10 People Who Proved You Are Never Too Late To Be Successful

It is easy to buy into the idea that achieving success will happen quickly if we put in a lot of effort for a short period of time.

Technology today has proven that it’s possible, and that age or experience is not a pre-requisite for achieving extraordinary success. A few examples of people how have achieved tremendous success relatively early in life include:

  • Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook.
  • Dustin Moskovitz, the co-founder of Asana, a project management software for business.
  • Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, the co-founders of Airbnb, which lists people’s homes or apartments for rental stays.

There are many other names that could be added to this list, however one important thing to recognise is that such extraordinary success is the exception, not the norm. For the majority of people, success often comes with age, life experience and a greater level of self-awareness.


There are countless examples of people who have faced major obstacles and challenges in life, and overcame them through sheer perseverance and grit. These people did not have any special skills or talents, but they had the work ethic and discipline to do what was required to continually move towards the outcomes they wanted.

Here are ten people whose achievements late in life proved that we should never give up on our dreams, and if we stay persistent, we’ll greatly increase our chances of achieving the success we want.

  1. Henry Ford. It was while he worked as an engineer for Thomas Edison, Ford became obsessed with improving the automobile, which at that time, was a new invention. Ford was 40 years old when he founded the Ford Motor Company and introduced the Model T automobile in his mid-forties.
  2. Ray Kroc. A travelling salesman for a company that made milkshake makers, Kroc was in his early 50s when he met the McDonald brothers and proposed to expand their restaurant across the United States by franchising it for them. Today, history remembers Ray Kroc more than the McDonald brothers.
  3. Sam Walton. Although Walton had run several stores, he experienced many failures but learned valuable lessons from those failures. That led him to opening Wal-Mart in his mid 40s, and the success of the Wal-Mart stores made Sam Walton one of the richest men in the world. Even to this day, the Walton family are still amongst the richest families in the world.
  4. Harland Sanders. The “Colonel” was reportedly struggling to make ends meet, trying to sell his secret fried chicken recipe to restaurants. It wasn’t until he was in his mid 60s that he finally got a break, which resulted in the Kentucky Fried Chicken brand or KFC as it is known today, become a global franchise.
  5. Ronald Reagan. While he had been a famous actor, he didn’t start his political career until well into his forties. Reagan was elected to public office in his fifties, and went onto to become President of the United States of America.
  6. Abraham Lincoln. Even though he had a political career in his 30s, Lincoln went back to practicing law at aged 40. Lincoln was a member of the Republican Party for seven years and was elected President of the United States at aged 51.
  7. Stan Lee. He created his first real hit comic title, The Fantastic Four, just before his 40th birthday. He then went onto to create other famous characters like Spiderman and X-Men, which went onto become global icons.
  8. Reid Hoffman. While the start up of most technology and networking companies are credited to youngsters, Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn back in 2002. When the company went public, he was in his 40s.
  9. Alan Rickman. He did not get his big break until well into his 40s, when he landed the role of the villain, Hans Gruber, in the movie, Die Hard.
  10. Morgan Freeman. Although he was a well-respected actor for many years, Freeman’s real big break came in the movie, Driving Miss Daisy. He was in his 50s when he got the part for that film.

The idea that someone can become an overnight success is a false idea. What we often fail to see is the hours, days, weeks, months and years of effort, toil and hard work that was behind their achievements.

If you have a dream and that dream is important to you, then you should never give up on your dream. Keep taking action towards your dream and it will eventually become a reality.

Action Step: Reflect on the times you may have given up or abandoned a dream simply because it was taking longer than you expected to achieve success. What are you now willing to do to recommit to your dreams?

Question: Who is someone else that achieved success later in life?

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