There are several reasons and examples of late bloomers to encourage us to persist in life; and not to give up. Although there is the tendency to rule out the examples of Abraham, Moses and others, who were blessed with new life in their later years, as unrealistic in the current generation, they are good examples of late bloomers.
There are also many modern day late bloomers to keep hope aglow in the present generation. Late blooming adults are people who do not discover their talents and abilities until later than normally expected, sometimes well into retirement years.
Although it is generally believed that intellectual development peaks in young adults and then slowly declines with increasing age, and that the ability to form new memories and concepts may indeed diminish, older people have the advantage of accumulated knowledge, associations between concepts, and mental techniques that may give them an advantage in some fields.
More importantly, many people are known to have been blessed by the God, in defiance of age, in His own time, called the due season. And these are not examples from the Holy books!
Among them is the classic example of Colonel Harlan David Sanders, which we will look at in the first of our three-part series. Next will be the natural and supernatural reasons why people bloom in later years; and indeed, why you should not give up or jump into the lagoon to end your life. For example, God is known to take time to develop people through painful lessons for special assignments He has for them. Your current travails may be an example of that, so why do you want to give up now?
Colonel Sanders: He founded the Kentucky Fried Chicken company at 65, and went on to become a multimillionaire. It all started when Sanders opened a service station in Corbin, Kentucky, and cooked dishes such as country ham and steaks. He served customers from his adjacent home. As his popularity in the region grew, the business moved to a restaurant where he developed his ‘secret recipe’ for fried chicken.
Today, there are many outlets of the company in Nigeria and if you patronize any, you have eaten the amazing success story of the Colonel. He had been cooking for most of his life but the business concept, a brand new one, only came to him in his sixties.
As a young man, he worked in a variety of jobs that had nothing to do with cooking–farmer, steamboat pilot, and insurance salesman. When he hit forty, he opened a service station and starting selling chicken dinners to his customers–developing his pressure frying method over a number of years.
Eventually, he opened a popular restaurant. But soon, an Interstate road, which diverted traffic away from his location, was constructed, throwing him out of business. He could have given up, but that turned out to be the divine touch in his success. If the road had not been constructed, he might have remained a local legend (local champion) only. He eventually had to sell the Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe after being rejected 1009 times to earn him the success story we all learn from today.
He had failed at every job he tried earlier on in his life – lawyer, salesman, etc. Records show that the Colonel was already married at the young age of 19 to his wife Josephine, had 3 children, then had frequent affairs and the marriage ended in divorce. He didn’t have the best of lives growing up.
Colonel Sanders’ Success Lessons
Expectedly, experts have drawn key success lessons from the Colonel’s remarkable story for you to end the year with if you are feeling like giving up. DON’T GIVE UP! Your Creator, who had the purpose of your life written before you were born, will be disappointed. Here are some of the lessons.
The God factor: This part is often left out in the narrative about the Colonel, but it is a very key in the story. If an Interstate road had not been constructed, he would have been contended with his “popular local restaurant,” and might have remained a local champion.
The collapse of the business because of the diversion of traffic from his “popular restaurant” made him sell his recipe and today Kentucky Fried Chicken is sold in over 105 countries. In Britain alone, 114 million KFC hot wings are sold each year – that’s 3.6 every second.
The misfortune counted for good in the end, just like in the case of Joseph where a butler he had helped and expected to recommend him the Pharaoh forgot all about it. But indeed, if he did, Joseph might have been released before the Pharaoh had the difficult dream, in which case he would have headed to his village to meet his father; and not appointed a Prime Minister.
While it may be argued that the Colonel didn’t formally covert into Christianity until 1967, there are many examples to suggest that sometimes God’s plans for individuals He has His eyes on are somehow activated before their full conversion.
According to reports the Colonel became close to God. He is reported to have said:
“My prayers have always been of thankfulness. God has been so good to me. I’ve been a great believer in tithing.
“The Bible says you owe 10%. I believe, even if you are a crook, you still owe 10% per cent to the Lord. Tithing is a great inspiration in my life.”
Just before his death at the age of 90 in 1980, he added: “I always figured there is no use being the richest man in the cemetery. You cannot operate from there. People don’t know that I gave most of my money away. Most of it goes to churches.”
