9 Late Bloomer Success Stories Who Prove It’s Never Too Late to Achieve Your Dreams

Success Despite Age

Kaye Ramos
Sep 18, 2017 · 12 min read

Everyone’s career seems to be flourishing. Everyone seems to be on top of their game. Everyone hustles like crazy.

Yet, you feel stuck.

You work day-by-day, but you don’t get the results you are hoping for. You keep writing the story you think everyone deserves to read, but no one looks at it.

You think you are too old to prosper. Or it’s already late to start.

After all, it seems like everyone already grabbed the opportunities existing. It seems like the universe can’t cater for you anymore.

And the only option you have is to just give up. Go with the flow. Or let life sail on its own.

But wait up!

There are people who want to send some inspiration to you. They are included in the league of Harland Sanders, Stan Lee and among many others.

Their lives are inspiring. And they want to tell you it’s never too late for a dream to prosper.

1. Laura Ingalls Wilder

Growing up, Wilder repeatedly moved from places to places. With a desire to help her family, she decided to become a teacher.

She quit teaching when she got married and helped her husband in the farm. Following the death of their one-month old son, her husband became partially paralyzed.

She was 43 years old when her daughter, Rose, encouraged her to write a memoir about her childhood. Her first attempt on writing her autobiography has been rejected several times.

Determined to succeed, she spent the next several years improving it. The publishers agreed to publish her work in a form of fiction story for young children.

She was 65 years old when “Little House in the Big Woods” was published. She wrote other “Little House” series including the last one that came out at age 76.

Wisdom: Write and Rewrite Your Story ’til You Reach the Ending You Wish.

Wilder’s story is an inspiring example of rising despite difficulties and age. She did not let her age stop the unveiling of her talents.

Her experiences became an added bonus that made her story worthy to share.

You have a story to share. Start writing it now because you never know when the right time knocks on your door. You don’t want to open it only to give an empty hand.

That would mean a wasted opportunity!

Your pains, your triumphs, your victories, your challenges — they are all perfect part of your story. Each part will serve as an inspiration to one or two.

It will not happen if you won’t share it with them. It’s not only through writing. Share it on the area you are gifted with.

2. Harry Bernstein

Harry Bernstein encountered an unbearable loneliness after the death of his wife. This event served as the catalyst to start writing his first published book.

Prior to writing it, he worked for different production companies as a magazine editor and freelance writer until the age of 62.

He started writing the book, The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers, when he was 93. It recounts his childhood experiences including the struggle his family underwent during World War I. The book was published when he was 96.

Wisdom: Hardships and Depression are Meant to Challenge You, Not to Stop You.

What excuses are you telling yourself right now?

Do not let heartaches or failures impede your growth. Remember that they are part of life and they may always come any moment.

Rising above those pain will make you a stronger person.

Whatever situation you have, you can always turn a seemingly curse into a blessing. You can convert a doom into a room of happiness.

You can always choose to make tomorrow better than today. It’s only you who can choose.

3. Gladys Burrill

Gladys Burrill is truly one incredible woman. She had been an aircraft pilot, mountain climber, hiker and a horseback rider. But these things are not what she is known for.

She had her first marathon when she was 86 years old. She became famous after completing the Honolulu Marathon at the age of 92.

Wait, marathon? 92 years old? Yessss!

Though she power-walked and jogged all throughout, she managed to reach the finish line. Even though it took her nine hours and 53 minutes to finish, she is proud of reaching the goal she set.

She is determined to do it, and so she did.

In turn, she was recognized by Guinness World Records and Hawaii House of Representatives for her wonderful story.

Wisdom: Success is One Determination Forward Until You Reach Your Goal.

How determined are you to achieve your goals?

Wherever you are right now, inspire yourself to push forward.

You will reach the finish line if you have a strong determination and positive attitude to make it there.

Sure, it may be a slow progress, but it is still an advancement.

No one finishes a marathon by not moving. No one sees the finish line by being stationary. No one breaks the previous achievement by being lazy.

Step by step, inch by inch, with determination and perseverance, you will eventually see the fruits of your labor.

4. Susan Boyle

“There are enough people in the world who are going to write you off. You don’t need to do that to yourself.”

Susan Boyle participated in some singing events to which others mocked her than judged her ability to sing.

Her mother encouraged her to audition for Britain’s Got Talent. She was hesitant because she believed people were being chosen for their looks.

