Age is an Advantage

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If you are trying to make a difference – with whatever you are doing at this moment in your life – do you see age as an advantage or a disadvantage?

Today, in our western society, a common belief is that as we age, our opportunities to make a difference diminish.

Often we rationalize our inertia. We feel we are too old to make a deep impact in the world. We want to make a difference, but can we really make it happen?

We listen to the amazing stories of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. They started working in their garages as teenagers and changed the way we live, with companies they founded before they reached their thirties.

If we are over thirty, it’s easy to think that we missed our chance.

Many of us still keep trying to make a difference – yet, we “shrink” our goals, because we think that it’s too late to aim higher.

It’s so easy to accept this fixed mindset that justifies not thinking big. Even worse, we give up, we surrender to regret.

This is a common trend:

“As we age and we start to see this disconnect between what we aspire to be, and what we aspire to do, and what we're accomplishing, and what we were told we can't accomplish, regret builds, picking up in the late forties. There is that pressure, and human nature says that we have to look for a way to relieve that pressure. So we look for a source of information that tells us that we really can’t accomplish. We go back to that idea that society presents that it’s the young that matter. To relive that pressure, to give up, we find those sources of information. In fact we give up, that relieves the pressure, regret goes away, we lose our opportunity, we lose our drive.”
– Jonathan Sackner-Bernstein’s TEDx Talk

However, if we look at the facts, they can surprise us.

For instance:

  • Nobel Prize winners of the last decades are in their mid-to-upper forties
  • A significant number of founders of successful companies are in their forties or fifties

And, if you keep looking, you will find many examples of people that make a huge difference at an even later age.

Instead of seeing age as a sign of decline and narrowing opportunities, why not to challenge yourself to see age as an opportunity to ramp up our efforts, stretch ourselves, expand our abilities, and make a deep difference in this world.

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It’s our choice. We can start to talk back to our fixed mindset voice, and start to take growth mindset actions.

Begin by seeing the full TEDx Talk from Jonathan Sackner-Bernstein.

Here is another snippet:

“Age is an advantage. Those of us who are over thirty-five, over forty, even over fifty, are the people who can make a difference, who have the skills to make the difference, who must step up to make the difference.”

– Jonathan Sackner-Bernstein’s TEDx Talk

Note: I became aware of this TEDx Talk via Seth Godin's Blog – I really recommend that you subscribe to it.