Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook and became a billionaire at age 23. Jennifer Carter Fleiss created Rent the Runway, a multi-million dollar company that’s growing by leaps and bounds, before she was 30 years old. Palmer Luckey founded Oculus VR, creator of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headwear, when he was barely into his twenties. Everywhere you look, the media abounds with tales of young, sprightly entrepreneurs who are hitting it big before they’ve even moved out of their parents’ basements.
Going Back To School At 40
For adult learners, these stories may make it seem like 50 is the new 80, but in reality, you are far more likely to succeed when you have decades of experience and wisdom behind you. At Point University, we know that those years you spent as a parent, worker, entrepreneur, or provider have given you the valuable and necessary tools to become a power player in your industry. Here are just a few examples of success stories who didn’t hit their stride until middle age or later:
1. Henry Ford
Henry Ford spent his early life as a machinist’s apprentice and farm worker. He married at the age of 25, and ran a sawmill before becoming an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company. Required to be on call at all times, he spent his spare time working to build a car. In 1896, when he was 33, he built a ‘Quadricycle’, his first foray into the automotive industry. From then on, he worked hard to constantly improve the four-wheeled vehicle. It took a while to get it right; he didn’t debut the Model T until 1908, at the age of 45. His star only rose as he revolutionized the industry by creating the moving assembly line and using interchangeable parts. He is truly a success story.
2. Colonel Sanders
Harland Sanders’ father passed away when he was 6 years old, and from the age of 10 he worked a variety of occupations to support his younger brother and sister. When he was 40, he was running a service station and fried chicken restaurant for hungry travelers. Although he was successful, when he was 65 years old a newly built highway diverted customers from his building. At that point, he shut down the restaurant and focused on developing a franchise. By the time he was 75, there were more than 600 KFCs in North America, and he sold his interest in the company for two million dollars. His successes will continue to live on for generations to come.
3. Anna Mary Robertson
You’re probably more familiar with Robertson’s nickname, Grandma Moses. She had very little schooling, and worked farms for most of her life. She always loved art, and embroidered and quilted from a young age, but by her mid-seventies, arthritis made these activities too painful. She turned to painting as a creative outlet, and wasn’t ‘discovered’ as a painter until she was almost 80 years old. At age 88, Mademoiselle Magazine named her a “Young Woman of the Year.”
4. Dr. John Stith Pemberton
Dr. Pemberton is responsible for creating that ubiquitous beverage, Coca-Cola. A pharmacist and practitioner of ‘botanic principles,’ he relied on herbal remedies to help the body rid itself of toxins. He was fascinated by medical chemistry, and built laboratories to create ‘materia medica,’ substances used in the composition of medical remedies. However, he didn’t make his most successful product (in both alcoholic and nonalcoholic versions) until he was 55 years old.
6. Nola Ochs
Nola Ochs was born in Kansas in 1911 and spent most of her life on the family farm. When her husband died in 1972, she took college courses at Fort Hays State University, although she had to abandon her education when she was only 30 credit hours shy of a bachelor’s degree. At the age of 95, though, she packed up her family and moved to Fort Hays, where she became the world’s oldest college graduate. Three years later, when she was 98, she earned an M.A. in liberal studies, and is still going strong today. Even at 98, you can be your own success story.
At Point University, we know it’s never too late to take control of your life. We help adult learners of all backgrounds, whether you’re a first-time college student, or you’re planning on going back to school at 40 and want to switch paths completely. Adult students have the wisdom, maturity, and experience to apply the lessons they learn in the classroom to real-life situations. Come to Point University, and create your own over-forty success story.