UCL School of Management

19 October 2021

Does age dictate the timeline of success?

Illustration of a man standing at the bottom of some steps with a shadow of a person's face at the bottom.

The term “late bloomers” is often used to describe someone who accomplishes a milestone outside of the culturally prescribed timeframe, but recent studies indicate this culturally subscribed timeline of success is outdated and arbitrary. In a recent BBC article, Chia-Jung Tsay explains how “late-bloomers” more often than not develop a unique set of skills to make them more agile to adapt to change and uncertainty.

Chia explains “Late bloomers may have faced additional challenges on their pathway to achievement, leading them to develop more resilience,” and that “such people may be more prepared to adapt to difficult circumstances, uncertainty and change.”

The article warns if we continue to follow the current timelines and dub those who don’t meet those milestones as “late-bloomers” it pressures people to stick to the supposed timeline and can also negate from the actual achievement that has been made because of a person’s age, which in turn is setting future generations up to fail. 

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Last updated Monday, 1 November 2021