Meet the New Age late bloomers
Many of us think that the most gifted, intelligent and talented were set on the path to success from childhood. Good genes and intelligence, we think, are evident in how well a child performs in school, how their report card matches up with those of their peers and how many awards and medals they attain.
No doubt, many children whose budding talent is encouraged and cultivated reach full bloom fairly quickly â€” successful athletes and musicians, for instance, manage to make an impact in their respective fields at an early age.
However, while society values those who achieve success early in life, those who have managed to make a name of themselves or have become well known for their life-changing work have not always bloomed so early. It sometimes takes life experience, time and persistence for success to come.
There was little evidence of academic achievement or exceptional talent to suggest that Leon Nacson would become the Managing Director of Hay House Australia and pioneer the self-help movement in Australia. â€œThere was absolutely nothing in my years at school and the decades that followed that would indicate I would ever become an author and publisher,â€ he says.
â€œI did not even pass one English exam during my high-school years. I had dyslexia and I thought I wanted to become an accountant or banker.â€ Today, Hay House Australia boasts bestselling titles as well as titles by the biggest names in the self-help industry, such as Wayne Dyer, John Holland and Doreen Virtue.
While it seems ironic that someone who had dyslexia would one day be running a publishing house, Nacson says it was technology that â€œcame to the rescueâ€. â€œIâ€™m able to dictate everything that Iâ€™m thinking, spellcheck anything Iâ€™m unsure of. I encourage everyone who isnâ€™t good at writing or spelling to record everything they want and get a wordsmith to transcribe it and put the exclamation marks in the right place.â€
Nacson also runs successful events in the area of personal development that are attended by thousands of people.
All too often, what society thinks are limiting factors â€” a not-so-perfect upbringing, harsh life experiences, no proper education or qualifications â€” may turn out to be the very things that enable eventual success.
Louise Hay, author of the bestselling book, You Can Heal Your Life, which remained on the New York Times bestsellers list for 13 consecutive weeks and has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, had an unstable childhood and didnâ€™t even finish high school. When Hay was about five, a neighbour raped her. Ten years later, she dropped out of high school, became pregnant and on her 16th birthday gave up her newborn for adoption.
Hay believes it was her turbulent upbringing and experiences that helped her establish her own personal philosophy and start a publishing empire based on her values and beliefs. â€œI was a high school dropout that never studied anything. Much later in life, I suddenly became fascinated with the idea that to change my thinking I could change my life,â€ says Hay. â€œI started to study and I couldnâ€™t stop. I later self-published my first book in 1976 called Heal Your Body when I was 50.â€
Itâ€™s people such as Hay who really call into question how important a role genes, upbringing and formal education play in creating a successful life. Optimism and passion, in Hayâ€™s case, have been the main ingredients for success. â€œMy life didnâ€™t begin to have meaning until I was in my mid-40s,â€ she says.
â€œInstead of just getting old and giving up, letâ€™s learn to make a contribution to life. I began my publishing company on a very small scale. The first year I made a profit of $42. At 55, I ventured into the world of computers. They scared me, but I took classes and overcame the fear. Now at 85, I still write, lecture and teach. I am constantly reading and studying and my life has really become a treasure chest of experiences.â€
Self-belief, intuition and intention
Nacson attributes his eventual success in starting an unlikely career in publishing to a â€œvery active imaginationâ€ and self-belief. â€œBack in the 80s and early 90s I facilitated events for Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and Stuart Wilde. It was a logical step to go from presenting an event to publishing the work of the presenter,â€ he says.
â€œOnce I got the hang of publishing, I realised I could do this, and I did. I have written seven books that have been translated into six different languages. I believe that anyone can reach a fork in the road when it comes to careers. You can choose to keep going in the direction you started off or you can take another path. I donâ€™t believe opportunity knocks once; opportunity knocks continuously.â€
While opportunity can plant the seeds for success, it often takes our intuition or gut feelings to notice an opportunity when it presents itself. Before Deepak Chopra became a world-renowned leader in mind-body medicine â€” emphasising meditation, yoga, massage and herbal medicine to promote healing and overall wellbeing â€” he was an endocrinologist and a heavy smoker.
It wasnâ€™t until he came across a pamphlet on a meditation class claiming to help with smoking addiction that he felt the urge to discover what it was all about. From there sprang Chopraâ€™s fascination and eventual success with practising and teaching the benefits of meditation.
Real fame came with the publication of his bestselling books Ageless Body, Timeless Mind (1993) and The Seven Laws of Spiritual Success (1995). He then went on to become a successful motivational speaker, with a series of multi-media programs and many more books for healing mind, body and spirit.
