Bad OP result? This is why you shouldn’t care
BEFORE he retires, Gold Coast construction giant Norm Rix wants to build a sky scrapper.
For many the aspiration may seem absurd, especially for an 84-year-old, but for Mr Rix it is as simple as committing to the job.
The businessman, shopping centre owner and former city councillor has spent his life defying expectations and building a large portion of the Gold Coast's landscape. He puts his success down to attitude, not education.
His message for graduates is not to discount yourself - with or without an OP result.
As one of the Gold Coast's most successful men he tells new graduates that the final school result isn't everything, but a passion for what you love is.
After leaving high school at just 13 years old in 1948, he went to work as a bowser boy for a Southport Ford dealer.
"I worked as many hours as I could, pumping petrol, that sort of thing," Mr Rix said.
"I was working there when I first realised I wanted to get into real estate."
Mr Rix said it was the special air of style around the Gold Coast's real estate agents that attracted him to the gig.
"I was impressed when they came in to get their tyres blown up and window screens wiped. "They were the best dressed, had the newest suits and the nicest cars - they seemed pretty successful. I thought, 'that is what I want to be'."
After five years at the fuel station Mr Rix sought out a real estate mentor to give him a chance as a commissions-only salesman.
"Laurie Wall was known as the best real estate agent out there at the time so I went to him for help," he said.
"I didn't really have much, just a deposit on a second-hand Holden and about 400 pounds."
Mr Wall who was known as Mr Millions at the time and took Rix under his wing.
I was very lucky he gave me a chance, he was a very good teacher,"
"I would keep the office open to late at night, so I could speak to everyone who walked past and looked in the window.
"We would drive out and see the house the next day," he said.
At 26 Mr Rix went out on his own.
Building his business slowly he began to dabble in construction with three of his close friends.
"I realised that I was selling a lot of houses but I would have liked to have had my own product," he said.
"We made the deal with my friends if they funded the builds I would do all of the work and it would be a straight split on the profits."
"That's how we began Rix Homes."
He built hundreds of homes, three-storey walk ups and the Ashmore city shopping centre all the while having been elected for council over a course of nine years.
More recently Rix Developments, a company Mr Rix runs with his son Greg, built the $100 million Pimpama City Shopping Centre.
He doesn't look to be stopping any time soon.
"Times have changed and a good education doesn't always mean an OP1. It could mean a good grounding in a business or trade.
"A plasterer or plumber can earn almost a hundred thousand (dollars) a year now.
"The secret to my life was finding the people who are the best at what they do and learning from them."
Mr Rix said a passion for what you do was also helpful.
"I was a natural-born developer and just love developing," he said.
"Not everyone has to be a rocket scientist. What you need to do is find what you want. "Perhaps I would have liked to have been better educated but it has all turned out.
"I hope those struggling to keep up with the grade understand going to school is only a part of your life.
"It just gets you the very start, the secret is not stopping after that."