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in: Money & Career, Podcast

December 30, 2019 Last updated: January 14, 2020

Podcast #572: The Unexpected Upsides of Being a Late Bloomer

There’s an unspoken timeline that people supposedly need to follow to have a successful life: be a good student in high school, get into a good college, and then get a good job right after you graduate. 

But you’ve probably met successful people whose lives didn’t follow this kind of linear arc and neat timeline, and maybe yours didn’t either. Their young adult years weren’t very auspicious, and they didn’t come into their own and find their bearings until after college, or even much later. My guest today explores the upsides of this kind of trajectory in his book: Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement. His name is Rich Karlgaard and we begin our conversation discussing how he defines a late bloomer and a few examples of some famous late bloomers in history. We then dig into how late bloomers got a bad rap and how society became increasingly obsessed with finding success at a young age. Rich then walks us through the disadvantages of being an early bloomer and the advantages of being a late bloomer, including resilience, self-awareness, and a healthy, motivating sense of self-doubt. 

Show Highlights

  • Why there hasn’t been much research on late bloomers (as opposed to early prodigies) 
  • What defines a late bloomer? Is it based on an age? Is it based on expectations?
  • When did being a late bloomer become a negative in American culture? Where did our obsession with youthful success come from?
  • The downsides of specializing early in life 
  • Why academic success isn’t all it’s cracked up to be 
  • Do your mental faculties decline in your 30s and 40s?
  • What the makeup of your brain has to do with how quickly you mature 
  • Is every late bloomer brain different?
  • The strengths and real benefits of being a late bloomer
  • Why do late bloomers have greater curiosity? Why is curiosity so important to one’s career?
  • Why late bloomers tend to be more resilient
  • How a healthy amount of self-doubt can be a good thing
  • The power of changing your environment 

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Late blooms book cover rich karlgaard

Connect With Rich

Rich’s website

Rich on Twitter

Rich on LinkedIn

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