Q: I am in my late 20s and feel I have wasted a lot of time. Is it too late for me to achieve something worthwhile?

Answered by James Altucher

When I was 27 I had yet to do (or even start) anything or any path that eventually led to future successes. I had not started any companies. I later started over 10. I had not written any published books. I later published 10 and have another 5 this year. I had yet to be asked my opinion on anything important. I had yet to date someone I loved. I had yet to have kids. I had yet to travel to many of the countries I've since traveled to.

Most importantly, I had yet to massively fail. I did that all through my 30s.

Here are other examples of people who found great success not only after the age of 27, but after the age of 45:

Rodney Dangerfield didn’t succeed in comedy until his 40s. One of the funniest guys ever, he was an aluminum siding salesman. And then he had to start his own comedy club, Dangerfields, in order to actually perform as a comedian. He chose himself to succeed! But not until his 40s.

Ray Kroc was a milkshake salesman into his 50s. Then he stumbled onto a clean restaurant that served a good hamburger run by two brothers with the last name McDonald. He bought McDonalds when he was 52.

Henry Miller wrote his first big novel, Tropic of Cancer, at age 40.

Raymond Chandler, the most successful noir novelist of all time, wrote his first novel at age 52. But he was young compared with Frank McCourt, who won the Pulitzer for his first novel, Angela’s Ashes, written when he was 66. And, of course, Julia Child was a young 50 when she wrote her first cookbook.

One of my favorite writers of all time: Stan Lee, created the entire universe for which he is known for: the Marvel Universe, when he was 44, inventing the characters Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, the Avengers, etc.

If you don’t like to kill people but still need a weapon, consider the Taser, invented by Jack Cover when he was 50. He didn’t sell a single one until he was 60.

If you like restaurant reviews you might have read Zagats. Started by Tim Zagat who quit his job as a lawyer in order to create the book of reviews when he was 51.

Harry Bernstein was a total failure when he wrote his best selling memoir, “The Invisible Wall”. His prior 40 (Forty!) novels had been rejected by publishers. When his memoir came out he was 93 years old. A quote from him: “If I had not lived until I was 90, I would not have been able to write this book, God knows what other potentials lurk in other people, if we could only keep them alive well into their 90s.”

Peter Roget was a mediocre doctor who was finally forced to retire in his early 70s. But he became obsessed with words that have similar meanings. Was his “purpose” as a medical practitioner or as a guy who could play with words? Do you know him as a doctor or as the author of Roget’s Thesaurus which he wrote when he was 73.

When I was in college I ate Ramen noodles every day. One time in a grocery store a woman tried to tell me they were the worst thing I could eat. Really? Like worse than eating a brick, for instance? That was when I was 19. Now I’m 45. It didn’t hurt me that much that I ate Ramen noodles for an entire year because it was the only thing I could afford. If something costs 25 cents and has a few slivers of peas in it then its ok by me. Meanwhile, the inventor of Ramen noodles didn’t invent it until he was 48 years old. Thank god for him!

(I would have died of starvation if not for the guy who invented this).

Charles Darwin was a little bit “off” by most standards. He liked to just collect plants and butterflies on remote islands in the Pacific. And then he wrote Origin of Species when he was 50.

To top it all off, Henry Ford was a failure at his first Model T car, invented when he was 45, because he didn’t yet have the productivity efficiencies of the assembly line, which he developed when he was 60.

This is not meant to be inspirational. You might never have your “great” thing that you do. I’m not even saying “it’s the journey that one should love”. Because some journeys are very painful. And nobody says you get special marks in death if you wrote a great novel at the age of 50. Or came up with a great chicken, or a way to stuff lots of people into factories.

I’ve stumbled and fallen and got up and survived enough that I’m sick of goals and purposes and journeys. I want to cut out the middleman. The journey. The desperation and despair that thinking of a “purpose” entails. Fuck purpose. It’s ok to be happy without one. You don’t need to pay with lots of unhappiness to buy happiness.

Meanwhile, Harlan Sanders made such a great chicken that even though he had barely made a dime off of it (that would happen 15 years later), at the tender age of 45 the Governor of Kentucky made Sanders an honorary colonel.

Last week I turned 45 years old. So there’s still hope for me.



James Altucher





著名的美国喜剧演员Rodney Dangerfield(饰演过《辛普森一家》等剧)在40岁之后才在他的喜剧事业上崭露头角。然而,这个世界上最好笑的人,曾经却是一个铝板推销员。在40岁之后,他终于找到了自己的兴趣——喜剧演员,并取得了成功。

麦当劳之父Ray Kroc直到50岁还在当推销卖奶昔。直到1954年他在偶然之中进入了麦当劳,他决定买下这家餐厅。他曾经如此描绘这段往事:“我当时已52岁,有糖尿病、早期关节炎,在早年的推销生涯里摘除了胆囊和大部分的甲状腺,但我始终相信,生命中最好的时光,还在前面。”


“犯罪小说的桂冠诗人”雷蒙德·钱德勒,村上春树的偶像,52岁才写出第一部小说。但他跟普利策奖得主弗兰克·麦考特比起来还是太年轻了,他的获奖作品《安琪拉的灰烬》(Angela’s Ashes)是他66岁的时候写成的。

我非常喜欢的漫画家,“大白他爹”Stan Lee,也是44岁的时候才创作出了如今家喻户晓的“蜘蛛侠”、“神奇四侠”、“复仇者联盟”等形象的。









图片来自Funders and Founders

如果这些还无法打消你的“27岁焦虑”,如果你还在认为自己 too late for something?你该去看看别人都是怎么做的。或许你现在正在焦虑的事情,也正是曾经煎熬过他们的。

1. 给自己设立一个榜样

如果你是Bill Gates、Marissa Mayer甚至是奥巴马的粉丝,你可以在LinkedIn领英上检索他们的名字,阅读他们的简历,了解他们都经历过哪些选择和转变,这里是全球最大的人才库。他们的故事将给你很大启发。为什么不呢?


2. 探索你潜在的职场路径



3. 打开一双发现优秀的眼睛


LinkedIn领英用户尤原庆(Yuanqing You)分享说,“在美国工作时,有一位领导,每次会议的时候那个风度翩翩真是令人发指,说话谈吐优雅到位,举止得体。”


4. 为你的Dream offer早做准备


回到最初的那个问题:如果你已经浑浑噩噩地度过了自己职场的前几年,假如你27岁了,你确实看不到美剧《迷失》的首播;你也不可能参加越南战争;也不可能再次回到青春期或者去上护士学校。27岁开始把一门外语说得跟native speaker一样也有些难度了。


总之,别把年龄当作借口, 你并不是一个浪费了27年的人。而是一个还有数十年人生的人,你该考虑的是如何过好这接下去的几十年。


It's only too late if you decide it is. Get busy living, or get busy dying.


以上中文转载自@LinkedIn中国,英文来自Quora问答:“I am in my late 20s and feel I have wasted a lot of time. Is it too late for me to achieve something worthwhile? - James Altucher's answer


喜欢 已喜欢 ( 3032 ) 读后感 ( 161 ) 分享 扇贝精选
Please login to make a comment.