3 Surprising Benefits of Being a Late Bloomer, According to Harvard

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May 27, 2024 at 3:39AM UTC

While our society may put a lot of stock into 30 under 30 lists and child prodigies, Kevin Evers wrote in the Harvard Business Review about the art of being a late bloomer. There are benefits to setting and achieving life-altering career goals later in life, he says, and there are plenty of world-renown professionals who did so (think: Aristotle, Mozart and Oprah). 

While one can read his article for the tips and tricks to revolutionizing your life as a late bloomer, read up on our summary of what makes being a later-life dreamer a huge advantage: 

1. Early specialization is harmful to creativity.

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves from a young age to be "successful" — to take the right classes and ace the right tests to land a lucrative career. Abiding by that rigid path requires us to give up the more winding road to self-discovery and building an adaptable, creative mind. And according to  journalist David Epstein, author of Range, such strict specialization isn't even helpful in most roles. 
"Unless your job requires repetitive, routine tasks, being a specialist isn’t an asset," Evers says of Epstein's argument. "Having a wide range of skills and experiences is more beneficial because it allows you to be nimble and creative."
People who decide to take a more winding route to success or to reinvent success later in their lives are more likely to have the characteristics of a generalist, which is helpful in so many career paths — especially those that value inventiveness. 

2. Age brings unique skills that can only be developed with experience.

Harvard says it plainly: Age brings skills that can't be substituted. These skills can contribute greatly to the achievement of dreams and goals later in life that might not have been possible when you were younger. 
"Age typically brings wisdom, resilience, humility, self-knowledge and creativity," Evers writes. "This is one reason the average age of founders of high-growth start ups is 45."

3. You're more likely to develop a fulfilling, motivating career if you know who you are. 

Motivation is often the secret ingredient to career success. If you put your heart and mind to something, you're more likely to get stellar results. Evers argues that it's never too late to become yourself and find fulfilling work. In fact, the self-knowledge that comes with age can aid you in finding your definition of true fulfillment and living it out. He quotes Rich Karlgaard, author of Late Bloomers, to suggest post-40 is actually the best time to take on new ambitions, saying: "ages 40 to 64 constitute a unique period where one’s creativity and experience combine with a universal human longing to make our lives matter."

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