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Carl Barton motivates with powerful life story

“In 2004 my friend, who I was in an internationally known band with, passed away suddenly. I walked away leaving the royalties to his family. I ended up giving a guest lecture at a uni, and a 6 month contract turned into 15 years. Now, I’ve helped the better part of over a thousand students get their degrees.” – Carl Barton

On April 26th, motivational speaker Carl Barton came to Digbeth campus, to share his experiences and learning with our students.

Carl’s wealth is in his life story. You say it, Carl’s lived it. How did a troubled kid, from a Stoke council estate, go from having no GCSEs to a Master’s degree, and from being homeless and anorexic to paying all his debt off?

Carl tells his tale with great energy, with many funny and heart-warming anecdotes. He talks about the importance of enthusiasm, knowledge, friends and good coping techniques for resilience. It’s real, humble and surprisingly positive – exactly the social learning that our students respond to.

“Life can only be understood backwards but unfortunately it has to be lived forwards.” Soren Kierkegaard

Young Carl went from teenage community service to sudden riches at 16, signing to Radio 1 as a scratch DJ, before losing it all just 3 years later from a tax issue, leaving him homeless and crippled with anxiety and anorexia. A librarian helped him start studying, ultimately leading to his Master’s. Without information, he didn’t have the options to make good decisions. Carl says of his workshops:

“What I specialise in is students who aren’t feeling that confident about what they were going to do or their options. This is all about showing some of the mistakes I’ve made along the way, and I’ve made those mistakes so the students don’t have to.” 

Carl’s lessons are practical for all of us. When coping with failure, you can reframe to see how that section is only one part of your whole life. When saving money, treat yourself as your own bank. How you visualise a certain set of images can say a lot about how easily persuaded you are as a person.

“It’s always nice at South & City College Birmingham, very friendly crowd and staff. Always lovely to work with as a team. I’ve been coming for 2 or 3 years now so it’s always pleasure to come back, feels like home.”

From South & City College Birmingham – thanks Carl, for being a consistent inspiring voice at our college and giving this year’s Digbeth students plenty to chew over. You can see more of Carl at EarnLearn.