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If you’ve listened to previous episodes of this podcast you will know that so many of the wonderful entrepreneurs we have had on the show so far, have expressed their concern and disbelief in the current education system. So I really wanted to seek out people who were addressing this problem head on and trying to do something about it for our future generations – and our guest on the show today – Graham Moore – is doing just that.

Graham is Founder & Director of Human Utopia, who create and run inspirational life changing courses for young people and adults.

Human Utopia have worked with, and directly affected the lives of over 200,000 people (I say 100,000 on the podcast intro but Graham rightfully corrected me!). His business is having such an impact on the education system around the country, that Graham was recently invited by the British Government, to visit 10 Downing Street and spend one-on-one time with (ex) Prime Minister David Cameron.  

You will discover Graham’s amazing story from troubled drug torn teenager to nationally recognised entrepreneur – and see how he is disrupting the entire education system.

Not only is this fascinating, intriguing and at times certainly controversial – but the techniques and tactics that Graham uses to stir emotion and behaviour change within students, can be directly applied to the way you manage your teams and the way you build your business.

So much of insight in this fascinating episode, we discuss:

  • How to develop relationships of trust and respect, not of authority
  • Facing your  fears and dealing with risk
  • How to overcome your own entrepreneurial weaknesses
  • And how to build a million pound business on little more than passion and raw belief

This was recorded over Skype and there are a few internet crackles and pops here and there but nothing that distracts from the intriguing conversation. Hope you enjoy!

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  • When I was a teenager, it was far easier to get credibility doing the wrong thing rather than the right thing
  • My PE lessons weren’t about who could jump furtherest, who could jump furthest and who could swim fastest – they were about can each individual do better than they did last time
  • Develop a strength of trust and a base of respect; not a base of authority.
  • Everything I did was about putting relationships at the core of the lesson
  • I developed a reputation for being quite a maverick, someone who could go in to schools and shake things up, and challenge teachers to take more risks
  • The national curriculum restricts what teachers can do in schools and what young people learn
  • Very few teachers now, will take the risk of running lessons that specifically and deliberately develop life skills and qualities
  • Emotion and be expressed as ‘energy + motion’
  • You will get unconditional respect from us, regardless and in spite of how you treat us
  • Once you’ve got people relaxed, and you speak to them on a level then you can get them to run through brick walls for you
  • The corporate world spend millions of pounds developing better communication methods, better cultures within their organisation; but in education it’s almost a dirty word
  • The golden buddha was hidden with layers of clay for many years before the wise monks realised their was gold underneath
  • The education system defines and shapes young people’s perceptions that you’ve got to be getting good grades in order to be smart
  • 70% of people prefer to learn kinesthetically (by doing), 20% prefer visual, and only 10% prefer auditory (by listening) – but all our exams are based on kids listening, and then memorising and regurgitating facts. It’s archaic! It’s the stuff of Shakespeare.
  • Sitting a young person down for five hours a day and talking at them, is not how most people want to learn
  • Human beings are not born to sit still for 5 hours and listen for 5 hours
  • We fundamentally believe that schools could and should be doing things differently
  • I’m not blaming teachers or head teachers – it’s the system and the Government’s dictation of that system that stops teachers and head teachers making brave moves
  • We believe in human beings, we believe in what human beings are capable of
  • For the first four or five months we didn’t get paid a penny. We just fundamentally believed that one day it would reward us
  • One word Max, belief. Core belief.
  • That was really the scariest time you can ever imagine in business. However, at no point did we ever lose belief in what we did
  • We’ve had to learn how to be chief, cook and bottle washer
  • I’ve gone from being this all conquering leader with all the answers, to stepping back and saying “you know what, my people have got much better ideas than I have, let them run with it”
  • We would have gone bust a long time ago had I been in charge of money
  • I’m driven by making a difference not making a profit
  • An absolute conviction and commitment to belief in people is probably my biggest strength
  • In the last decade, the greatest habit I’ve adopted is one of gratitude
  • I get up in the morning and I have a routine in the shower where I just say thank you for everything in my life
  • Gratitude inspires me, because I want to go out and experience more of it
  • With meditation; I’m not trying to be blissful, I’m not trying to be enlightened – I’m just trying to remember how lucky I am to be who I am and have got what I’ve got
  • Really really never underestimate young people
  • Age is not something that should be a barrier to creativity or intelligence
  • What this education system does is really undermine and patronise young people
  • We are pushing back boundaries we are creating new paradigms. We’re being creative, innovative, inspirational
  • Not only do we make a difference but we make a profit, and with that profit we make another difference [We give 51% of our profit to The Hero Foundation a charity we created]
  • We sell the kids a lie, it’s a big a lie as Father Christmas. Because these young people are not being told that they’re in control of their future.
  • The social skills kids learn in school are not social skills, they’re anti-social skills
  • I maintain, grades will only get you an interview they will not get you a job
Links & People

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Time Stamped Notes
  • 00:04:07 – Overview of Graham’s journey
  • 00:07:02 – Getting involved with drugs and crime when young
  • 00:08:35 – Values instilled when Graham was young
  • 00:12:30 – Getting into teaching for the first time
  • 00:14:39 – Graham’s unique teaching style (incidentally – this is equally applicable to teaching students as it is managing teams)
  • 00:17:15 – Mosstom Spectrum of teaching Styles
  • 00:22:26 – About Human Utopia
  • 00:24:50 – The way Human Utopia stir such emotion and get such profound results from their courses
  • 00:27:31 – The theory of [behaviour] change
  • 00:33:28 – The story of The Golden Buddha
  • 00:35:08 – The ways humans learn (that contradict the methods in schools)
  • 00:38:55 – The way Graham got Human Utopia off the ground
  • 00:41:58 – On personal risk
  • 00:42:24 – Helping the most disruptive kid in the north turn her life around
  • 00:46:06 – Belief. The power of belief.
  • 00:48:48 – The vision for Human Utopia
  • 00:50:19 – Biggest challenges (managing people)
  • 00:53:02 – Success Secrets
  • 00:55:06 – On meditation
  • 00:56:19 – The greatest piece of advice Graham ever received (“Most of these kids are gonna turn out much smarter than you are”)
  • 01:00:12 – What is the one generally agreed upon rule or conventional piece of wisdom that you disagree with
  • 01:02:28 – The Rebel Wrap Up Round
  • 01:07:40 – The decision to home educate his children

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The Rebel Wrap Up Round

If you could go back to any point in your life, and have 1 hour with your past self; what moment would it be and what would you tell yourself?

01:02:41 I’d go back to the point when there was a huge argument in my house, I was eight years old. My mum stormed out, my dad stormed out and I was left in the house alone crying for hours. I remember the loneliness, the solitude, the fear that went with that moment. I would go back to that point and tell my 8 year old self that it was all part of a learning curve that would make me stronger, wiser, nicer person – and not to worry about the loneliness in that moment. I’d pat myself on the head and say, don’t worry everything’s going to work out fine.  

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received, who gave it to you and how has it positively affected your career?

01:03:40 A guy called Steve Potter who’s now a retired teacher, said to me: “Most of these kids are gonna turn out much smarter than you are”

Who is the most disruptive, rebellious or revolutionary entrepreneur of the last 2 years?

01:06:05 Sir Ken Robinson. He’s wonderfully articulate, he’s wonderfully diplomatic, but he is a rebel, and he is causing major challenges for the government.  Because the government want education done in a certain way, and Ken is just laughing in their face, and saying NO, this is the exact opposite to what we need.

Also, KSI (https://www.youtube.com/user/KSIOlajidebt?gl=GB&hl=en-GB). He’s proved to young people that from the comfort of your own bedroom you can make an incredible career and many many many pounds, beyond what you can ever believe – without any qualifications. We as adult have to sit back and realise that the world has changed, and young people have figured out that they don’t need £30k student loan hanging over them for 10 years, and can make their own unique careers.

What is the one generally agreed upon rule, or conventional piece of wisdom that you disagree with?  

01:07:43 Nothing makes me more angry and disillusioned and rebellious than when I hear ‘school days are the best days of your life’. They’re not. For most teenages these days school is an ordeal. I’ve listened to hundreds of thousands of young people’s voices, and many of them cannot wait to leave school, they do not like school as an experience, it’s harrowing for many young people. I read an article recently that likened school to prison – because prison is a place you have to go to involuntarily, and it restricts your freedom. The best years of my life have been when I’ve been in control of my own destiny, when I’ve been driving my own car.

If you could change one law what would it be?

01:16:44 That compulsory education is no longer compulsory, and that young people and [parents are empowered to take responsibility of their own education, and to find alternative methods so they don’t have to go to school.

What’s your definition of entrepreneurship?

01:17:26 Someone who has a vision, has an idea, and goes out and makes that happen. That doesn’t mean just in business, it could be any shape or form. It takes a vision and a desire to make money on your own rather than relying on somebody else. There’ a little line in the law that says “In a school, or otherwise”, and it’s that little line ‘or otherwise’ that empowered me to take my children out of school and home educate them.

What advice would you give to anyone listening to this who wants start a company, and be in a position like yourself?

01:20:48 Ignore people like me, ignore advice. Listen to your heart, if there’s a yearning in their don’t be dissuaded by any doubters or haters that tell you it’s not going to happen; because if you believe in something and are driven by it then it will happen. Ignore advice. Ignore people who tell you to do things differently. Learn to discern between people who are genuinely motivated by what you’re doing, and people who are actually secretly envious or fearful of what you’re doing.    

Who do you nominate to be a guest on the RebelHead Entrepreneurs podcast?

01:21:30 Ryan Macnair https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmCu6NMwDc4 &

Sir Ken Robinson http://sirkenrobinson.com/

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