Advertising
Advertising

10 30-Somethings Who Prove It’s Never Too Late To Succeed

10 30-Somethings Who Prove It’s Never Too Late To Succeed

In a society that is constantly forcing the clock upon us, it’s pretty easy to get to a certain age and think, “I’m never going to one of those successful people.” If you’ve thought that, or fear thinking that, don’t stress it.

Here’s 10 examples of people who, at the age of 30 or older, turned their life around into incredible success.

1. J. D. Salinger

Salinger, an American writer, was 32 when he first captivated the literary scene with The Catcher in the Rye.

He was a writer all throughout his life, but World War 2 interrupted his career. He was drafted into the army shortly after having his first piece published in the New York Times. It wasn’t until the war was over and Salinger was safely back home that his talent was finally recognized.

2. Stan Lee

Stan Lee, the face of comic books, was considering giving up the creation of comic books while in his early 30’s. As a writer for Atlas Comics, in the early 1950’s, he was dissatisfied and unfulfilled in his duties there. He had hopes of being a more prominent literary figure, and didn’t feel that comic books were going to get him there.

Luckily for Lee, and every comic book fan out there, he didn’t give up. Following the revival of the superhero archetype by DC Comics, Lee was tasked with coming up with a new superhero team for a future comic. After some urging from his wife, due to his desire to leave, Lee began to experiment with more realistic story approaches in his comic books.

After much collaboration, Lee, age 38 then, and Jack Kirby ended up producing the Fantastic Four. One of the first superhero teams of its kind, with each character possessing human flaws and issues, such as girlfriend trouble and anger problems. It immediately became a success, catapulting Stan Lee to become unforgettable in the comic book industry.

Advertising

Not bad for a guy in his late 30’s who was considering giving it up completely.

3. Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman, whom you probably know best as Severus Snape from the Harry Potter films, wasn’t in his first movie until 46. While he wasn’t necessarily unsuccessful, he definitely proves that you can drop everything and start anew and continue your success.

At 26, after leaving a successful graphic art company that he founded with friends, he was accepted to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. After studying there for 2 years, he found himself in numerous plays. It took another 18 years for him to finally end up on the movie screen.

His perseverance and passion definitely paid off.

4. Samuel L Jackson

Samuel L Jackson. It’s a name you undoubtedly know. Likely for his role in Pulp Fiction, which actually happened to be the role that propelled him into what could be called ‘real stardom.’

What many don’t know is that Jackson was actually a drug addict, and had only left rehab 3 years prior to his role in Pulp Fiction. It would’ve been very easy for Jackson to leave rehab and simply assume that his dream of being a film star was over.

Luckily for everyone, Jackson didn’t up. At the age of 46, he started his life anew, found success and achieved his dreams.

Advertising

5. Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle was a name unheard of by almost everyone. While she’s still not exactly a superstar name now, she is at the very least a celebrity in Britain.

At the age of 47, Susan Boyle stepped out onto the stage of Britain’s Got Talent, a TV show similar to The X Factor. Much to everyone’s surprise, what came next was a truly astounding singing performance. You can watch it here.

Now she’s doing duets with some of the most famous singers on the planet. Not bad for someone who’s nearing the age of 50.

6. Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin, a name known by just about anyone that’s had to study high school biology. The father of evolution. Initially rejected by the scientific community, and told he would not amount to anything. He even wrote in his autobiography, “I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect.”

It was not until age 50, following a voyage on the HMS Beagle, that he published On the Origin of Species. Despite constant criticism and rejection of earlier works on the topic, he didn’t give up. He then presented On the Origin of Species with very compelling evidence. This was later accepted by science as the building blocks to understanding how humanity came to be.

7. Sir Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill, known for being the British Prime Minister. His face was a symbol of hope, courage and inspiration throughout World War II.

What people often don’t know is that he actually first came to office at the ripe age of 62. Most people would be thinking that retirement is all they’ve got left to look forward to at that age, but Churchill proves it wrong by leading a county to victory during a time of intense hardship.

Advertising

Prior to this, Churchill had indeed been a leader of the Conservative party, the Minister of Defense, leader of the Opposition, and many other roles. Even so, could he have gone on to Prime Minister had he given up? Definitely not!

8. Colonel Sanders

Harland Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders, is the iconic face of KFC. Having gone from dead-end job to dead-end job for most of his life, which included insurance salesman and gas station attendant, it wasn’t until 62 that his famous restaurant chain began.

He was selling chicken from his roadside restaurant, during the Great Depression, when opportunity for franchising it arose. After getting attention from acclaimed food critics, which ended in very good publicity, Sanders established the first KFC franchise with Pete Harman in 1952.

It wasn’t until 3 years later, when Sanders was 65, that he began to travel around the US looking for suitable restaurants to bring into the KFC family. As they say, the rest is history.

9. A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

This is a name unknown to many, but his movement is timeless. Prabhupada is the figure, or Guru, behind the movement known as the “Hare Krishna movement.” Which you may have come across if you were ever into The Beatles, or Harrison specifically.

Prabhupada didn’t live a life as a loser. He was in fact a very talented man, devout in his teachings and worship. Though, with that said, it was not until he was 70 (Yes, 70!) years old that his movement gained popularity. Following interactions with The Beatles and other well-known celebrities.

It just goes to show the changes you can make, even when you’re long past the retirement age.

Advertising

10. Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh sold one painting in his lifetime. Let that sink in: one of the most well-known artists on the planet, with artwork that has sold for over 100 million dollars, sold only one painting in his lifetime.

