Age is just a number. Life starts at 40.

Ramesh Dontha
Mar 13 · 10 min read

Who said it’s all downhill after 40? For the following 52 people, life just started after 40. They found stupendous success starting in their 40s.

Some of these people switched their careers entirely and a few of them found success in the areas they have been working on before 40. Either way, 40 is just a number for these people.

The most important traits that are common to these people seem to be: Passion, Curiosity, Perseverance, and Positive Attitude.

It’s never too late to start another career, learn a new trade, or learn from your mistakes to find success in what you have been doing all along. People like Gladys Burrill and Harry Bernstein who found success in their 90s keep inspiring us to remind that age is just a number.

Keep going. Don’t Give Up. Get Inspired by the following 52 people.

Source: Commons.Wikimedia.org

Momofuku Ando came up with instant ramen at age 48 in 1958. What would we do without ramen noodles if not for Momofuku.

Image Source: Commons.Wikimedia.org

Giorgio Armani studied started his own company when he was 41 years old. He studied medicine, enlisted in the Army, and served in the war.

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Lucille Ball got her big break with ‘I Love Lucy’ from CBS Corp. when she was 40 years old. We all know how big a hit ‘I love Lucy’ was.

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Kathy Bates, as psycho fan Anne Wilkes in Misery movie, was 42 when she got her breakout assignment.

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Harry Bernstein achieved fame at age 96 for his 2007 memoir, “The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers.”

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Jeffrey Brotman co-founded wholesale chain Costco with business partner Jim Sinegal when he was 40 years old.

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Gladys Burrill completed the Honolulu Marathon 92 years old. She holds the world record for oldest female to complete a marathon.

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Joseph A. Campbell started his canned goods company at the age of 52. His company actually sold its first soup for which the company is famous for when Campbell was 78 years old.

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Steve Carrell was 43 when he landed his big lead role in the hit TV show ‘The Office’. Prior to that he got his break in the movie ‘Anchorman’ when he was 41.

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Miguel de Cervantes was 58 when he wrote his most famous novel Don Quixote. Of Course, Don Quixote was the second most translated novel right after the Bible.

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Robin Chase co-founded Zipcar at age 42 in 2000 with Antje Danielson. She was an MIT grad but was a stay-at-home mom until she started Zipcar.

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Julia Child, the celebrity chef, wrote her first cookbook when she was 50 in 1961. That first cookbook kicked off her celebrity chef career.

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Suzanne Collins was 46 years old in 2008 when the first of the trilogy, Hunger Games, hit the shelves. The initial success with Hunger Games parachuted the author into the stratosphere of success.

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Jack Cover invented the Taser stun gun in 1970 when he was 50 years old. Of course, that stun gun revolutionized how the Police would handle suspected criminals.

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Simon Cowell was a well known personality in the UK prior to his hot show ‘American Idol’. But he became a worldwide celebrity with the American premiere in 2002 when Simon was 43 years old.

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Rodney Dangerfield’s stardom started at the age of 46 when he made a hit appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”.

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Charles Darwin was 50 in 1859 when his “On the Origin of Species” changed the scientific community forever.

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Christian Dior founded the House of Dior in Paris when he was 41 years old. His success with Dior was delayed until he completed his service in the Army.

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Donald Fisher was 40 when he opened the first Gap store in San Francisco in 1969 with his wife Doris. He had no experience in retail when he started the company.

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Ian Fleming wrote the first James Bond novel when he was 44 years old. Prior to that, he worked for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division.

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Henry Ford was 45 when he created the revolutionary Model T car in 1908.

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Arthur Fry, 43 years old, and his coworker Spencer Silver came up with the idea to use a temporary adhesive on the back of paper in 1974. That was when he was working as product developer at the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (now known as 3M).

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Leo Goodwin, 50 years of age, decided to start his own insurance business GEICO with lower premiums. And the rest is history.

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Gary Heavin opened the first Curves fitness center in 1992 when he was 40. Curves went one to become one of the fastest-growing franchises.

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Samuel L. Jackson landed an award-winning role at age 43 in Spike Lee’s film “Jungle Fever” in 1991. Pulp Fiction followed soon after and he never looked back.

