There is a perception that young people are better positioned to pivot and change the way that their life is headed.
It is easy to look at people that are absolutely nailing it in their youth and think things like ‘it is easier for them, they don’t have… [insert your own relevant life situation here]’. The truth is that although their stakes may have been lower, their risk was just as high.
It is just that they were willing to take the chance.
There are a huge number of examples of people doing great things when they were still really young. Soccer legend Pele scored in and won the world cup at 17. Abner Doubleday created the rules for baseball when he was 19.
Even more amazing though is the number of kids under 10 that in the last 5 years that have been able to effect massive positive change in the world. Often because no one told them that it was too hard!
If these little people that have been walking for less time than you have probably been driving can do enough to significantly change lives, what is stopping you?
There are heaps of examples of people that would not be considered ‘young’ by any standard achieving greatness. JRR Tolkien published the first of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ books at 62. NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was still playing for the LA Lakers at 42. Neil Armstrong was 38 when he was the first person to set foot on the moon.
Of course it is easier when we are young
We are told that it is ok to take risks when you are younger but that older people need to be mature and responsible.
Sure it is easier to take risks when there is less on the line. Of course it is harder to be agile when we are carrying the weight of responsibility that comes from having a family, job and other obligations.
As we get older, we just get better at making excuses. As we gain experience in life we start seeing things in terms of what we are risking instead of what we have to gain.
We lose the sense of adventure and stop doing thing just because they are fun. After life has pushed us around a few times we gain wisdom but seem to lose passion and inspiration.
As you move through life, experience more of what society tells us you should or shouldn’t do. The many responsibilities, obligations and expectations continue to scream for attention and it just becomes easier to listen to them.
Success can make you fearful
Few people seem to realize that in this regard a certain level of success can work against you. We know how hard we had to work to achieve a certain thing and are worried about losing it. This fear has the ability to stop us improving further. For many it is this sense of fear, not anything to do with age that is stopping them from being great. Fear of disappointing others, fear of not succeeding, fear of wasted time, even a fear of the change that comes with success.
One thing that people still considered ‘in their youth’ don’t have however is life experience. The sort of skills that come with years of managing relationships or dealing with hard times should be embraced.
Not achieving something (anything!) is only a failure if it beats you. You are only beaten if you choose to quit. Otherwise every setback is just a part of the process of achieving your goals.
Unless you have given up and abandoned your goal, every setback is a chance to see a way to not achieve it and learn!
Overcome your fear and move forward
The key to starting on the path to achieving anything is identifying where it is that you want to go and starting down the path. As the quote by the Chinese philosopher Laozi states “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.
It is much easier to steer a moving car than a parked one.
Don’t let your fears and the expectations of others rule your life. You should be the only one that controls your life. This means that you are the one that should be taking it forward and definitely the only one that knows when it is ok to stop.
I feel that anyone reading this probably shares my slightly non-conformist view of life. I figure that for all the things that I have done and seen in my life, I should at least be able to do a few things better than someone that hasn’t.