You are never too old for new ideas
Most people fear their 30’s thinking if they haven’t achieved their goals by then, it’s too late for them.
This kind of thinking is wrong; you are never too old to have ideas that can change or improve the world.
Few people know the name Momofuku Ando, but everyone knows the product he created.
Ando was born in 1910, and lost his parents as a child.
After working hard at school, he opened his own textile business with some money inherited from his family, and put himself through university in Kyoto, Japan.
However in 1948, aged 38, Ando was found guilty of tax evasion and briefly sent to prison. He also lost his company due to bankruptcy, and had to start again.
After prison, life was very difficult for Ando – Japan was suffering from the aftermath of World War II, being hit by two atomic bombs and severe food shortages.
In an attempt to rebuild his life, Ando founded a new company in Ikeda city, near Osaka. The company produced salt, but it few people could afford to buy it due to post war hardships.
Undeterred, Ando started to dream up new ideas. He noticed that the Government was promoting bread made from American wheat flour. Ando started to wonder about different Japanese products that could be made from wheat, such as noodles.
Ando set to work to find a product that could feed the country.
Working alone and sleeping only 4 hours a night, 47 year old Ando was obsessed with his idea. After a year of trial and error, he created Instant Noodles.
Being easy to produce and just needing hot water, Ando’s Instant Noodles became Japan’s ‘Magic Ramen’ overnight.
While Instant Noodles were still considered a luxury item in Japan, sales skyrocketed and helped to satisfy the hunger of thousands of Japanese recovering from post-war shortages.
In 1959, the Mitsubishi Corporation was so impressed with the invention, that they helped promote the product around the world for export.
On a business trip to America, 61 year old Ando saw supermarket employees pouring the noodles into a cup, and his next idea, Cup Noodles was born. Cup Noodles became so popular that as production increased, the price dropped, allowing Instant Noodles to be enjoyed by everyone worldwide.
In 2004 he sold 70 billion servings of noodles.
Not content with his success, Momofuku Ando continued to dream and create. In 1983, he used his profits to help fund health education for young people and in 1999, he opened the first Instant Ramen Museum – a museum to promote creative thinking for children.
In 2005, just two years before his death, Ando was still practicing creative thinking, and made a vacuum-packed version of instant noodles for a Japanese astronaut aboard the Discovery space shuttle.
Despite losing his parents at an early age and a rough time with early businesses, Momofuku Ando never stopped dreaming and thinking out of the box. He was a tireless inventor throughout his 96 years, and created an entire new food culture.
What creative ideas have you thought of but never followed through on?
Perhaps today is the day to think differently about something……..