Through the constant persuasion of her former coach, she took the courage to try as a tribute to her mother. She was 47 years old back then.

When she stepped on stage and asked about her dream, she responded:

“I’m trying to be a professional singer. As successful as Elaine Paige.”

Some parts of the audience started rolling their eyes in disbelief of the kind of ambition she has. Some felt disgusted on her level of confidence.

Despite the crowd’s doubt, Boyle chose to ignore them and went on singing her winning piece “I Dreamed a Dream”. As soon as she hits the first note, all of their doubts turned into awe.

She managed to finish the song receiving a standing ovation from the audience and three YES from judges.

In fact, her first album I Dreamed a Dream at one point became UK’s best-selling debut album of all time.

Wisdom: Self-Doubts and Other’s Doubts Only Become Powerful When You Let Them Be.

People will always doubt your abilities. You may even doubt them yourself. But the power of passion should be stronger enough to kill those doubts.

There may be one or two that believes in you. And if ever no one will, your number one fan is yourself.

When your doubts are pulling you down and are convincing you to give up, slap them with truth — they are just doubts and they can vanish if you choose to.

Step on whatever stage you are willing to go. Whether you make it or not, you already won against your powerful enemy — doubts.

Step a little further and you’ll soon achieve what your heart desires.

5. Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman became a famous actor, but it wasn’t easy as ABC.

He took a degree in arts because he said that drama school wasn’t necessarily the sensible thing to do at 18. That led him to become a graphic designer.

Rickman and other friends opened a graphic design studio. However, the calling of acting is really strong, so he decided to drop the business and pursue acting professionally.

He supported himself by working as a dresser for other actors. He got his acting break when he was cast as one of the leads in the stage version of Les Liaisons Dangereuse. The play was a hit and made a leap on the big screen.

Unfortunately, he was replaced by another actor. He caught the attention of a producer on Bruce Willis’ Die Hard.

His passion and perseverance for acting served him well through various roles given. He is 42 years old when he took the role of Professor Severus Snape of Harry Potter series.

Wisdom: Pursue Your Passion Only If You Let Sacrifice Be Its Partner.

It takes a lot of courage to pursue what your heart really desires. You have to give up security, convenience and even luxury at some point.

You will be criticized heavily. You have to defy the negative forces and criticisms lingering around.

Reflect on it thoroughly. And when you know you are willing to embrace the challenges ahead, face it headstrong.

You may be afraid of the possible outcomes now, but don’t let yourself regret in the future as to why you didn’t try.

If you keep trying, you can achieve what you are aiming for. You get nothing by not trying. Even if it means doing it the hard way, you know you gave yourself the satisfaction to try.

6. Peter Mark Roget

Peter Roget was an accomplished doctor, lecturer, and inventor. Despite his success, he underwent a great deal of depression.

He retired from professional life by the age of 61. To cope up with depression, he started pursuing one of the things he really enjoyed doing — making lists. He devoted his time to creating a catalog of words organized by their meanings.

By age 69, he began the preparation for the publication of his project. Its first printed edition came out at age 73. It was called “Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases”.

He kept working on it until his death at age 90 and later on revised and expanded by his son and grandson.

So next time you use a thesaurus, realize that it’s a result of a passion worth pursuing.

Wisdom: Age Cannot Stop You From Flourishing Unless You Want To.

If you have a magnificent obsession, go for it. Do it for your side hustle. Do it for your spare time.

Whatever it is, if it lights you up, do it. If it empowers you, act on it. If it makes you sane, pursue it.

At the end of all the outside forces right now, you will be happy you started at some point.

Your magnificent obsession will serve you well. Only if you will give it chance to prosper.

7. Kathryn Joosten

Kathryn Joosten had a great career as a nurse but gave it up after getting married. However, they divorced ten years later.

To provide for her sons, she pursued an acting career when she was 42. It was a huge challenge for her as there was nothing in her resume related to acting. She supported her family by hanging wallpaper and painting houses.

She was hired as a street performer in Disney World at age 53. Three years later, she moved to Hollywood and took several guest roles in different television series.

At the age of 60, she became famous for her role as a personal secretary in the show West Wing. She also won her first Emmy Award at the age of 66 for starring in Desperate Housewives.

Wisdom: Achievement is Sweeter When It is a Labor of Love and Passion.

Success stories are not just about glitz and glamour. They consist of series of setbacks and disappointments that the main character had to endure.

You will often stumble in life. You will even be forced to stop.

