As I was writing this book, I wondered how many people would quickly dismiss it because they were “too old.” Compare that mentality to that of Frank Lloyd Wright at age 83 when asked which of his masterpieces was the best, replied “My next one.” You see, so much is about our mindset.
World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, after decades of research, shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talent and abilities. In her best seller book Mindset, Dr. Dweck finds that people with a fixed mindset, those who believe that abilities are fixed, are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset, those who believe that abilities can be developed.
I think of myself deciding to finally take on triathlon, and at the Ironman level, at the age of 58, knowing my only swim stroke was a doggie paddle. Many would decide it couldn’t be done. Yet, with lessons and practice, within a year I was able to proclaim, “I am an Ironman!”
I found myself taking on these challenges later in life because from my early 20s to my 40s, my life was one consumed with working, university and grad school, being a husband and father to two children. As I review my world travels and Bucket List accomplishments, it’s fair to say that most came well after these years. As we design our lives, priorities will change as the years pass. In those earlier years, my accomplishments were centered around loved ones and responsibilities to them. Once the kids grew up and ventured out on their own and I operated solo in my speaking business with no responsibilities to employees, I could more easily pursue my Bucket List passions. Fortunately, my wife Bonnie was able to share in a considerable number of such events and encouraged me to pursue those that were out of her comfort zone.
So many people who have achieved great things have done so much later in life than we might expect. And so look at this list of famous people in a variety of fields who were able to go on and accomplish great things, regardless of their age.
And so, are your best days behind you, or are they ahead of you?
The good news is each of us gets to decide!