14 Stories of Late-Blooming Geniuses
There’s no need to rush it.
“The flame that burns Twice as bright burns half as long.” — Lao Tzu.
There are many of us out aiming for greatness, and we are terrified. So many younger people seem to have accomplished so much more already. Then the doubt seeps into our minds: What if we’re just really not good enough?
As such, I wanted to share several stories about patience and persistence, two highly underrated qualities that have guided many to greatness.
- Jay Z didn’t release his first album, Reasonable Doubt, till he was 26.
- Elizabeth Jolley didn’t publish her first book till age 53. She received a whopping 39 rejection letters in one year alone.
- Sylvester Stallone was 30 when Rocky was released.
- Julia Child didn’t discover her love of food until age 32. Her first book wasn’t published until she was 49.
- Colonel Sanders opened the first KFC at 65.
- Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was in her 70s.
- Oprah Winfrey was 29 when she first started hosting a local TV show, AM Chicago.
- Taikichiro Mori quit his job as an economics professor and went into real estate when he was 55. He would go on to become rated as the richest person in the world by Forbes for 2 years.
- Ray Kroc was 52 when he met the McDonald brothers and opened his first franchise. He bought the company when he was 59.
- Mario Puzo wrote The Godfather when he was 45. It was published 4 years later. (“I wished like hell I’d written it better.”)
- Buckminster Fuller was bankrupt and jobless at 32. He first taught at Black Mountain College in 1948 (he would have been either 52 or 53).
- Abraham Lincoln ran for Senate when he was 45 and lost. He ran again at 49 and lost. He became POTUS at 51.
- Vincent Van Gogh didn’t start painting until his late 20s.
- Nelson Mandela was almost 76 when he was elected President of South Africa.
These stories are just the tip of the iceberg.
Remember, just because you think you “didn’t make the most” of your day, it doesn’t mean the dream is over or that you’re unworthy of greatness. Just because you choose to maintain your well-being and not give in to the pervasive “burn the candle at both ends” mentality, doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life of mediocrity.
“Life’s about who make it now, not about who make it the fastest.” — T.I., Drive Slow (Remix)