Philanthropist, investing guru, Kinko’s founder and serial entrepreneur Paul Orfalea struggled through his school years because of conditions we now recognize as Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Paul credits these “disabilities” as the blessings that allowed him to see the world differently from his peers.
“Because I couldn’t read, I learned from direct experience. Experience is a harsh teacher, because the test comes first, followed by the lesson. But lacking the ability to learn by reading, I embraced every chance to participate in life. I started businesses, like my vegetable stand. I skipped school to watch my father’s stockbroker at work. I learned early that I would only get through school with a lot of help from a lot of people. This dependence taught me how to ask for help, and how to provide what help I could. I learned to appreciate people’s strengths and forgive their weaknesses, as I hoped they would forgive mine. This was important when I hired my first coworker at Kinko’s. How important were people skills when 25,000 coworkers ran Kinko’s?”
Today Paul remains active in a number of businesses, including his work on the Investment Committee of West Coast Asset Management. He also shares the benefit of his business and life experience through his writings, speeches, and college courses. Through his family's philanthropic efforts and public speaking on early care and education, intergenerational programs and learning differences, Paul strives to improve resources for the next generation of leaders and educators.
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