27 Jan 2016 12:00 AM

It’s widely known that Richard Branson left school at 16 without any academic qualifications. By his own admission he didn’t fit in and was considered a failure.

In his recent blog, Branson quotes Professor Todd Rose from his book, The End of Average, ‘We need to realise that there is no such thing as an average human being, and stop measuring ourselves according to arbitrary yard sticks with no real basis in human nature.’

Like Branson, I believe there is a huge failing in many school regimes which focus primarily on an ability to conform.  Alongside Branson, JK Rowling, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg failed to fit in and history shows what they have achieved.

To be a game changer, someone who takes a business/sector/way of life to another level requires a person to see beyond the norm.  They must have a vision of what they want to achieve and a burning passion to deliver their vision to an unsuspecting world. It does not really matter what the sector is - new technology, film, music, retail, business services – but recognition, greatness and wealth are the products of Outlier’s vision to execute game changers.

Steve Jobs - another individual who did not fit in - had a vision for what he knew people wanted – before they knew they wanted it.  Take musicians such as Lennon/McCartney and Bowie. Again, none of them fitted into a neat slot but once they were given or took the freedom to develop their musical vision, they changed and still influence what we listen to today.

I have always loved the cinema and am inspired when I see a film that tells a story – I am told that all story lines are based on 7 core scenarios - that takes the medium to another level.  Such a film is the current release ‘The Big Short’. This is a must see for anyone in the finance bushiness.  What makes it so entertaining – it is a comedy - is the skilful and innovative way in which it explains CDO’s and securitisation to a mass audience.  And the Margot Robbie dialogue is great.

In Branson's words ‘if we continue to judge ourselves to fit in, we will never stand out’. We live in a disruptive world. One of Bowie's greatest attributes was his ability to move on from historic conventions and effect change. Success at school should not be measured only by the ability to pass exams. It should be to encourage people to challenge and question the status quo and inspire them to realise their dreams.