A note to the aspiring late bloomers
Have you found your calling?
We live in a world of ‘use by date’. Or at least it has been deeply embedded in us that early success and fame in life is the core of our existence. You should be able to find your thing, passion or calling by the age of 30! And if your 40th birthday is in the vicinity and you haven’t yet made it, you should activate the panic button. That means the expiry date of your greatest desires and dreams is slowly closing by and there is barely any chance left now. Here I would like to quote Steve Jobs’ classic and historical commencement address to Stanford University’s batch of 2005 . “I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. … If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” Hence if you haven’t found ‘you’ that is undoubtedly ‘you’, it is absolutely normal to feel dissatisfied. It should be the perfect opportunity to work on reaching your potential. So what’s stopping you to begin?
Late bloomers, so what’s stopping you to begin?
Is it the fear of not achieving a level of mastery in your craft if you start late? Or not having the courage to break free from convention? Because convention is not in starting late. Isn’t it? You might have done everything right – good grades in school, college, have a high paying job. But if it still doesn’t feel right, then it is time to rethink and discover that ‘you’. It’s never late. Aristotle, for instance, didn’t fully devote himself to writing and philosophy until he was nearly 50. American journalist, bestselling author, publisher of Forbes magazine Rich Karlgaard in his book Late Bloomers has argued that our culture’s obsession with early achievement discourages us from following our passions.
Race to ace
Who would devote the time and effort to think and discover when the easy option is right there and you follow the race of acing exams. The easy option is not always bad. On the contrary it could be lucrative and safe but it may not necessarily be personally fulfilling. Would you be brave enough to take the plunge because age is on your side now? Age brings wisdom, resilience, self awareness and a host of other characteristics. Have you ever thought about the reason the average age of founders of high growth starts ups to be 45? Citing the work of developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, Karlgaard writes, the “ages 40 to 64 constitute a unique period where one’s creativity and experience combine with a universal human longing to make our lives matter.
It is ok to be that generalist trying out various things
Sometimes it takes time and it is ok. It is ok to be that generalist trying out various things. Remember JK Rowling’s speech at Harvard University Commencement event? “I still had an old typewriter and a big idea”.
There are many such examples – Colonial Sanders and KFC (He was 65 years old when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken), Kathryn Joosten — An Unemployed Nurse Became an Emmy Award Winning Actress at 56, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – the founder of ISKCON (The founder of the Hare Krishna movement to the western world was 69 years old before he started the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)), Takichiro Mori (Mori was an economics professor until he left academia at age 55 to become a real estate investor in 1959), Paul Siromoni (was awarded PhD at the age of 90!), Fauja Singh (taking up running seriously at 89), Boman Irani (His big break in Hindi films came at 44). My personal favourite is Gradma Moses. Anna Mary Robertson Moses, one of the most renowned names in American fine arts and folk arts, was a late bloomer. Her first canvas came out when she was in her seventies! Her works have been shown and sold in the United States and abroad and have been marketed on various merchandises. Moses’ paintings are among the collections of many museums. The Sugaring Off was sold for US$1.2 million in 2006.
It may have taken you longer than you expected it to be. But once you’ve made the decision to embark upon the journey of self fulfilment, ‘your calling’ has begun! One small step every single day will take you closer to the person you think you ought to be.
Give it a go because you never know.