How Old Is Too Old?
A resume client recently said to me, “Yeah, but I’m too old.”
I wanted to grab him by his lapels and shake some sense into him.
I’m here to tell you …
If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do – but have been putting off – now would be a good time to do it.
A woman once walked up to well-known author and inspirational speaker Wally (Famous) Amos, after a seminar he had given and said, “If I go to law school at my age, I’ll be 55 when I graduate.” Amos asked her, “How old will you be if you don’t go?”
So let me ask you a question, “If not now, when?”
Too Old For What?
Just what is it we’re supposed to be too old for anyway?
People will tell you that advancing age results in lower energy levels and diminished capacity for getting things done.
Really? Consider the following, courtesy of the UC Berkley Wellness Letter:
Verdi composed his “Ave Maria” at age 85.
Harlan Sanders started Kentucky Fried Chicken at the tender age of 65 and became a multi-millionaire.
Grandma Moses – the renowned American folk artist – didn’t start painting until she was in her 70s and didn’t achieve success until she was in her 80s.
Michelangelo was carving the Pieta when he was 89.
Martha Graham – one of the foremost pioneers of modern dance – performed until she was 75 and choreographed her 180th work at age 95.
Marion Hart, sportswoman and author, learned to fly at age 54 and made seven nonstop solo flights across the Atlantic, the last time in 1975 when she was 83.
John Kelley finished his sixtieth Boston Marathon at the age of 83.
Jack LaLanne, at age 62, swam the length of the Golden Gate Bridge underwater, against treacherous tides, towing a 2,000-pound boat. At age 65, he was swimming in Lake Ashinoko, Japan, handcuffed, shackled and towing sixty-five boats loaded with 6,500 pounds of Louisiana wood pulp! At age 70, once again handcuffed and shackled, and fighting blustery winds and currents, LaLanne hit the water and succeeded in pulling seventy boats and seventy people – one person per boat – an astonishing one and one-half miles.
The remarkable accomplishments of these people are not just personal triumphs; rather they are triumphs of the human spirit. They demonstrate that whether you start early or late in life, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. Whatever you can conceive, you can achieve – regardless of age.
Forget Those Who Say You Can’t
I wonder why so few people feel their age is “just right.”
Being “too old” is just an excuse – an excuse that has closed the door of opportunity to thousands of individuals. They think they are the wrong age, so they don’t even try.
I hear all kinds of people saying you reach a point where starting over, or starting a new endeavor, just isn’t practical anymore.
Let me tell you something – people who know the least, know it the loudest.
The person who is fond of saying, “It can’t be done,” is invariably interrupted by the person who just did it.
When I was a corporate sales trainer, an older salesperson – who should have known better – told me that I didn’t understand the circumstances he was under.
I asked him, “The circumstances you’re under? What are you doing under there? Get out from under there! Who told you to go under there in the first place?”
There are no circumstances you can’t handle. There are only challenges to be met. Every challenge contains within it an opportunity for you to excel.
Start Where You Are
However old you are – you are. So look at your age positively.
A friend of mine, who just turned 70, confided to me that he hated the thought of getting old. I told him it was a lot better than the alternative. If you’re not getting older, you’re dead. I’ll take old over dead any day of the week.
Instead of thinking, “I’m already too old,” think, “I’m still young.” Look forward to new horizons and gain enthusiasm for new things.
Invest time in doing what you really want to do. Whether you’re 29 or 69, it’s never too late.
So stop thinking, “I should have started years ago.” You’re here now, so start now. Your best years are ahead of you.
Just ask our own Shelby Beckett. The newest addition to AWAI’s Wall of Fame, Shelby didn’t start copy writing until she was 71. In fact, if you check out the Wall of Fame, you’ll see a lot of gray hair there.
Think about how much productive time you have left.
If your life was an hourglass and you could see the sand passing through it, what would you do today?
The cemetery is full of unwritten books, unsung songs, great deeds left undone, and discoveries never made. Most people die with their dreams still in them. Don’t let the “too old” excuse keep you from living the life you’ve always wanted.
“For of all sad words, of tongues or pen, the saddest are these: I might have been …”
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