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Ray Kroc spent his career as a milkshake-device salesman before buying McDonald’s at age of 52 in 1954. He then grew it into the world’s largest fast-food franchise.

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Ang Lee was a stay-at home dad until he started directing hit movies such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain in his early 40’s.

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Stan Lee created the legendary Marvel Universe with iconic characters such as Spider-Man and the X-Men which were later made into huge blockbuster movies.

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Nelson Mandela, the South African legend, became the first president of post-apartheid South Africa at the age of 76 in 1994.

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Bernie Marcus and Arthur Black, at the age of 49 years, started Home Depot In April 1978 after being let go from their home improvement jobs. Home Depot is now the largest home improvement chain.

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Taikichiro Mori, with no prior experience in real estate, founded Mori Building Company when he was 51 years old. He went on to become world’s richest man in 1992.

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Toni Morrison, a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner, published her first novel ‘The Bluest Eye’ when she was 40 years old. Her other great works ‘Beloved’, ‘Song of Solomon’ followed later.

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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.

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John Pemberton was a pharmacist until he was 55 years old. He came up with the famous recipe for Coca-Cola in 1886. And the rest is history.

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Regis Philbin began co-hosting Live! With Regis and Kathy Lee in 1988 when he was 57 after many uneventful variety and talk shows.

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Ronald Reagan started his political career at the age of 53 with his famous ‘A Time for Choosing’ speech. His successful acting career prior to this facilitated his political career.

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Ralph Roberts bought a small cable service in Tupelo, Mississippi when he was 43 years old, and grew it into Comcast, the largest cable television network in the United States.

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Peter Mark Roget published the first English-language thesaurus in 1852 when he was 73 years old. He started his work in 1840 at the age of 61.

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Bob Ross started his hit TV program ‘The Joy of Painting’ when he was 41 years old. Unfortunately he died young at the age of 55 years.

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Harland ‘Colonel’ Sanders was 62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1952. He sold his business 12 years later.

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Martha Stewart published her first book ‘Entertaining’ when she was 41 years old. The media mogul worked as a stockbroker prior to this.

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Bram Stoker wrote his most successful novel, Dracula, when he was 50 years old. Even though he wrote novels prior to this, he became famous after Dracula.

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Mother Theresa, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, found the Missionaries of Charity congregation when she was 40 years old. Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize for her charitable efforts at the age of 69.

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J. R. R. Tolkien didn’t publish his first novel, The Hobbit, until he was 45 years old. He completed The Lord of the Rings when he was 56.

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Mark Twain (original name Samuel Clemens), the American literature legend, published ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ when he was 41 years old.

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Sam Walton founded the first Wal-Mart in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962 at age 44. Prior to that, Sam Walton had a fairly successful retail-management career in his 20s and 30s.

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Vera Wang, world’s premier fashion designer, entered the fashion industry at age 40 after stints in figure skating and journalism.

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John Warnock founded Adobe when he was 42 years old. And at 50, Warnock came up with the ubiquitous Portable Document Format, or PDF.

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Betty White joined the cast of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in 1973 at age 51 and went on to become one of the most award-winning comedic actresses in history.

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Laura Ingalls Wilder published the first in the “Little House” books at age 65 in 1932. They soon became children’s literary classics and the basis for the TV show “Little House on the Prairie.”

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Chip Wilson started the Lululemon empire when he was 42 years old. Lululemon went on to reshape the athletic wear industry.

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Tim and Nina Zagat, at the age of 51 years, published their first collection of restaurant reviews under the Zagat name in 1979. Zagat brand went on to become a mark of culinary authority.

It’s never too late to start. If there is anything that these 52 people teach us, it’s that we should have a passion to make an impact and need to be continually curious. So Carpe Diem, Seize the Day!

Thank you for reading.

Mid Life Survival Guide

Publication to share Mid Life experiences, tips and ideas to navigate, and learn life lessons in the process

Ramesh Dontha

Written by

RameshDontha.Com | Podcaster | Liberated Entrepreneur | At the intersection of Business and Technology

Mid Life Survival Guide

Publication to share Mid Life experiences, tips and ideas to navigate, and learn life lessons in the process

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