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20 People Who Only Achieved Success After Age 40

20 People Who Only Achieved Success After Age 40
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As we look at actors, businessmen, and other geniuses who found success at a young age, we sometimes cannot help but wonder what we have been doing with our life. But not everyone hits their peak in their 20s to 30s. Here are 20 famous people who achieved success after the age of 40, and what they did to get where they became.

1. Samuel Jackson

The famous movie star was 46 when he played his role as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction. Before then, Jackson had struggled with drug addiction for two years until he got his first major role in Jungle Fever in 1991.

2. Martha Stewart

Stewart worked in catering for years, but her role as “America’s housewife” did not materialize until she started writing cookbooks and other pieces on domestic living in her 40s.

3. Ronald Reagan

Reagan obviously had a successful acting career, but he first came onto the political stage when he delivered his famous “A Time for Choosing” speech during the 1964 election at the age of 53. He leveraged his past acting talents to become one of the most respected presidents of the 20th century.

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4. Henry Ford

In his youth, Ford worked as an engineer under Thomas Edison, where he worked on ways to improve the then new automobile. It was not until he was 40 that he founded the Ford Motor company, where he introduced the Model T five years later.

5. Abraham Lincoln

At the age of 40, Lincoln left the House of Representatives and went back to practicing law, his young political career seemingly over. He jumped onto the just-founded Republican Party seven years later, and then was elected President of the United States four years after that.

6. Reid Hoffman

Not every social media website was founded by some young tech genius. Reid Hoffman founded SocialNet.com in 1997, a precursor of sorts to Facebook. But he founded LinkedIn in 2002 at age 35, and then worked for years to make it the professional social networking site. When Hoffman took LinkedIn public 8 years later, he became a billionaire.

7. Lee Ermey

Ermey’s infamous performance as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket was his first major acting role at the age of 43. Ermey was originally supposed to be an advisor, but was cast as Hartman by impressing Stanley Kubrick with his knowledge of life as a Marine.

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8. Ray Kroc

Kroc worked various jobs including a pianist and a travelling salesman for a milkshake maker. Then at the age of 52, he met the McDonalds brothers and proposed that their restaurant could expand across the United States. By the time he died in 1984, McDonald’s had become well, McDonald’s.

9. Richard Adams

While he worked as a British civil servant, Adams told his two daughters a story about a rabbit, who insisted that he write it down. After writing it down two years later, he published Watership Down, which instantly became a children’s literary classic.

10. Jack Cover

Cover worked for NASA and IBM, and eventually used his scientific knowledge to create a weapon which could stop individuals without killing them. Today, police agencies across the world use his Taser to subdue criminals nonviolently.

11. Momofuku Ando

As Japan recovered from the end of World War II, Ando sought a way to provide quick and cheap noodles to his impoverished countrymen. At the age of 48, Ando developed the instant ramen which sustains college students everywhere.

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12. Alan Rickman

Rickman quit a successful graphic design business in his mid-20s to go into acting, but spent years working in theater until he was asked to play the role of Hans Gruber in Die Hard.

13. Sam Walton

Walton ran several stores, and failed many times in the process. But he learned from those failures and used the lessons to open the first Wal-Mart at 44 and become one of the richest men in the world. The store’s philosophy was simple, buy in bulk and sell them cheap. Today his stores sell everything from groceries to electric skateboards, and everything in between.

14. Miguel de Cervantes

Widely credited as the first Western novelist for his work Don Quioxte, Cervantes did not publish his first book until 38 and his most famous work at 58. Before then, he served in the Spanish Navy and struggled for years to find work which could support him as he wrote.

15. Julia Child

The woman who brought French cuisine to American televisions did not eat French food until she was 36, working for the OSS in post-war France. But after being absolutely stunned by French food, she studied the cuisine fanatically until she had enough knowledge to host The French Chef at 51.

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16. “Colonel” Harland Sanders

Sanders worked a variety of odd jobs throughout his life, and watched his first attempt at a fried chicken restaurant fail at the ripe old age of 65. But Sanders used his Social Security checks to begin franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken, which became the success it is today.

17. Tim and Nina Zagat

These two certainly enjoyed success throughout their life as a pair of corporate lawyers. But after making a list of local restaurants they liked or did not like, they expanded the list into a full-time business. Today, the Zagat list covers over 70 cities.

18. Charles Darwin

Darwin went on his famous voyage on the HMS Beagle at just 21, but his work as a naturalist was held back by health issues. It was not until he was 50 that he finally published On the Origin of Species.

19. Peter Mark Roget

Peter Mark Roget had an interest in lists and orderly language throughout his life. When he retired from his scientific and mechanical work in 1840 at the age of 61, he began preparing to work on a book which would organize words by their definitions. The first thesaurus was published in 1852.

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20. “Grandma” Moses

Anna Moses loved to embroider, but when her fingers started to fail at the age of 78, she took up painting. Today, she is remembered as one of America’s great folk artists, who painted scene after scene of American rural life.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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