Anyone who wants to apply Chopraâ€™s secrets of success should look no further than his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. In it, Chopra stresses how there are timeless universal laws that, once understood and put into practice, will help create success in every area of your life. A sense of wellbeing, good health, fulfilling relationships, energy for life and material abundance, he says, can spring effortlessly if we live in harmony with these natural laws.
Contrary to popular belief, Chopra says success is not purely the result of hard work, exacting plans or driving ambition. Instead, following your intuition and having the intention for your goals to come into fruition without clinging to how it will all unfold are paramount to getting the results you desire. When one door closes, another one is bound to open.
Being open to life
â€œIâ€™ve always believed in pure potentiality and a world of infinite possibilities,â€ says Chopra. â€œBetween point A and point B there is a whole range of possibilities. Let the universe handle the details. Your intentions and desires, when released in the gap, have infinite organising power. Trust that infinite organising power of intention to orchestrate all the details for you.â€
Nacson shares the same philosophy: â€œDonâ€™t worry about where youâ€™re going to end up. Generate the feelings of success and abundance and the universe will conspire with you to ensure that youâ€™re in the right place at the right time so it does happen,â€ he says.
â€œThere are so many documented cases of individuals inheriting a name or talents from their parents, but I believe self-belief is important. Do things your way despite what others may think. You will find there will be people who will be attracted by your own personal take on things and that will create your own following. Desire to inspire others â€” and, of course, a good work ethic â€” is essential.â€
The common link
While there are many paths to success, there is perhaps one factor that is common to the success stories of Hay, Nacson and Chopra: they have created value for others. As Virend and Verusha Singh state in their book, The Inexplicable Laws of Success, â€œTrue prosperity (ie health, wealth, success and happiness) comes from creating value for others. In other words, your prosperity is directly related to your contribution to society as a whole. This may be an interesting way to think about it, but analyse all those with extraordinary wealth and you will notice the extent of their contribution to society.â€
Creating value, it seems, is very much linked to a desire for living a purposeful life. Chopra believes that, once you find what your purpose is, your path, or the unique talent you have to share, and use it to give to others, then there is â€œno way you will not have access to unlimited abundance because that is the real way abundance is achievedâ€.
â€œThis is not temporary abundance,â€ he says, â€œbecause of your unique talent, your way of expressing it, and your service and dedication to your fellow human beings, which you discover through asking the question, â€˜How can I help?â€™ instead of â€˜Whatâ€™s in it for me?â€™â€
And there are plenty of opportunities to get it right. As Virend Singh advises, â€œSuccess is a numbers game; there is a direct relationship between the number of things you try and your probability of ultimately succeeding. Every high-achieving person has thrown off the natural tendency to play it safe and has continually moved forward in the risk zone where there was no guarantee or assurance of success.â€
Putting yourself in that zone can, understandably, create doubt and arouse fear of failure. However, as the old adage goes, â€œIf at first you donâ€™t succeed, try and try again.â€ In light of what these New Age late bloomers have achieved in their adult life, itâ€™s worth confronting the very notion of late blooming to ask: late for what?
Deepak Chopraâ€™s success tips
â€œIntention is your most powerful tool.â€
- Intend for everything to work out as it should, then let go and allow opportunities and openings to come your way. The outcome you are trying so hard to force may not be as good for you as the one that comes naturally.
- Believe in a world of infinite possibilities and let the universe handle all the details. Between point A and point B, there are many ways to achieving your goals.
- Focus on your unique talent and how you can use it to serve others. Expressing your talents to fulfil needs creates unlimited wealth and abundance.
Leon Nacsonâ€™s success tips
â€œDo it your way.â€
- Self-belief is important. Do things your way despite what others may think. You will find there will be people who will be attracted by your own personal take on things and that will create your own following.
- Donâ€™t worry about where youâ€™re going to end up. Generate the feelings of success and abundance and the universe will conspire with you to ensure that youâ€™re in the right place at the right time so that it does happen.
- Develop a good work ethic and let your desire to inspire others, or whatever your desire may be, keep you pursuing your dreams.
Louise Hayâ€™s success tips
â€œYour thoughts create your world.â€
- Choose positive, self-affirming thoughts so they are in line with what you want to create in your life.
- Realise that you are a limitless being. Life is here to support you. You just need to trust the Power within to be there for you.
- It is your natural birthright to go from success to success all your life. If you are not doing that, either you are not in tune with your innate capabilities or you do not believe it can be true for you.
Christine Dominguez is a features and freelance writer based in Sydney with an interest in health, wellness and psychology. She has worked with the leading authors in the mind, body and spirit genre.