“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost
Some of the most incredible success stories boasted today in business, science and even pop culture were born from bizarre beginnings. If there is one thing we should learn from the unorthodox processes of our illustrious predecessors, it is this: It’s never too late to start building.
The Definition of Personal Success Varies…
It is commonly held (and scientifically verified) that people have very different processes of learning and development. Regardless of your constructive qualities, the most important thing we can accomplish is to learn how to embrace our personal path and use it to drive our success.
Despite inspiring highlights of unconventional triumphs, some of us will still fall victim from time to time to the generalizations of the masses. Unfortunately, “I’m too old to start a business” or “I would have done it in my twenties” are no longer (and never were) valid excuses. Our society has seen too many rags to riches stories on a professional level for us to sit back, defeated and afraid.
…But There Are Common Parallels
The single unifying factor in these obscure success stories is that all of these entrepreneurial dynamos share very particular attributes. Characteristics that are the foundation for their fount of fame and fortune. The building blocks of success. Adoption of these attributes might very well be the ticket to affluence and prosperity:
We all have to start somewhere, and it’s not always going to be pretty. Oprah Winfrey, media proprietor and television personality extraordinaire, worked as a grocery store clerk and small-time radio host before making her jump into broadcasting. She now has a net worth of more than 3 billion dollars. Plagued by setbacks in her early life, Oprah is now a role model for countless individuals regardless of their ultimate career goals.
Can you imagine if the epic force behind Disney had abandoned his work after being told at his early newspaper job that he was “not creative enough?” Would we still have the revolutionized auto company we see today without the persistence of Henry Ford, who lost the trust of his stockholders, and was forced out of his own company? Likely not. Perseverance is essential in each of these examples. Hardship strikes at all levels of success. Knowing how to get back on your feet makes all the difference.
Dedication truly drives a project. Mark Zuckerberg, who (like the others mentioned) needs no introduction, started his social media empire at the age of 19. However, without the development of technology from IBM, his company—and the Facebook we know today—would never have been possible. Charles Flint, founder of Computing Tabulating Recording Company (CTR), the company that would later become IBM, consolidated four companies to form “Big Blue” when he was 61 years old. Despite the fact that Flint had found success in his earlier years as well, the man continued to let his determination pour into his work, and formed one of the leading technology organizations all over the globe. Though it is true that qualification is important in some respects, sure, but the enthusiasm and gumption put into these accomplishments is what made them possible.
A stroke of genius can come at any time. Though on Forbes’s list of Top 100 CEOs the median age rests around 35, authority figures across a multitude of industries got their start at various ages. For example: McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc started his company at the age of 52. Not only did Kroc create the most prestigious fast food chain in the world, he helped to establish the Ronald McDonald House Charity, an organization devoted to improving the health and well-being of children.
When your creative processes are struggling to produce the golden egg, don’t be afraid to step outside yourself. Cast your nets out into the pool of ever-growing talent and see what you can construct with a business partner. Be original, yes, but don’t forget our first tip. Humility and innovation together can make for incredible accomplishments.
Determination and vigor rule out. Every one of the aforementioned greats has been met with failures, yet they rose from them to reach new heights. Milton Hershey, father of the chocolate powerhouse started with a confectionary business that failed two times.
Find your niche and stick to it. A strong business strategy starts with a concrete goal. Set an objective as your target and never let it out of your sight. If it leads you to farm land in Pennsylvania to start crafting the perfect sweet snack, don’t take it amiss, you might just be on track to creating the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing company.
These are just a few of the thousands of cases that stand testament to embracing your unique path to success. History shows us that our world is abound with different avenues to wealth and happiness, but in order to truly enrich the lives of others, you have to take up your own individual approach and use it to your advantage.
We’ll spare you the “call to adventure” banalities, the “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and simply say this: don’t become a statistic. Don’t let the loose, sweeping statements of the downtrodden and hopeless keep you from finding success. Fight the misconception that it is too late to create something, and forge your own path to prosperity.
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson