People say that life becomes really enjoyable when we reach our 40s. According to what I read in Forbes, success is enjoyed from this age and onwards. In a youth obsessed world, I was amazed to discover that the most successful and famous people in USA are much older than I had thought.

It is said that in one’s 40s, our worse errors have already been committed (and that it is improbable that we will go wrong again on the same subjects).That we have already worked enough time in our professions to feel that we know what we are doing. We are also able to differentiate among people and recognize true friends. In summary, we know what we do not want in our lives and have put it aside (I think it was Garcia Marquez who said: “the most important thing I learned to do in my 40s was to say no”). In addition, in our 40s we start to reap rewards of our efforts and have time to enjoy our children if we have them.

Some days ago, while reading Forbes magazine I realized that this “general rule” also applies to celebrities: eight out of ten of the most important celebrities are in their 40s and some are even in their 60s. Success seems to accumulate and become inertial. And that, unless some major upheaval occurs, success is the natural consequence of all previous efforts: something like…”sow and reap the fruits of your labour”. At this point, inertia makes “falling out of success” difficult. None of the celebrities on this list peaked from one day to the other; their present power is based on what they previously did. Madonna’s first record, for example, was heard 24 years ago at the same time that Oprah Winfrey’s first program appeared. The Rolling Stones first record was heard in 1964 and Elton John’s in 1969, a year after Donald Trump graduated from college and started working with his father’s company, “Trump Organization”. We saw Brad Pitt for the first time (on TV) in 1986 and Johnny Depp in 1987 (twenty years ago!). And it is interesting that this list comes from the US, a country totally obsessed with youth which, by the way, is the only country to frequently produce global “successfuls”, whether we like it or not.


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Jiddane on August 7, 2007  · 

Yeah, but these guys have been successful for years. Now they are the most successful, but their success started a long time ago. Think about it. The ones in their 30s earned success in their 20s, and the older ones like Oprah, Howard Stern (I was listening to Stern in the early 80s), Madonna, Spielberg, Letterman, etc, they earned their fame 20 years ago. The Stones 40 years ago!

In other words, the 20 most successful people in the US, all became successful in their 20s or 30s. That’s seems pretty young to me.

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Simon on August 8, 2007  · 

Jiddane >
But they weren’t even near the 20 most powerfull celebrities.

They have been in the business(some of them) for so long, and are so popular that they can relax a bit more, they have many loyal fans and therefore are able to relax more and just enjoy their success.

I think the reason why you can enjoy your life/success more when you’re in the 40s(and over), is because you have been in business for a long time, 10-20 years, and have build a solid career.
You don’t need to work 24/7 and worry about getting fired for a small mistake and so on.

I just think the experience, and the long-time career gives you more security, and security makes you relax/enjoy 🙂

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Henk Kleynhans on August 22, 2007  · 

I was surprised a while back when in an interview (for Endeavor) I was asked how do I measure success and whether I consider myself successful. The question was unexpected and it was a question that I never actually thought about. I knew I wanted to be successful, but not what it really meant.

I answered that I believe success is measured in positive “change”. How much am I changing the world around me? Did my actions today change someone’s life or society in the tiniest bit? Of course the more positive change you make, the more powerful you will become, and in turn this will enable you to effect even greater change! But this takes time and patience.

So, in essence, I believe the MOST successful people are those that make the BIGGEST change that THEY can make right now. The reward (power, fame, money) for this success may only come many years later, but right now I’d say they’re pretty successful!

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