Behind The Success of Great People

Author: Nurmauli Panjaitan

All great people out there must have had dark time and difficulty before they could finally achieve success. That difficulty is used as a “stepping stone” for them to rise. Fukuzawa Yukizi, Helen Keller, and Steve Jobs also had their own difficulties in achieving their success. Difficulty to pay for education did not prevent Fukuzawa to denounce education. Blindness and deaf did not prevent Helen to learn. Dropping out of campus did not stop Job’s steps to create innovative work. Behind their success there were some adversities they had gone through, and such experience is essentially inspirational. This essay discusses about these three great figures who inspired the world of education through their fortitude in facing difficulties to achieve success.

The first figure is Fukuzawa Yukizi, a writer, translator, and teacher who founded Keio University. Fukuzawa is a pioneer of Japanese modernization. He spread his enthusiasm through his works in education and rapidly developed education in Japan during the Meiji restoration. He published many books and articles. One of his famous writings in the world of education is Gakumono no Susume, whose opening sentence runs: “Heaven does not create a person with dignity above or below another person”. This article had been translated into various languages, including English and Indonesian. Behind his success, Fukuzawa experienced went through difficulties to get education. His family lived in poverty. His father died when he was 1 year and 6 months old, and his brother also died before he quit school and left him to become the head of the family. He was also harassed because his father belonged to a low-class samurai. Despite such circumstances, it did not stop his thirst for education. he worked as a freelance and sold some of his father’s furniture and books to pay his debts and school fees. We can see his great passion to fight for his education. Until now, even though he had gone, his name is still remembered by the Japanese people, even his face was made into a picture of 10.00 yen.

The second figure is Helen Keller, a writer, political activist and lecturer in America. She won many awards, including the Honorary University Degrees Women’s Hall of Fame, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Lions Humanitarian Award, and two Oscars, although she was blind and deaf. Helen was originally born normally, but at the age of 19 months she contracted the disease until she became blind and deaf. With such condition, she often could not control her emotion and felt frustrated with her condition. When she was seven years old, she got a personal teacher who taught her so that she could read through objects around her by touching them. She memorized 30 words per day. Her teacher’s perseverance helped Helen to keep up learning until she graduated from Radcliffe College with cum laude. Her shortcomings did not stop her from continuously learning to read and write that lead her to success.

The last figure is Steve Jobs, the founder of the famous Apple and Pixar, a company producing well-known animation like Toy Story. He is also the founder of NeXT, a high-tech device company. He achieved his success after conquering some complicated problems. Steve was born from an unwanted pregnancy. When he was a child, his mother felt she could not send him to school. Thus, she decided to look for foster parents to adopt Steve. He managed to attend Reed College in Portland in 1972. But he decided to quit from the campus for he felt that he couldn’t see any value in it. He was impressed only with the calligraphy class until finally he created the first Macintosh computer. Although he had bitter experience in education, it did not stop him from working.

The difficulties faced by Fukuzawa, Helen, and Steve in getting education did not stop them from achieving success. They even inspire everyone. Even when they died, not only their works are remembered but also their inspirational legacy. Every work and effort they have achieved in different ways inspires everyone, and this should also be something that inspires education. Their determination can be used as material for work and study.

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