An Outside idea: It’s never too late to find success
It’s never too late to find success. At the age of 65, Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame was was living off of $105 a month in social security checks, and had contemplated suicide. It’s fair to say that he’d had a tough life. His dad died when he was 7, he dropped out of school at 13 and by 17 he’d been fired from a handful of jobs.
He was married and divorced by 22 and lost contact with his daughter at the same time. In fact, by the time he was 40, the story goes that he’d been knocked down A LOT, with a plethora of failures under his belt.
Sanders was a passionate cook and particularly loved fried chicken. In his 40’s he found his first success when he started selling fried chicken. People loved his chicken and came from all over for it. Sanders hit on his first real break and soon had the money to buy a shop of his own and an adjoining motel. Shortly after he purchased the motel, both businesses burned down.
Knowing he was on to something, he quickly rebuilt, only to be stopped in his tracks by the onset of World War II.
Time after time he tried, and each time he lost the lot. Was he too late to find success?
After the War, now at what some would consider the ripe old age of 65. Sanders was quite dissatisfied with the direction his life had taken, he had no money in the bank, no business and some would have argued, no prospects. But he always believed in himself.
He knew he was a great cook; his patrons had always told him so. Short on cash, he borrowed money and left Kentucky with the idea of selling his recipe door to door.
He had a hard time, and ended up visiting over 1,000 restaurants before he received his first meaningful yes.
And then the floodgates opened. By the time that Colonel Sanders was 88, he was a billionaire and the 6000th KFC had recently opened.
There are a couple of interesting morals to Colonel Sanders’ story. The first is really the story of perseverance. No matter what life throws at you, if you have a dream, there’s always a way.
The ancient Japanese proverb “Nana korobi, ya oki” means “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” We all have the ability to choose to never give up hope, and to always strive for more. Keep your focus not on the reality in front of you, but on a vision for the future.
The second is that it’s never too late to find success. Our culture often champions young entrepreneurs with dreams (30 under 30 for example) but the reality is that most business owners don’t even start their business until their mid 40’s, and most don’t find success until much later on in life.
Wherever you’re at right now, as long as you keep holding on to your dream, you have the potential to change the world.