Easton LaChappelle’s story offers a reminder of the simplest key to success–if you want something badly enough, do the work and find creative ways to achieve your desired outcome.
If traditional systems aren’t providing what you need to accomplish your mission, then break away–break away from your 9-5 job, break away from the agenda that’s set by conventional mind-sets. Easton broke away from the limitations of the public education system and taught himself what he wanted to know.
For LaChappelle, this meant learning how to build a better prosthetic arm.
“I tested a need in the market with a Kickstarter campaign. The need was there, so now I’m working to fill it. That’s my mission,” LaChappelle tells Fast Company. “The educational system has boundaries, and you don’t have to work within the boundaries of systems. You can do things to achieve your own outcomes–that’s what I’m doing.”
LaChappelle’s mission is to reinvent conventional prostheses. After meeting a young girl with a prosthetic arm and realizing that her parents had to pay $80,000 for it, he knew something had to change. So LaChappelle focused the desire he’s always had to take things apart and put them back together again in a new way.
Living in a small town in Colorado, LaChappelle has had to self-teach himself everything–electronics, coding, how to use a 3-D printer, the list goes on. “This year’s graduating class had 23 people. The nearest RadioShack is an hour away,” LaChappelle says. But lack of access and the learning curve hasn’t stopped him. Neither has the fact that’s he’s 17 and has little money to buy products. LaChappelle conducts all of his work in his bedroom. “Just the other day, I heated acetone in a mason jar in my room to make the 3-D-printed hands look more human,” he admitted to an audience of thousands in his recent TEDx talk.