Not every path to success follows the same route. Sometimes innovators and next-generation thinkers bring their ideas to the world from a place of experience rather than official training. Take a look at the five people below who didn’t let expectations limit their dedication to their dreams.
1. Yves Saint Laurent
While Yves Saint Laurent became a design star at an early age, his journey through the fashion world wasn’t always smooth. He became the head designer for the House of Dior at 21 and his spring 1958 collection was a smashing success. However just a year later the critics tore apart his new line, he was conscripted to serve in the French Army and eventually fired from Dior. After a mental breakdown, lawsuit and convalescence, Saint Laurent started his own fashion house. His iconic work broke barriers in the fashion world by bringing street style to high fashion and creating first ready-to-wear line from a French couture design house.
2. Jack Kerouac
As a young man Jack Kerouac scoured Times Square with his friends looking for crazy experiences, experimenting with drugs and alcohol and chasing girls. Not many success stories start out that way. However, Kerouac’s free-wheeling spirit took him on an adventure across America that became the basis for his book On the Road. A literary classic, this single book sparked an entire cultural movement of freedom and individuality. The Beat Movement pushed against the conformity of the 1950’s and spawned a new era of personal expression and free thinking.
3. Lynette Woodard
There had never been a female Harlem Globetrotter until Lynette Woodard. The basketball phenomenon led her high school team to two championships before becoming an all-time leading scorer at the University of Kansas. Woodard refused to hang up her shoes after college, despite the lack of opportunity in women’s basketball. She played in Italy, Japan and was on the gold-medal winning 1984 women’s Olympic team. In 1985 she made headlines when the Harlem Globetrotters selected her for the team. At the aghae of 38 she got to fulfill a lifetime dream when she signed to the Cleveland Rockers of the newly founded WNBA.
by Wallula Junction
4. Afrika Bambaataa
The peace-loving social organizer who is known as the Grandfather of hip hop was once one of the most feared men in New York. Afrika Bambaataa grew up in The Bronx River Projects and became a gang warlord at an early age. He built the Black Spades into the biggest gang in the city in both members and turf. But a trip to Africa turned Bambaataa’s life in a very different direction. He saw communities that inspired him to stop the violence and create change in his own neighborhood. Bambaataa began hosting “hip hop” block parties, using DJ’s, emcees, b-boys and graffi art to develop a completely new sound and culture. He used his organization skills to draw angry kids out of gangs and into his musical community. In 2007 he was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
By Mika-photography (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
5. John Lasseter
Director of Toy Story, leader of Pixar and winner of multiple Academy Awards, John Lasseter was once fired from Walt Disney Studios. Lasseter was so excited about the possibilities for new technology in computer animation that he pushed and pushed his superiors to consider using it for a feature film. Eventually fired from Disney for his persistence, Lasseter began working in CGI graphics with Lucasfilm. Steve Jobs bought the computer graphics arm of Lucasfilm and it became Pixar. The dedicated Lasseter was a natural fit to oversee all of Pixar’s films and projects and lead the studio into a new realm of film making.