Imagine the excitement of buying, selling and racing cars at aged 19 and making enough money to not only pay for yourself to go to university but to buy a home for your mother and grandmother.
Imagine starting work at one of the world’s biggest firms of accountants and owning two Ferraris and therefore not toeing the corporate line and getting promoted again and again because, instead of telling your bosses what they wanted to hear you told them what they needed to hear.
Imagine owning a string of antique shops while still working in the corporate world.
Imagine borrowing £7,000,000,000 (that’s £7 billion) and re-building vast areas of London, including Broadgate, Ludgate Circus and Stockley Park.
Imagine owning Tiger, Tiger the famous bar and club in London’s West End, a software house (PLT) and starting Lazy Town, the internationally renowned children’s entertainment and lifestyle brand that has a direct and measurable effect on the health of children.
(Marcus has asked me to point out that in most of these projects he was part of team and didn’t do it on his own)
What kind of a man manages all of these achievements?
Imagine having a father who was so violent he beat your mother and threw you down a set of concrete stairs when you were just five years old.
Imagine being taken into care when your father went to prison and your mother was sectioned and incarcerated in a mental health institution.
Imagine working to get yourself through university and caring for a mentally ill mother who committed suicide one day when you forgot to supervise her medication.
Imagine losing £2.25 million when your stock crashed and you chose to try and help others recover their investment, instead of taking the easy way out and selling it while you could.
Imagine raising and giving away millions and bringing all of your remarkable talents and qualities to bear on challenging an education system that consistently fails those who don’t conform and helping to change the curriculum, teaching styles and the physical environment.
Is it any wonder that Marcus Orlovsky left an impression on his audience that most of them will never forget?
Before divulging his own background, Marcus got the audience thinking about why it is better to do the right thing than the done thing. He used examples from the food industry, the oil industry, education and others where decisions that caused misery could have been avoided if there had been stronger leaders instead of managers, willing to speak up.
He asked us to name the CEOs of the world’s five largest companies. We couldn’t.
He reminded us that feelings are more powerful than knowing, talking and thinking and asked us what we would all wish for any new born child.
The answers, universally, are to create unique human beings who show happiness, helpfulness, kindness, creativity, inquisitiveness, inventiveness, resourcefulness and love. And yet their formative years are spent learning facts and they are judged, often for the biggest part of their lives, on how well they remember lessons in maths, history and science and hardly ever on the things we all wish for them to achieve. Worse than that, their dreams are often dashed and they are forced into pigeonholes and punished for displaying behaviour that doesn’t conform to the accepted norms of our educational systems.
And yet there are remarkable examples of people, like Marcus himself, who don’t fit the system and succeed against all the odds. Of the 200,000 iphone apps, many were invented by under 14 year olds and 40% of employees in Google have autism.
Marcus now spends his time at the educational consultancy http://www.bryanstonsquare.com/ bringing his prodigious talents to bear on improving education and helping to build an environment that gives children a chance to make their dreams come true.
The reaction from many members of the audience was that Marcus caused them to re-think their definitions of success and question their own assumptions
He left us with this thought: “If it has never been done before, there are no experts” with the subtext “So dare to dream and give it a shot!”
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