If you ever feel like it’s taking too long to achieve success, just think “Momofuku”.
One of Japan’s most famous entrepreneurs, Momofuku Ando, kept persevering despite failure and bankruptcy until he finally reached his big breakthrough: Inventing Pot Noodles at 61 years old.
Momofuku was an early entrepreneur, starting a clothing company after leaving university. But trying to make a difference came with a price – The scholarships he paid for students to study were seen by the Japanese government as tax evasion, and he was thrown in jail when he was 38 years old. Then after he was released, his company went bankrupt.
Determined to try again, he said “I came to understand that all of my failure – all of my shame – was like muscle added to my body,”
With Japan short of food during the war, he went on to sell salt for the next ten years.
Then after the war, he saw the Japanese goverment trying to get the Japanese to eat bread from the United States because Japan’s traditional form of food, noodles, were too expensive.
So Momofuku, who believed “Peace will come to the world when the people have enough to eat.” went to work to find a cheap way to make noodles.
Finally after plenty of experimenting, in 1958 at 48 years old, Momofuku invented instant noodles.
Not satisfied with his first invention, he kept working at making noodles cheaper and easier to cook and finally, 13 years later in 1971 at 61 years old, he created Pot Noodles.
Over the next 30 years, his noodles have grown in popularity worldwide. Over 100 billion servings of instant noodle are now sold every year. That’s 15 for every human on earth.
In a national poll, the Japanese people voted instant noodle as the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th Century. And at 92 years old, Momofuku was awarded “The Order of the Rising Sun”: The second most prestigious Japanese deocration for Japanese civilians.
Imagine if Momofuku had quit before he had reached 61…
So the next time you’re thinking of giving up, remember to say “Momofuku”.
Momofuku went on to live to 97 years old. (And he credited his longevity to a daily diet of instant noodles).
“It is never too late to do anything in life.” ~ Momofuku Ando