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Why It’s Never too Late to Discover Your One Big Thing

I’m meeting more and more people who as they get older start believing the best years of their career are behind them. But nothing could be further from the truth. Certainly as we age change happens, but I find most of the people who think their career is over don’t realize that’s just a myth.  For instance, the novelist Raymond Chandler was one of America’s greatest mystery writers.

His classic stories about Detective Philip Marlowe have been read by millions, and multiple movies have been based on his books. His first novel, 1939’s The Big Sleep, was made into a film starring Humphrey Bogart. He was also a writer for Paramount Pictures, and cowrote the screenplay for James M. Cain’s brilliant novel Double Indemnity.

But that all came late in life. In 1932, at forty-four years old, and at the mid-point of the Great Depression, Chandler was fired from his job as an executive at an oil company. He was unemployed, some would say a philandering drunk, and at the end of his rope.

Nonetheless, he and his wife decided to get away from all the failure and try to start over. Driving up the coast of California, Chandler randomly started reading a detective magazine, and the idea occurred to him that he could write stories like that. He began by writing short detective stories in pulp magazines. These didn’t pay well, but they gained him enough credibility to get a small book deal. He published his first novel at age fifty to only moderate success. After writing three more with still no great sales, he talked his publisher into allowing a smaller publisher to reprint his first book in paperback.

To the shock of everyone involved, it sold three hundred thousand copies.

Raymond Chandler didn’t discover his one thing until late middle age, and yet he became one of the most popular and respected writers in his genre. His influence on subsequent writers and filmmakers has been enormous.

What about you?  Order my book “One Big Thing” and discover what you are actually wired to accomplish with your life. Because it’s not too late to discover yours!

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  1. Great story Phil. As a pastor I longed for “fruit” i.e. thinking I needed a bigger church. I found out that my gift is not the bigger church but being a pastor to the one God put me in. The past 13 years I have pastored a church in a small town in the middle of Indiana. We average less than 200 and I couldn’t be happier. I finally found my “one big thing.” I’m not giving up on the church growing (we are) but size no longer matters. Knowing I’m where the Father wants me brings contentment. Oh…I’m 66.

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