Sep 11, 2019
Rich Karlgaard is the publisher
of Forbes magazine and author of Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World
Obsessed with Early Achievement, along with four acclaimed previous books.
Rich talks about his own experience as a late bloomer, why our
society is so focused on early achievement, and the misconceptions
of early success when it comes to neuroscience. He also discusses
the harm of agism, and how those who haven’t bloomed fully can
arrive at the intersection of using their native gifts, deepest
passions, and abiding purpose.
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[3:50] Rich describes his
acceptance at Stanford as a fluke. After graduation, he worked as a
security guard and dishwasher while his peers were getting great
jobs and starting successful companies. He was honest and upfront
with his workplace that he wanted to blossom but wasn’t sure why he
hadn’t yet, and they gave him a shot to be the Technical Editor and
Writer at the Nuclear Power Division. He took the job seriously and
became seriously interested in nuclear
[7:43] We are impatient for
success, and have created a school system that puts pressure to get
into elite colleges. The competition also starts at a much earlier
age, leaving teens and young adults feeling overwhelmed and
[9:18] When our educational
system is just a “conveyer belt to early success”, it leaves us
with unnecessary baggage and takes the focus off realizing our
[13:12] Our cognition peaks
depends on the ability. While speed and memory may hit their stride
in the teens and 20’s, our 30’s open up a range of abilities such
as leadership, executive skills, entrepreneurialism and compassion.
In the 40’s and beyond, we gain higher functions of wisdom to
mentor and coach.
[15:35] Lean into the person
that you are becoming, not the person you were.
[18:00] The Silicon Valley Myth
may have us thinking that innovation only happens in the early to
young achievers in their mid 20’s, but there is a larger picture of
many successful late bloomers.
[21:38] It is useful to have a
greater faith that convinces you that you are here for a reason.
This assures you of self worth and separates you from self
[23:44] Great leaders know when
persevering is the most courageous thing to do, but also is open to
know when quitting and focusing time and energy on something else
is the best move.
[29:01] Rich believes the
greatest blooming happens because of a willingness to be brave and
discover what we are good at and follow our
[32:17] A lot of successful
leaders talk about their time in school, and how we can redefine
education for people that learn in different ways.
[34:07] Three ways Rich suggests
we can take the pressure off early achievement:
kids later in traditional school work, and focus more on fun and
healthy play before the age of 7.
- Advocate for skill trade programs. They teach
tangible skills, typically pay well and can even be a very
attractive background for someone pursuing higher
years can help encourage travel and learning about new
- Mandatory military or civilian service gives a
sense of purpose, belonging, and duty to something bigger than
[37:38] Agism is a tragic loss
of human talent, however responsibility goes both ways. It is up to
organizations to provide more opportunities, including mentorship
and coaching, and up to the applicants to network and see where
they can add value.
[47:16] Rich’s challenge: move
forward with self doubt. Find peer groups who you can talk about
your plans, dreams and worries.
literally felt my brain developing and opening up at age 26 and
need to learn how to quit when we can reallocate our time, treasure
and purpose towards something better.”
- “Lean into the person that you are becoming, not the
person you were.”
Lee Kuan Yew
The Electric Power Research
The Silicon Valley