Age is Just a Number
You are as old as you think. You are never too old to start a business. You can start a business any time. You can start a business even if you’re a high school student, you can start a business even if you’re in your sixties. Age has got nothing to do with the success of your business. Colonel Sanders started KFC in 1952 at the age of 65.
He was 75 years old before he finally sold Kentucky Fried Chicken for $2 million. (Over $15 million today), and he remained as the spokesmen for the company after the sale.
At that age the majority of people, at least 95% give up way earlier in life. People stop thinking they can be successful even in their 30’s! And yet, the Colonel didn’t think this way, and ended up being the founder and face of a billion dollar brand. So before you start to think that you can’t achieve your dreams, because you’re 30, 40, 50 years old… stop. You’re never too old to achieve success in life.
Failure happens to all of us. In fact, if you never fail, that’s most likely because you never tried. Failure is inevitable on the way to success.
Since failure is inevitable, what matters is how you respond to it. If you respond correctly, failure can’t stop you.
That’s what happened in the story of Colonel Sanders.
He once had a successful restaurant. Life seemed good for him. But then something unexpected happened: authorities moved the highway junction in front of his restaurant to another site. As a result, the number of visitors to his restaurant plummeted. He eventually had to sell his restaurant. Worse, he was already 66 years old at that time. Many people might lose hope in such a situation—but not Sanders. He didn’t lament his bad fortune. He didn’t blame someone else for the situation. Instead, he thought about what he could do to overcome the difficulties. He was resilient.
Make the most of what you have.
While being in a bad situation, many people focus on what they don’t have. They complain about not having this or that. But that’s not the way to go. What you should do is look at what you do have. That’s what Col. Sanders did. After the failure of his restaurant, he didn’t have much—but he did have one thing: his fried-chicken recipe. So he decided to make the most of it. He decided to sell his fried-chicken to restaurants.
That’s what winners do: they make the most of what they have to turn a situation around.
It’s not easy to sell fried-chicken the way Col. Sanders did. He must have experienced many rejections. But that didn’t stop him. He kept moving forward. He was persistent.
Giving up is the Only Sure Way to Fail
You can fail at a lot of things in life, but the KFC story proves that giving up is the only sure way to fail. If you’re some like the Colonel, no matter how many times you fail, the possibility of success is still always on the table.
You’re not a failure until you finally stop trying.
Hard Work Always Pays Off
Colonel Sanders had a tough life; he did hundreds of odd jobs before founding KFC in 1952. He worked in various professions but quit the jobs in due time. But he never let himself to be decided by fate instead he kept on working.
The Colonel’s conversion and a miracle that saved his life
According to reports, Dr Bob Rodgers, whose father, Waymon Rodgers, was the Colonel’s pastor, has written a book about the legendary fried chicken entrepreneur – and reveals some startling information about the man.
He tells how his father baptised the multi-millionaire in the River Jordan in 1967, shortly after he had turned to Christianity.
Rodgers writes: “My dad knelt down beside him and asked, ‘Colonel, would you like to get born again?’
The old Colonel, with tears in his eyes, said, ‘I really would. Do you think that Jesus could save me to the point where he would take away my cussing?’
“Dad then said, ‘Colonel, God is going to save you tonight and you’ll never cuss again.’ That night the Colonel genuinely received Christ into his heart. He was truly born again. He became a new creation in Jesus Christ. From that time on he never used the Lord’s name in vain.”
A few days after his conversion experience, the Colonel donated more than £15,000 to Pastor Rodgers’ church in Louisville, Kentucky – a major sum at the time.
The Colonel told the pastor: “Since I prayed the sinner’s prayer, things have completely changed in my life. I have not cussed even one time since then. It has really made a difference with me.
“I am getting ready to come into a large sum of money. I want to give the church the tithe.”
Dr Rodgers’ book also reveals how the Colonel experienced a supernatural healing when scheduled to have an operation on his colon to remove a growth. He was awaiting surgery in hospital when his pastor came to pray for him.
A day later, Sanders wrote: “I don’t need surgery. My pastor came in and prayed for me and God healed me.
“The doctor said, ‘Colonel, when I opened you up there weren’t any polyps.”
The KFC founder continued to give generously to the church for years to come.