By Stephanie Lyon
Not immune myself, I take inspiration from the fact that a large proportion of the world’s millionaires and billionaires were once residents of struggle-town, and have built brighter futures for themselves through hard work and determination. If they can make it, surely we can all find our own journeys to success, particularly when success has a different meaning to each of us, and we don’t all necessarily dream of being rich or famous. Let’s take a look at some celebrities and household names who have dominated the world, despite their personal struggles…
J.K Rowling, author of our favourite boy wizard Harry Potter, fought poverty and depression in a small mice-infested at, while struggling to raise her daughter on a welfare cheque of seventy pounds ($100) per week. Unable to afford heating, J.K Rowling worked on the manuscript for ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ in cafés while her daughter slept in a pram. The manuscript was rejected multiple times before Bloomsbury signed her but in true ass-kicking style the series went on to become an international phenomenon and J.K Rowling has become one of the richest and most powerful women in Great Britain.
Chris Gardner spent his childhood between foster homes, and ended up homeless with his two-year- old son in San Francisco in 1981. Gardner and his son roughed it for a year; sleeping in stations, shelters, and public restrooms while he worked as a trainee at a stockbroking rm. Fortunately, he was the lucky one from his trainee group to be offered a job with the rm, and was later offered a similar role in a larger rm. From there he founded and became CEO of his own broking rm ‘Gardner Rich’ in Chicago. Gardner is now an author, motivational speaker, and even collaborated with Nelson Mandela on venture capital projects. If Chris Gardner’s story sounds familiar, it’s probably because he is the basis for Will Smith’s character in the 2006 box of ce hit ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’.
The late Steve Jobs – co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple was adopted; gaining an interest in electronics from his father’s demonstrations on how to take apart and rebuild radios and televisions. After completing high school a year early, Jobs enrolled at Reed College, an independent liberal arts college his parents struggled to afford; slowly dwindling away their life savings on his tuition. As a result, Jobs dropped out of college after only six months and spent the following eighteen months auditing classes (attending classes, but receiving no formal grade) meanwhile sleeping on the floor in the dorm rooms of his friends, returning soft drink bottles for food money, and getting a free weekly meal at the local Hare Krishna temple. After working for several electronics companies and helping his friend Steve Wozniak design an electronics device that manipulated telephone networks that allowed users to access free long distance calls; proving to them it was possible to sell electronics devices for a pro t. When Wozniak showed Jobs the computer he invented, which would become the Apple I computer, Jobs suggested they sell the computer and formed the beginnings of Apple Inc. in the garage of Jobs’ parents’ home. In 2010 Forbes estimated the net wealth of Steve Jobs to be $8.3 billion; not surprising when Apple owns the western market for portable technology devices the: iPod, iPhone, and iPad.
Personally, much of my own inspiration is drawn from musicians Joel and Benji Madden aka ‘The Madden Brothers’ front-men of American pop rock band ‘Good Charlotte’. Whilst not a musician myself, I remember the lack of confidence and self- belief I had in 2003 when I first got into the band at fifteen; an entire decade ago but it still feels like yesterday. At the time I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t believe it was a possibility; until one afternoon I was listening to one of their albums and a creative idea appeared. Fair enough I dismissed it straight away but every day for a month or two when I listened to the album, the idea returned. I eventually found out about their past and I realised if they could go from working class to following their dreams, there was no reason why I couldn’t do the same. That afternoon I began writing, and I have never looked back.
The story goes: Identical twins Benji and Joel Madden were 16 when their father walked out on their family in December 1995. As a result the family were evicted from their home, and the twins juggled a range of jobs while still attending high school in order to assist their mother to keep the family a oat. After attending a Beastie Boys concert the twins were determined to begin their own band; recruiting fellow high schoolers Paul Thomas and Billy Martin. They began playing shows in a friend’s basement and eventually moved on to local music festivals. They were booked for regular gigs at a local bar where they wheeled their equipment to and from with skateboards. When the twins weren’t working or playing shows they were sending out demo tapes and calling record labels telling them they could sign them now for free. Eventually the twins secured a record deal for ‘Good Charlotte’ with Epic Records and secured mainstream success with the release of their second album “The Young and the Hopeless” which sold 4.9 million copies and topped the charts around the world. Today ‘Good Charlotte’ have recorded ve studio albums and toured internationally numerous times over, and are set to record their sixth album later this year; as soon as ‘The Madden Brothers’ solo album is complete. Meanwhile Benji and Joel have become household names with their role as coaches on Channel nine’s ‘The Voice Australia.’