In 1961 when Stan Lee was 38 years old he had been working in the comic book industry for 22 years. He had started when he was 17 when his uncle got him the job. It was not a very prestigious place to work, and for years he was even a bit embarrassed to be working on comics.
Because of the Comics Code that forced comics to be as clean as possible: no crime of any sort was allowed and what you wound up with was endless twilight zone type of stories. He was done, he was not allowed to do the stories he wanted to do. He wanted to quit and write a novel.
His wife told him “write one [comic] book the way you’d like to. Get it out of your system. The worst thing that will happen is he’ll fire you — but you want to quit anyway.’” And so he did. He went ahead an wrote the Fantastic Four. Not only did it sell well, but it received a “Flurry of Fan letters” thus showing its popularity.
This gave him the boost he needed to keep going. He decided not to quit and went on to help change both the comic book and Movie industries. Doing all this coupled with his being in 57 cameos in Marvel films (and even one DC Movie), made him a household name with both his voice and face being highly reconizable.
In the 57 years from that time until his passing on November 12, 2018, at the ripe old age of 95, his whole life changed.
So why did I pick this story to remember Stan Lee? Well, its because it contains a very important lesson:
As long as your drawing air, it is not too late to find success and happiness in life.
Never give up. Even if your life has been rough or you are living paycheck to paycheck in a dead end job, it is not too late to change. All you need to do is decide to start. Often we keep doing the same thing day to day and expect and hope for something different. This, of course, is one definition of insanity.
How old is too late? Well, I can’t say. Grandma Moses started painting at the age of 78 and created over 1,500 pieces of art before she died at the age of 101. Colonel Sanders started KFC at the young age of 65, and Samuel L. Jackson was unknown until he was 46 years old. And the list goes on, just google the phrase “famous or successful after 40” for more.
So it is not too late to change your destiny. It does not matter if you are 18 or 88 all you need to do is start. Make the choice to change, and start on the path. It will likely be rough, but the reward is worth it.
Your friendly neighborhood entrepreneur