Today we’d like to introduce you to Prakash Rao.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
After many years in software development, management and consulting, I am now working with middle-school and high-school children to unlock their learning potential and unleash the genius hidden inside. Many students struggle to learn not for lack of intelligence or hard work but because they don’t have a consistent, repeatable process for acquiring and applying knowledge. I was one such student in the mid 1970’s. My mother, a teacher, noticed that I went from the top of the class in elementary school to actually failing a couple of subjects in 6th grade. She investigated and found that I was not being taught in a manner suitable to my natural learning ability. I became a guinea pig in her experiment to build a special learning system for me. The experiment worked, I moved to the top of the class, graduated high school with cum laude, and finished my honors engineering program summa cum laude. My mother got her Ph.D. based on this work and also won an international award for her teaching methodology. When she visited me in 2005, I asked her to help my children learn. The result: My older son graduated with triple major (physics, computer science and mechanical engineering), and my younger son graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA! I wanted to help my mother set this up as a source of income but her health deteriorated and she died in 2017. I launched Turbo Learner in 2018 to celebrate her achievements.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
While I was excelling in all subjects in elementary school, I had a high degree of confidence in my abilities. When I struggled to learn in sixth grade, the first casualty of that war was my high degree of confidence. Even after my mother identified the problem and created the personal learning system to boost my learning, I always doubted that I was smart enough to learn new things. It took me many years and a series of successes before I got my confidence back.
In hindsight, if, along with the learning system, someone had coached me in self-confidence or positive attitude, I would have transformed earlier and achieved more in my life. Today, I take on every challenge with a “Can Do” attitude. When we think that we can do something or when we think that we can’t do something, either way we are right. These are self-fulfilling prophecies. Yes, ability is important, but confidence and attitude make a big difference.
As Lady Macbeth said (Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Act I Scene vii):
Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valor
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would.”
For my part, I dare, and therefore, I would. I will.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
I take middle school and high school students who:
1. want to do well at school but are struggling to do so
2. put in a lot of effort but don’t get corresponding results
3. really want to learn but can’t get past the obstacles (including procrastination)
and transform them into turbo-charged learners.
Every child is unique. Every child has a unique brain, thinks differently, and, therefore, learns differently. However, students are not taught differently. Also, teachers are taught to teach but students are not taught to learn. This mismatch is what causes children to struggle to learn. It has nothing to do with their intelligence or the amount of effort they are putting in.
I take each student one at-a-time, identify that student’s learning factors, identify learning techniques that suit those learning factors, and assemble a personalized learning system with said techniques. I then train the student in how to the process to get better grades. This whole process takes 8 weeks.
Whom do I compare against or compete with? My competition is the whole “supplemental education” industry including subject tutors, learning centers such as Kumon and Mathenesium, coaches and counsellors. However, most of them have a “one size fits all” approach. They address either the immediate need (tutors) or focus on honing skills by repetition (Kumon).
I work with children one-on-one. For me, one size fits one. I address the fundamentals of learning and build a framework for long-term learning. I bring about transformation.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
First, it is not a sin to fail initially. I have read that F-A-I-L can be an acronym for First Attempt In Learning. We learn from failures and move on. It does not matter how often we fall off the horse. It is important to get back on and try again. Colonel Sanders failed 1011 times before he sold his recipe and created Kentucky Fried Chicken. Thomas Edison failed almost 10000 times before he created the lightbulb.
Second, success begets success. Instead of trying to achieve the whole goal all at once, set sights on all the intermediary steps and achieve success by building on success.
Third, it does not matter what others think. It only matters what you and a select few think. It is your life. No one has any right to judge you. Be proud of your achievements, hold your head high and be the master of your destiny.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
To me, to succeed is to have a lofty goal and achieve as much as possible, but it is the satisfaction that matters. I have seen many who have huge mansions and net worth in millions but not happy with what they had. To such people, success is elusive because of the way they have defined it.
I have dabbled in several things. I have published 4 books. I have created and closed companies. I have been honored in my community for my service and as a visionary. I now have a legacy that I can look back at during the sunset of my life and be satisfied with what I have made of my life. There is still a long way to go, but I am satisfied with what I have wrought with my life.
What’s next for you?
As I mentioned earlier, I launched Turbo Learner in 2018 as a way to celebrate my mother’s achievements. It is still the world’s best kept secret. Many children still struggle to learn today. I want to reach out to as many middle school and high school students as possible and help them become turbo charged learners. I want to unlock their learning potential and see them blossom from the budding geniuses they are. This is possible with three steps:
1. To spread my message far and wide
2. To teach others how I do what I do so as to scale my offering
3. To certify others who are willing to create personalized learning processes for children and to build a franchise and community around these skills.
This is my vision. This is what I hope to achieve in the next three to five years.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
People can read about what I do at my website, www.turbolearner.com.
They can also reach me:
1. By email, firstname.lastname@example.org
2. By phone (text message first – I don’t pick up the phone when I don’t recognize the number), +1 908 294 2195. This is the best way to get my attention.
I live in Scotch Plains, NJ, but haven’t received visitors since the pandemic started, and get too much mail already to give my address.