a society which doesn’t necessarily have our best interests at heart. If we challenge what we think we know, there is a chance we can break out of that and begin to touch what is real.”

By and large, Blind people are taught to be dependent on sighted people — in part because 99% of them, he said, are taught by people who can see. He was once asked by a colleague what he thought the biggest problem was with being blind. “My biggest barrier is people,” he answered. “Especially sighted people.”

Young people, says Kish, are especially hard-hit. “Most blind kids hear a lot of negative talk. ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t move. No, here, let me help you.’ The message you get, if you’re blind, is you’re intellectually deficient, you’re emotionally deficient, you’re in all ways deficient.”

Daniel asserts that the liberation of blind people depends upon the awareness that blindness bears no intrinsic shame or deficiency. Rather, the deficiency lies primarily in the quality of interaction between the world and the blind. Daniel is deeply dedicated to helping unlock the ability of blind people to challenge these limiting forces with personal assurance and strength, and to stand at last on their own merits in camaraderie and equality with sighted people.

Kish, is the first totally blind person to be a legally Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and to hold a National Blindness Professional Certification (NOMC).

Daniel Kish is President of World Access for the Blind, a non-profit founded in 2000 to facilitate “the self-directed achievement of people with all forms of blindness” and increase public awareness about their strengths and capabilities.

World Access offers training on how to gracefully interact with one’s environment, using echolocation as a primary tool. So far, in the decade it has existed, the organization has introduced more than 500 students to echolocation. Kish is not the first blind person to use echolocation, but he’s the only one to meticulously document it, to break it down into its component parts, and to figure out how to teach it. His dream is to help all sight-impaired people see the world as clearly as he does.

Visit website of World Access for the blind by clicking this link
http://www.worldaccessfortheblind.org

What Kish envisions is the next leap in human echolocation. His idea is to become more like a bat.

Bats are the best. Some can fly in complete darkness, navigating around thousands of other bats while nabbing insects one milli meter wide. Bats have evolved, over millions of years, to possess the ideal mouth shape and the perfect ear rotation for echolocation. They can perceive high-frequency sound waves, beyond the range of human hearing — waves that are densely packed together, whose echoes give precise detail.

There is evidence that humans could be that good. Bats have tiny brains. Just the auditory cortex of a human brain is many times larger than the entire brain of a bat. This means that humans can likely process more complex auditory information than bats. What we’ll require, to make up for bats’ evolutionary head start, is a little artificial boost.

Kish uses his ears to see. When he walks around unfamiliar places — he loves hiking — he clicks his tongue and then listens as that sound bounces off nearby objects. He says he’s trained his brain to turn these sounds into an image of sorts — an auditory map he follows with the help of a cane.

Kish has helped Vikram, who plays a RAW agent in A.L. Vijay’s Tamil feature film Thaandavam, play a visually challenged person. He has also planned to visit Chennai and train blind people in echolocation techniques.

Visit these links to view video of Daniel Kish in action.

Though Daniel Kish is suffering due to blindness from childhood, he has the vision to change the future of blind by popularising the concept of echolocation which helps blind people to lead an independent life without the support of others. His inspiring success story will definitely motivate many people to strive for success in an independent manner.

Courtesy: http://mensjournal.com and http://www.worldaccessfortheblind.org