Despite his immense talent, it went unrecognized. He did work for an art dealer, Groupil & Cie, though nothing really came of it. After becoming bitter, seeing that art was treated solely as a commodity to those buying it, he left in pursuit of better things.

He went on to work as a school supply teacher, and various other odd jobs, leaving them to pursue his dream of becoming a Minister’s assistant. Then, after failing numerous entrance exams, despite studying under some of the best known names in Theology at the time, he eventually abandoned that too.

Many other events, like his cousin refusing to give him her hand in marriage, led to despair in his life. He eventually took up much smoking and drinking, all while studying under various artists, until the despair became overwhelming. He is said to have shot himself, and later died due to an untreated infection of the wound.

If only he could see the impact his artwork has had on this earth now. Here is a man that success found after he had died: if this doesn’t prove that you can be successful, it’s likely nothing will.

So don’t lose hope! Whether you’re 15 or 50, you have time to make a difference. All you have to do is set a purpose, work towards it and persevere. You can join the ranks of the successful people!

Featured photo credit: Alan Rickman via alanrickman.info

More by this author

19 Websites That Will Make You Smarter in Every Way 13 Things to Remember If You Love A Person With Anxiety 10 Tips For Making New Year’s Resolutions Come True 11 Easy Ways To Boost Your Confidence Learn to Say No To These 5 Things To Be A Lot Closer To Success

Trending in Productivity

1 5 Key Traits of a Charismatic Leadership 2 How to Overcome Your Resistance to Change for a Better Self 3 How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong 4 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life 5 How to Delegate Tasks Effectively (Step-By-Step Guide)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 2, 2019

How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

Sometimes, our goals wear us down and leave us feeling exhausted. Other times, our goals get difficult, and success seems impossible, so we lose hope, become discouraged, and want to quit.

At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

Want to know the good news?

No matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

All you need to do is learn to develop a positive mindset, focus on your why, and utilize the people around you for support.

1. Develop a Positive Mindset

If you’re going to increase your mental toughness, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

Absolutely!

But how can we learn to spot those 45,600 negative thoughts and get rid of them? How can we empty our metaphorical backpack?

Advertising

Well, it gets a whole lot easier if you know what you’re looking for. Some of the most prominent types of negative thoughts are self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, and dwelling.

Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

“I’m not smart enough to…”

“I don’t have enough experience to…”

“I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively. We’re effectively working against ourselves.

If you want to keep your mind strong on your path to success, you have to overcome the self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back by realizing one key truth: self-limiting beliefs are thoughts, not facts.

When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

  • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
  • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
  • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was totally good or totally awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

But this isn’t true!

If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often and it will help you celebrate your smaller wins.

When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

Ditch the Dwelling

Self-Limiting Beliefs and All-or-Nothing Thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

Every day, bad things happen to each of us, and while there’s nothing we can do to prevent that, we can control how we react to these situations.

When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

Advertising

But that doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

Easier said than done, right? Try these:

  1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
  2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
  3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
  4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

Be Patient about the Process

No matter which negative thoughts tend to run around your mind, working to replace them with positive thoughts can take time.

Learning to spot self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, or dwelling is one thing, but learning to quiet those thoughts is another thing entirely.

If at first you don’t succeed, don’t fret. Instead, take a deep breath and try again. As you work towards improving your mindfulness and your mental toughness, remember that you’re going to get better with time.

To make things a little easier, it helps to connect with your purpose.

2. Connect with Your Purpose

One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong ‘why’ for everything you want to do.

If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a ‘why’ for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution and things weren’t going well, maybe you even wanted to quit. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower. Maybe you told yourself that you didn’t have enough discipline.

Here’s the truth: you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

“Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a ‘why’ for. This is when we tend to look for external motivation or question our willpower, but those aren’t the issues.

Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

Find Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers.

Advertising

Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

But if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that ‘why’ is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things. Once you’ve found a strong why for all of your goals, you’ll find that you’ll have significantly more energy to pursue your more difficult challenges.

3. Find Strength in Unity

The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone. It’s a fact, anyone who’s ever achieved success in anything didn’t do so alone.

Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were there offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

If you want to stay strong in your endeavors, you need to build a team of supporters who will step in and back you up when it counts.

Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success.

A good mentor will help you discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

Recruit Some Cheerleaders

If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

Even if you have a strong ‘why’ and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. And when they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs or your all-or-nothing attitude.

Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

Form an Accountability Group

Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong ‘why’ for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

Advertising

Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

Even if your goals aren’t the same, accountability partners are great for giving us the push we need when we need it most.

Regardless of which relationships you choose, sometimes we have to be able to work through things on our own. Mentors, cheerleaders, and accountability partners are a great way for us to combat our naturally negative mindsets, but occasionally we have to be able to pick ourselves back up.

4. Learn to Pick Yourself Back Up After Setbacks

Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

We all struggle. We all fail. It’s what we decide to do after we fail that truly counts.

When you find yourself in a low spot, ask yourself these questions:

  • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
  • “Are negative thoughts such as Self-Limiting Beliefs or All-or-Nothing Thinking distorting my view?”
  • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
  • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
  • “Is this goal still important to me? Do I still have a ‘why’?”
  • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or cheer me on? Who can help hold me accountable?”

Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged. When we feel discouraged, we start feeling weak, maybe even a little hopeless.

Also, this article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

Tying it All Together

Are you still with me? I know I’ve thrown a lot at you, from developing a positive mindset and combatting your internal voice to connecting with purpose and building a committee of mentors. It’s a lot to take it!

But here’s the bottom line:

A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize these tendencies and taking action to correct them early on. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

More About Mental Strength

Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next