What does it mean to be a late bloomer in a world obsessed with early achievement? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
A late bloomer is a person who fulfills their potential later than expected; they often have talents that aren't visible to others initially. The key word here is expected. And they fulfill their potential frequently in novel and unexpected ways, surprising even those closest to them. They are not attempting to satisfy, with gritted teeth, the expectations of their parents or society, a false path that leads to burnout and brittleness, or even to depression and illness.
As Oprah Winfrey says, "Everyone has a supreme destiny." Late bloomers are those who find their supreme destiny on their own schedule, in their own way.
In researching my book, , I asked academics, psychologists, and other social scientists how they define and view late bloomers. Is there a rigorous, extensive research base out there to tap for latent clues or familiar guideposts? I wondered.
The simple answer is no. Up to now, little formal research has been done on late bloomers. Much of academia seems to have ignored this particular aspect of human development, except in rare cases in which it is connected to a developmental disorder. In other words, late blooming is usually explored through the lens of dysfunction or as an abnormality. Even in academic research, the late bloomer gets little respect.
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