But stop cannot be part of your routine. Replace it with a pause.

Whatever suffering or pain you have right now, allow yourself to take a pause. Take a moment of grief. Allow yourself to feel the pain. Let yourself be vulnerable.

But remind yourself that the pause has an end too.

You need to get up. You need to wipe your tears to have a clear vision. You need to heal the wounds to get up immediately.

You can’t let the pause be a permanent stop. It is not a period. It is just a comma of your story.

And when you do get up, changes happen. You may have series of pause, but as long as you keep moving, your story will have a better ending.

8. Anna Mary Robertson

Anna Robertson expressed an interest in art since she was young. But she did not pursue it right away for several reasons — marriage and upbringing of children.

She occasionally painted for a hobby, but she didn’t devote time to it until much later.

At age 67, she suffered a great deal of depression at the death of her husband. In order to cope up with the loss, she looked for ways to keep herself busy.

In her seventies, she devoted most of her time to painting. She was completely self-taught. Her subjects were mostly about living the rural and agricultural life.

Her first big break came when an art collector saw some of her works hanging in a local store and bought them all. She was 78 then. Her paintings were shown at the Museum of Modern Arts in New York.

She has later on captivated the interest of a wider audience and became known as “Grandma Moses.” She was referred to as an American primitive artist and received several awards.

She didn’t stop from there though. She started writing her memoir, My Life’s History at the age of 92. She died at the ripe age of 101.

Wisdom: Willingness is the First Step to Improvement.

Whatever natural talent you have inside, it will never be in full bloom without tapping it. It’s like a treasure of gold that was buried in a forgotten place. No one benefits from it.

The talents you have may be the very instruments you can use to inspire people.

You are blessed with talents so you can use them. The same way you are blessed with your body parts.

A car is useless if it’s just parked in a garage. If no one will drive it, it wasted the very function it has.

Your talent is truly useless if you let it park within you forever. There are so many magnificent places it can explore if you handle the steering wheel well. It can drive you to many opportunities you never even expected.

If you let it accelerate and use it wisely, you will reach the wonderful destination you are aiming for.

9. Ray Kroc

Immediately after volunteering during World War I, Ray Kroc spent his career selling paper cups and milk shake machines.

He went to California to meet the restaurant owners who need his milk shake machines. He was amazed by the simplified and smooth production of their process.

Convinced on the efficiency of their process, he joined forces with the owners at the age of 53.He purchased the company at age 59 and developed strict guidelines and procedures.

His dedication to the company led him to transform McDonald’s into the world’s largest franchise before his death.

Though Kroc was not the founder of the fast food idea, he was smart enough to see the future it has. He immediately jumped on that opportunity and worked its way up.

Wisdom: Risk-takers Have the Potential to be Huge Winners

Life consists of taking risks day-by-day. Not taking a risk is a risk itself.

It is a great adventure. You never know where it leads you. It can give you results you are seeking for.

However, you should be wise enough to know which is proper and not. No one achieved a great success and satisfaction in life by not taking a risk.

Practical Challenge:

Take the Courage to Showcase Your Work or Passion.

If you want to be a writer, pitch your story on huge publication here on Medium.

If you want to be a photographer, post your work in a photography group and ask for constructive criticisms.

If you want to be a singer, post a video of you singing.

Whatever it is, be brave to accept feedbacks and welcome rejections. The more rejections you face, the tougher you’ll become.

The key is not stopping despite rejections until you get the results you want.


Life will never be flawless. It will often slap us with humility and failures.

It’s a series of ups and downs. Getting smacks and punches are inevitable.

However, the desire of getting up should be stronger than those jabs.

These role models never lived a flawless life too. But their story of resilience and determination despite age and struggles are enough to inspire us that life is really beautiful to pursue.

God gave us this beautiful life.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to make the story worth living?

Don’t trick yourself it’s already late. Don’t fool around saying you can’t try. Don’t get trapped comparing yourself to your peers.

Your life is your own. Your journey deserves its own pace. Your story has its own rhythm.

You can be the next role model. You can be the artist you wish to be. You can be the version you’ve long been dreaming of.

Only if you do the right actions.

It is not impossible. Just go for it.

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Kaye Ramos

Written by

Sharing things that Matter and Deliver. I aim to inspire you through my writing.


A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning.

Kaye Ramos

Written by

Sharing things that Matter and Deliver. I aim to inspire you through my writing.


A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning.

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