This One Goes Out to my Young Folks
It is all too common for people in their teens, twenties, thirties, and even forties to feel disappointed they haven’t yet gotten to the point in life they want to be at. With icons like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates founding companies from a garage in their teens, it’s easy for people to feel they aren’t capable of the same success after passing that early benchmark.
When I was just in elementary school, I was convinced I would graduate high school by sixteen and graduate from a top college by twenty-one. I thought by the time I was twenty-two I’d have my dream job making millions of dollars. In middle school, I told all of my classmates I’d be going to Princeton on a full ride.
This may sound familiar to my fellow very ambitious people. Unsurprisingly, my high school career was conventional and I graduated at the normal time with good marks, but not Princeton full ride good. It was disheartening to say the least when another student in my year got into Harvard.
The unrealistic yearning for early success I lived with growing up burnt me out. I ended up with a sense of disappointment that I was the ripe old age of eighteen without $100,000 in my bank account. Only now am I finding that this is not an indicator of the success I’m capable of, and it isn’t for you either.
The Real Norm for Success
Tech giants and their young founders are far outside the average age of success. Henry Ford was forty-five years old when he built his Model T car, and his name lives on in minds and stories (hello, Brave New World) a century later. Vera Wang wasn’t in her twenties when she became one of the biggest names in fashion; instead she was forty when she started her brand.
In reality, huge success isn’t a start early or you miss out sort of deal. People don’t know everything about themselves at eighteen years old, twenty, thirty, forty, and so on. Talents emerge at unpredictable times and you may have yet to discover the passion you will want to stick with for the rest of your life.
Embrace the Lost Art of Patience
I am the prime example of people who struggle with patience. My innate desire is to be good at everything I do the first time I try it. I like to be praised and I like to show off.
The truth is, though, I only pick things up as fast as everyone else. It takes a tremendous amount of time to become the most skilled at anything. It takes serious time to even become averagely good at something. It may take me ten years to build the blog I want, and that’s okay. It may take you twenty years to get your business off the ground, and that’s okay too.
The key to lasting through that time is to stop being scared of making mistakes. It’s hard and disappointing when things don’t go the way we want, and that’s why most people don’t end up with dream-worthy success. Quit putting so much pressure on yourself and enjoy building something out of your passions, because not everyone gets to do so.
Some Cool Perspective
In a social media age, seeing dozens of young ladies partying in Bali and young men flashing stacks of one hundred dollar bills can make you feel less-than. Off the internet, they really aren’t all that common and it’s a real struggle to reach that fame.
According to the Wharton University of Pennsylvania, studies consistently find that the chance of entrepreneurial success rises with age. The average age of success is about forty-five years old. The older you are, the higher the chance of going public.
Next time you see these wildly successful young folks living a life you have yet to attain, remember you’re like wine– you only get better with age.