The Folks of Amsterdam

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Peter van Sabben / Growth Tribe

“Don’t fall in love with your first idea.”

Interview Siji Jabbar
Photography Jerome de Lint

You run Europe’s number one teaching company. Yet you are dyslexic. How did that affect you as a child? It shaped my life! I had to repeat a year in primary school, and I remember being in tears about this because the impression I got from my teachers was that I simply wasn’t smart enough. It was also a wake-up call, though, because I realised then that I’d have to work twice as hard as everyone else from then on. I was lucky because my parents showed complete trust in me, and supported my decision to take the academic route even though the school’s advice was not to. It was my first inkling that there might be something wrong with the education system. 

Did you resent having to study harder? A little, but what I remember most is my determination to prove my teachers wrong. And the growing realisation that I actually enjoyed learning. I remember once ordering a book to teach myself to touch-type, and being able to do so after 4 weeks of self-tuition. By the age of 15 I knew that I wanted to become an entrepreneur and I found myself reading a book of entrepreneurial case studies, from cover to cover.

 

 

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