If There Is One Thing You Can Learn from People Who Succeed Later in Life, This Is It.

By October 2, 2020Current

TL;DR – A lesson that can benefit all. Thank us later.

Have you ever been secretly jealous of young prodigies? OK, maybe just envious…  Going through the list of Forbes 30 under 30 and seeing these young entrepreneurs and change-makers making waves must be inspiring for most of us. As a society, we often put these young overachievers on a pedestal.

I mean, did you see 24-year-old Naomi Neo’s Lamborghini?

Impressive, considering that it’s testament to her hard work as a content creator.

But, take a step back and look at the ‘late achievers’. These are the ones who probably deserve the biggest claps!

You probably didn’t know – McDonalds was started by milkshake machine salesman, Ray Kroc, when he was 52 years old – an age where most people are thinking of retirement.

Julia Child, American cooking teacher, author, and television personality, was 49 years old when her first cookbook ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’, was published.

Closer to home, we have Wang Lei, a veteran getai singer cum recovering problem gambler whose popularity has shot through the roof in recent months. Selling fish on Facebook Live after more than 2 months of zero income bore fruit for him, and propelled his popularity in Singapore, Malaysia and even China! I think he also can afford Lamborghini lor. The 59-year-old Wang Lei is now affectionately known as 卖鱼哥’ (fish selling bro) by netizens.

Like Ray Kroc and Julia Child, Wang Lei’s story exemplifies a simple message: Your chance of success has nothing to do with your age. It’s shaped by your willingness to pick up new skills, build experiences and adapt if things don’t work out at first!

Keep learning. Never gets old. Via

The Most Important Rule: Never Stop Learning

Be it learning to use a computer for the first time, baking, picking up Excel skills, or trying a new business venture, it’s never too late to learn.

We are all more than capable of learning and achieving more. In other words, don’t use age as an excuse, please? In my previous job, I met a 68-year-old admin clerk who practically put me to shame with her Excel skills. Pivot table? Chicken feet!

In Singapore, we are way more fortunate than many others. Say real one. 

SkillsFuture, as a national movement, seeks to provide Singaporeans with the opportunities to develop their fullest potential throughout life, regardless of their starting points. No excuses, all Singaporeans will have access to a wide range of resources to support your learning journey.

There is support to help deepen or widen your skills to stay relevant.

Investment guru, Warren Buffett, once shared:

“But ultimately, there’s one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself. Address whatever you feel your weaknesses are, and do it now. I was terrified of public speaking when I was young. I couldn’t do it. It cost me $100 to take a Dale Carnegie course, and it changed my life.”

Indeed! No one can take away what you’ve got in yourself. If by enhancing your skillsets, you can increase your growth potential even 5-10% a year, DO IT. You never know where an extra skill can take you.

The problem is… Where to start??

Nah, some free learning resources to share with you! FREE.

Data Science Courses by Harvard University

By now, avid learners would have known about free courses offered by Harvard University. Learn simple graphical rules that allow you to use intuitive pictures to improve study design and data analysis for causal inference. Develop skills in digital research and visualization techniques through these free data science courses by Harvard University!

Courses by NTUC LearningHub

As a gesture of solidarity to support Singaporeans, NTUC LearningHub has launched its rebranded online learning platform, LHUB GO, in partnership with Go1.com. Registration was a breeze last we tried!

They are currently offering 100 free courses to the general public and 200 free courses to NTUC Union Members for six months.

Did you know that during the ‘Circuit Breaker’ period, within four months, the platform has garnered over 88,000 sign-ups and accumulated over 23 million minutes of online learning? NTUC Union members could also enjoy 50% discount off unfunded course fee support for up to $250 each year training benefits for courses under Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP) per year! The full list of UTAP Eligible Courses can be found here.

LinkedIn Courses

LinkedIn Learning offers more than 13,000 courses, covering just about every professional skill – from Microsoft Excel to data science to Photoshop to executive leadership. Here are 10 free courses to help you upskill and become a better professional.

Psst, a personal favourite that I have shared with many in my personal network. Author, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist, Guy Kawasaki, discusses a variety of topics centered on entrepreneurship in this interview-style course. He also shares how to focus your pitch and develop prototypes, predict new markets, and capitalise on social media.

There is a reason why Singapore has been pushing for upskilling all these years. Being multi-skilled is fast becoming a must these days. It’s too risky to just have one skill. If you just have one dated skill that you picked up at school 10, 20 years ago and just plain refuse to upgrade yourself, well, then good luck. You gonna need lots of that.


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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

More posts by Gabrielle Teo

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