We all know what it’s like to be bogged down with the pressures of life. Whether it’s study, exams, work, cooking, eating well or exercising, young people are under pressure to succeed. And sometimes, when all these things seem too much to manage, the looming fear of failure sets in.

You know that feeling when you just want to lay under the covers, switch off your alarm and forget about all your extravagant dreams and aspirations? (I do.)


Next time you’re feeling inadequate, stressed or just plain lazy, you can rest assured that not everyone becomes epically successful when they’re young. In fact, more than a few of the world’s most successful characters didn’t find success until a little bit later. Here are a few of my favourites.

Big_Leaderboard_YR13JobsVan Gogh

Maybe Van Gogh is a bit of an extreme example, since his paintings weren’t fully understood or celebrated until 60 years after his death. Nevertheless, the guy didn’t start painting until he was 27, eventually going on to paint masterpieces like Irises and Starry Night which weren’t exhibited until he was 36.


JK Rowling

Rowling had the idea for the Harry Potter series when she was 25 years old, but it wasn’t until she was 32 that the Philosopher’s Stone was finished and released. She worked for Amnesty International before a few hardships, including the death of her mother and divorce from her first husband. But through Harry Potter, she went from living on state benefits to multi-million-dollar status within five years. Now Rowling’s series is more popular than most religions.


Harrison Ford

Long before Han Solo was pillaging the galaxy with Luke Skywalker and Chewy the wookie, Harrison Ford had all sorts of odd jobs. He worked as boy scout guide, a sports commentator, and a carpenter before getting into acting. A self-described “late bloomer”, Ford’s first movie role was in ‘66 which means he’s now been killing it for 50 years.


Momofuku Ando

It would be wrong to compose a list like this without mentioning the dude who invented instant noodles. Besides creating arguably the best student snack ever, Ando’s life was super interesting. He owned a salt company in Japan and spent two years in gaol for tax evasion, before inventing instant noodles at the tender age of 48. At the time, Japan was crippled by a post-war food shortage, and Ando’s conviction was that, “Peace will come to the world when the people have enough to eat.”


Sylvester Stallone

Probably the funniest example is of Sylvester Stallone, the gym jock and all round tough guy who starred in Rocky, Cliff Hanger and Rambo. Before he made his big break with boxing film Rocky, Stallone shot a cheap softcore erotic film called Party at Kitty and Stud’s. He told Playboy in 1978, “It was either do that movie or rob someone, because I was at the end – at the very end – of my rope.” At the time he was a 24-year-old struggling actor but by 31, Rocky was a smash hit and with all the sequels that would follow, Stallone became a household name.


So there you go, you don’t necessarily have to do it all when you’re young. It might take a few years to realise the full extent of your aspirations, and for some people, it takes an entire lifetime.

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