In honor of International Day of Older Persons, we wanted to spend some time debunking a destructive misconception.
It's all too easy to get discouraged when you see whiz kids like Mark Zuckerberg start and grow multi-billion dollar companies in their dorms. And the media loves to sell the stories of 'overnight success' painted in modern-day hues of mystique and mythology.
And while these individuals are certainly remarkable, there's a danger to becoming enamored with these prodigies: too many people give up on their dreams because they think they're too old.
But comparison is the thief of joy, and the derail-er of delayed gratification. And the truth is, the best gratification is almost always delayed. So your own mind can talk you out of your best work, the work you were meant to do, simply by telling you that you've had a few too many candles sitting on top of your cake lately. And let's face it, that's not sound logic.
So how old is 'too old' to actually do something remarkable with your life? Well, based on this limited data set, it's 96. And that's not to say someone hasn't already set a new record so we've written this!
"It's never too late to be who you might have been." -George Eliot
A List of Late Bloomers
Harland Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders, was 62 when he founded Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1952. He sold the franchise business for $2 million 12 years later.
Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses, began her prolific painting career at 78. In 2006, one of her paintings sold for $1.2 million.
Julia Child wrote her first cookbook at 50, launching her career as a celebrity chef in 1961.
Henry Ford was 45 when he created the revolutionary Model T car in 1908.
Harry Bernstein authored countless rejects before getting his first book published, and achieving fame at the ripe old age of 96, for his 2007 memoir, "The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers."
Rodney Dangerfield is remembered as a legendary comedian, but he didn't catch a break until he made a hit appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" at age 46.
Most people know Ray Kroc as the legendary McDonald's “founder.” But what they don’t know is that Ray didn’t purchase the burger and shake franchise until he was 52. He would then go on to work through his 50s to grow McDonald’s into the world’s largest fast-food franchise.
One of the show business' most beloved stars, Morgan Freeman loved acting since he was a child. But when he graduated high school, he chose to join Air Force to become a fighter pilot. The actor eventually left Air Force to establish himself as an actor, but it took him a while to do so. He was 50 years old when he landed his first big break in a movie Street Smart.
It's Time to Get Things Started
So if a guy like Harland can go from attempted suicide to the world's most life-changing chicken recipe at 66 years of age, there's literally nothing you can't do. It's time to throw away artificial boundaries of timing and "success". You don't have to be a prepubescent prodigy to do something that matters.
And you can't necessarily control when you'll see success, any more than you can control when a crop will pop up. But what you can control is the daily actions you'll take to make that happen. And that's pretty magical. So get started. Plant the seeds today that will crop up tomorrow. That's all that matters.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” -Chinese Proverb