A friend expressed concern about his age and his future. His concern was that he had started late, age 52, and after five years, age 57, was still not where he wanted to be. I know that my friend is not alone is his concern especially in light of the fact that long-term employment with one organization is history.
With a smile on my face I told my friend that I had begun my confidence training business at age 68 and the business is still in its infancy. I’m sure some of you are wondering “Why would I do that when the odds are that I don’t have a lot of years left?”
My response to that is “Do any of us know how many years we have left?” Personally, I plan on continuing to at least age 120. Time will tell whether or not I achieve that goal, but whether I do or don’t is irrelevant to the way I live for the future.
My attitude toward the future is, regardless of when I die, there will be an unfulfilled dream…something to which I aspired that I didn’t achieve. Given that reality, why deprive myself of the joy of pursuing any goal that intrigues me?
An often quoted, but little appreciated adage is “It’s the journey, not the destination.” Our natural tendency is to acknowledge the wisdom of this adage without fully appreciating its message.
What this adage should remind us is that when we do achieve a goal, we experience joy and a sense of accomplishment…for a very brief period of time. Recall your achievements, then pay attention to how long it was before you set a new goal and began a new journey. I’d be amazed if it took you longer than 24 to 48 hours to begin dreaming of what’s next.
To overlook this reality and concern ourselves with whether we have enough years left to fulfill our dream is to deprive ourselves of the joy of pursuing something that intrigues us, of learning something new that makes us more capable and more confident, of being able to help others in more ways than we could previously. That’s a lot to give up because we may not reach the destination.
Save this blog post. The next time you feel yourself considering age a hindrance to your future, read it and resume the pursuit of your dreams. For in that pursuit you’ll find great joy…and in all likelihood, life a healthy life far longer than you might have imagined.
If you have aging parents and want them to cut back on the activities they enjoy because of health issues, stop it. Stopping what they love accelerates their decline and hastens the loss of the joy of their presence in your life. Reflect on this “Who among us wouldn’t prefer to die while doing something we enjoy than languishing in the emptiness of a life that holds no future?
For our kids
Live this message and you’ll disabuse your kids of the notion that age is a limiter. As they see you pursue your dreams into your 80s and 90s and beyond, they’ll be inspired to do the same.
When you see them concerned about whether they can achieve a goal, ask them to recall some of their earlier achievements. Then ask them how long it was before they began to dream of a new goal. Once they’ve realized how fleeting the joy of accomplishment is and how long the joy of pursuit lasts. Remind them that this is precisely the message of the adage “It’s the journey, not the destination.”
If you’d like to enjoy great confidence, check out our Confidence Self-Study programs.
If you’d like to enrich the lives of others by teaching them to be more confident, check out our Teaching Confidence Instructor Certification program.