Throughout history, there have been people who changed the world through their actions. They inspired change and transformed the way that people see each other, how they work together and enabled them to dream bigger. By striving to be the best in their fields, these individuals made their mark on society and the positive effects have resonated across time. Some of these were quite young when they rose to prominence. They are proof that you do not have be qualified by an advanced age to be an effective leader in whichever field you choose. Here are 15 people who greatly contributed to making the world better before they were 30.
Very few women have captured the hearts and minds of the world like Malala did. Malala is a Pakistani girl of the Muslim religion. She rose to prominence through her widespread advocacy for the right to education for Pakistani girls. The Taliban in her country did not allow Muslim girls to go to school and access education. Malala sought to change that and it almost cost her life when she was shot in the face by an opposing extremist. Malala recovered and was nominated for a Nobel Peace prize at the tender age of 16. She inspired the world to view women as equal to men and sensitized us to the situation in Pakistan.
In the 19th century, the name Westinghouse was synonymous with steam engines and railroad travel. George Westinghouse invented the rotary steam engine in 1865. His invention made it possible for trains to travel at high speeds by using steam. He made this invention at the tender age of 19 years old. George also invented a braking mechanism which used compressed air to stop the trains. His technology was applied in over 90, 000 train locomotives by the turn of the 20th century. He can be considered the father of railroad travel.
Princess Diana of Wales
No other royal has shown such humility and willingness to mingle with the common folk, listen and help them. She was a symbol of charity and was aptly named "the people's princess". She rose to prominence at the tender age of 20 when she married Prince Charles. Princess Diana of Wales was an active charity worker and Nobel Peace Prize winner. She led a campaign to ban landmines and her effort led to her winning the award. The Ottawa treaty was signed to ban the use of landmines thanks to her efforts. Sadly, she died in a car crash in 1997. Her legacy of humility and kindness lives on in the hearts and minds of people around the world.
Proudly recognized as the creator of the most famous and successful women's perfume, "Chanel No. 5", Coco is also one of the greatest female fashion designers of all time. She was the daughter of a laundrywoman. As a little girl, Coco also helped her mom to manage a market stall. Over time, Coco began to make hats and then dresses. She then broke out in the world of fashion by upsetting the corseted style of female fashion and creating some iconic, sporty, casual yet classic designs for women. She made her name at the age of 30 when she opened her first boutique in 1913. it was located in Deauville and marked the beginning of a long, illustrious career in the world of fashion. Her iconic designs created the foundation for today's female couture clothing.
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One of the most influential communication devices in modern history is the television. It was designed and later invented by a 14 year old electronics genius named Philo Farnsworth. Growing up in Idaho, USA, Philo drafted sketches of the vacuum tube that later made the television possible. He spent much of his time building it to completion. He is the godfather of television. Our world today is so much better in terms of entertainment and telecommunications due to Philo's invention.
Without this amazing mathematical prodigy, we would never have got the calculator. Blaise Pascal was a frenchman who invented the first mechanical calculator at the age of 19 in the year 1642. He was home schooled by his father, a highly capable tax collector for the French crown. Blaise saw his father making complex calculations all day and decided to build something to help him do it faster. Hence, he created a wooden box with 16 dials that assisted his father to make mathematical calculations. Many inventors had tried this before him and failed. This makes Blaise a major name in the fields of engineering and mathematics.
Currently the founder and chairman of Microsoft, Bill Gates is the richest man in the world. He is worth $81.3 billion. In 1975, he founded the most successful company in technology at the tender age of 24 alongside his friend Paul Allen. The company was named Microsoft and it ballooned in success when Gates negotiated a deal with IBM to supply the operating system for their personal computers (PCs). They ran the MS-DOS operating system which was the predecessor of the milestone product from Microsoft, Windows 95. 90% of all computers and computerized devices around the world currently run a Windows operating system. Today, Bill is considered a captain of industry and an inspiration for all technology students and enthusiasts.
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When you mention social media, the first thought which comes to mind is Facebook. It is the most successful social media platform in the history of Internet socialization and communication. He founded it in 2004 at the age of 20. It is a communication tool which currently has 1.44 billion users. His success with the site was so huge that a movie was made about his rise to fame and fortune. He is currently worth $36 billion dollars and was named the "Times Person of the Year" in 2010. He is the face of the social media revolution and has gifted the world with a platform to use for communication, bonding and borderless interaction.
St. Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc is a symbol of the strength of a woman and an eternal religious inspiration. She was a French military leader in the 15th century. Her distinction is that she was so young at the time of her glory. Joan gained the attention of the royal French court when she was 16 by making an accurate prediction about a military event in the town of Orleans, France. Due to her accuracy, King Charles VII allowed her to go with his armies and drive the English out of France. Joan was the only woman in France serving as an active soldier in battle. Throughout her military career, Joan of Arc was a brave soldier who did not flinch when she was eventually burned at the stake by the English. She was later canonized as a saint in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.
Alexander the Great
No other military leader has ever come close to achieving as much victory as Alexander did at his very young age. The young Macedonian was able to conquer the ancient world by the time he was 22 years old. Born in 356 BC, Alexander was the prince of Macedonia and was taught by Aristotle. He is credited to having conquered all the Greek city states except Sparta. He also conquered the great Persian empire by using his military genius and the legend that he was the son of Zeus, the king of the gods. Alexander's victories number in the hundreds and he never suffered a defeat. Today, he is regarded as the greatest military commander who ever lived.
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Alexander Graham Bell
One of the most effective ways to communicate across long distances is by telephone. This highly helpful device was created by Alexander Graham Bell. He was only 18 years old. He began working on a device which he called the harmonic telegraph at a very young age. On March 10, 1876, he perfected it and made his first phone call. He called his assistant who was in the other room and instructed him to come over. This was the first message ever transmitted through a single wire. The impact of his invention over the centuries has been tremendous. Alexander Graham Bell is the father of modern telecommunications.
Anne is a major historical figure in the story of the Jewish holocaust. She and her family spent two years hidden in the attic of their house during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War. During this period of time, Anne recorded the happenings of their days in her diary. She began writing it at the age of 13 and was captured alongside her family when she was 15 in 1945. She died that year in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Her diary was published after her death. She is credited as having said that despite all the cruelty and suffering, people are essentially good at heart. Thanks to her opinion and her earnest diary, Anne is a figure of innocent optimism amid depressing brutality.
Fondly known as the "King of Pop", Michael Jackson is one of the most successful entertainers to ever grace the big stage. Michael was born in 1958 and had already sung the lead voice in 3 No.1 hit songs by the time he was 12 years old. He made the cover of popular music magazine Rolling Stone at the same age. His album "Thriller" released in 1982 is regarded as the best selling music album of all time. To date, it has sold approximately 110 million copies. Michael made that album at the tender age of 24. He was also the first African American musician to have a music video broadcast on MTV. The list of Michael's achievements before and after his death in 2009 has hundreds of entries. His memory, dance moves, star power and contribution to pop music live on in his legacy.
Born in 1819, Queen Victoria is well known as one of the most successful, yet young queens in the history of the British Monarchy. She ascended to the throne on June, 20th 1837 at the tender age of 18. She went on to become the longest reigning monarch on the British throne. Her rule lasted for 64 years. She is respected for having been very independent and restoring the faith of the British Empire in the royal family. She took up the role of queen after King William IV died of heart failure. During her reign, she led Britain through the Industrial Revolution and also massive expansion of the empire. She is a symbol of strong will and success despite massive doubt.
Her name is synonymous with tennis. Serena Williams is the face of womens' tennis today. She owns the remarkable title of having become one of the youngest professional tennis players in the history of the sport. She turned pro in 1995 at the age of 14. Since then, she has amassed a series of awards that are simply mind-boggling. Serena has won a record-breaking 22 Grand Slam tennis titles. She has also won 3 gold medals and was the second African American woman to ever achieve a Grand Slam title when she won the 1999 US open. Serena is sponsored by Nike and serves as an inspiration to all the women in the world who aspire to be professional athletes.
The Important Take Away
History is full of people who rose above adversity and became symbols of hope, strength, inspiration and power. Some of these people achieved this status at very young ages. The men and women indicated above are some of them. You can look up to them, learn their stories and discover how to make a mark of your own on the world.