Why It’s Never Too Late to Start Over

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Do you think that you’re past the point of being able to achieve your goals? Are you over 40 and feel stuck with your career? Perhaps you wanted to run a marathon but you feel like an ancient amongst saplings when you look at most other runners. Think you’re too old to find love?

Well, we’re here to tell you that it’s never too late to start – and we’re going to prove it to you.

By the time you’ve read through this article, you will understand that the idea that you are too old/too inexperienced/not good enough to begin something will be a thing of the past.

At the very least, you’ll know that it’s a false belief.

Your Beliefs Determine Your Reality

Have you ever had any of the following thoughts?

  • I’m too old to change careers.
  • I’m too old to start a business.
  • I’m too old to start dating again.
  • I’m too old to learn.
  • I’m too old to run a marathon/improve my fitness.

The ones listed above (and many others) are all common beliefs that are perfectly reasonable things to think. Most people would understand you not attempting to run a marathon at 55, but that doesn’t make this correct.

So, we will break down all the bulleted points above and explain why they are untrue and hinder you from living a life you are more than capable of attaining.

I’m Too Old To Change Careers

Grandma Moses grew up in New York on an upstate farm, she worked as a hired girl (helping with cooking, sewing, and cleaning) married, had children, and by all accounts had a normal life by the standards of her time.

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Numerous instances exist where individuals entirely shifted their careers later in life.

She was also a painter, and one of her paintings currently hangs in the White House. She didn’t pick up a paintbrush professionally until the age of 78.

There are countless examples of people who completely changed their careers at a later date.

Here’s some more:

  • Samuel Jackson didn’t strike it big as an actor until he was in his 40s (his breakthrough role was Pulp Fiction)- he worked various jobs (including as a social worker and stand-up comedian).
  • Stan Lee didn’t start comic book writing until the age of 40 – before that, he wrote obituaries and press releases.
  • Alan Rickman (famous for Die Hard and Harry Potter) didn’t start acting until his mid-20s, before that he worked as a graphic designer.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger first started as a bodybuilder in his 20s, before becoming an action star in his 30s, and then later the governor of California at 56.

I’m Too Old To Start a Business

A huge portion of successful business initiatives were launched after the age of 50 – in fact, you may have a hidden advantage.

Harvard Business Review found the average age of a successful start-up is 45 years old. With age comes experience, and better experience leads to better decisions. Younger people start more businesses, but their lack of experience causes them to take risks that lead to failure.

Here are some examples:

  • Julia Child became a chef after writing her first cookbook at the age of 50.
  • Jeff Bezos worked in computer science and quit to launch his company at 31.
  • Arianna Huffington founded The Huffington Post at age 55 (selling it to AOL for $315 million).
  • Colonel Sanders launched KFC at the age of 62.

I’m Too Old To Start Dating

While there’s nothing wrong with choosing to be single, feeling that you must be single because you’re too old to look for love is an unnecessary tragedy.

There are countless internet dating apps and sites that are devoted to helping people meet:

These sites host millions of people with a good proportion of users over the age of 40. If it was impossible to find love at an older age, these websites would go out of business very quickly.

I’m Too Old To Learn

This is one of the more common excuses.

People say variations of: “I don’t have the energy, too tired, don’t have the memory I used to” and it’s true that our brains decline as we age – but that’s only partly true.

Your brain only declines if you misuse it.

This study found that a basic meditation practice can counteract the effects of age-related cognitive decline. There’s more and more scientific literature showing that behaviors that train the brain (like mediation) have a large impact on how it functions.

Your brain is neuroplastic, which means that it can change or build itself in response to stimuli.

As a human, your brain never loses this ability and stays with you for life. This means that, biologically, you are quite literally never too old to learn.

I’m Too Old To Run a Marathon

The brain is neuroplastic but it turns out that your muscles are as well. Your muscles are one of the most adaptable parts of your body and they never lose their capacity to change according to stimuli.

Whether that’s weight training or endurance training this is a very well-established science at this stage. We know for a fact that elderly people who are reasonably healthy and training will enhance and improve their fitness over time in the same way that a reasonably 20 or 30-year-old would.

Here are some examples:

  • Fauja Singh – ran marathons in his 80s and continued to compete in his 100s.
  • Sister Madonna Buder – AKA the “Iron Nun” has run over 45 triathlons and completed her first in her late 40s.
  •  Ernestine Shepherd – started bodybuilding at the age of 56 and became the world's oldest competitive female bodybuilder.
  • Satchel Paige – considered by many to be one of the greatest baseball pitchers of all time didn’t start playing in the American League until the age of 42.

An Action Plan For New Beginnings

Here’s how you embrace the “never too late to start” philosophy.

Reflect on Your Goals

Start by taking stock of your goals.

Write your goals or aspirations down on the left side of a piece of paper, and on the right side ask yourself, “Am I too old for this?.”

Point out all the reasons that you think you can’t achieve a goal. These are the limiting beliefs holding you back.

Out of all the goals identify the one that is most important to you.

Take Small But Consistent Action

Embracing the “never too late” philosophy is all about breaking limiting beliefs. How do you do that?

The only way is to convince your subconscious that you aren’t. The only way to do that is to take action every day.

This doesn’t necessarily have to be massive amounts of action. If you wanted to run a marathon, for example, you could do 5 minutes of exercise each day for a month and then as you get fitter, slowly increase the amount of time you spend exercising.

It could be as simple as spending 10 minutes every day brainstorming ideas for a business.

Take small concrete steps toward your goal and you’ll find that sooner or later you start to banish limiting beliefs about your age.

Embrace The Growth Mindset

It’s important to not compare your progress to other people and instead identify how you are getting better on a day-to-day, week-by-week, month-by-month, or year-by-year basis.

Look at any challenges that come up in your path as opportunities for growth, no matter how difficult or how long it takes.

Remember to keep in mind that your body is adaptable up until the day you die, which means that whatever challenges you face, you will get stronger in response to them.

Want to learn how you can develop a growth mindset attitude? In this video, we define the growth mindset, talk about how it can help you and provide 11 actionable strategies to add it to your life.

Celebrate Your Progress

No matter how small or how insignificant, acknowledge and celebrate any progress you make. This is direct evidence that it’s never too late to start on something and begin working towards it.

How you celebrate your progress is entirely up to you, but even the simple acknowledgment that your efforts are paying off can work wonders.

Focus on the journey and not the destination, many people choose to spend their older years squandering their potential instead of making use of the capabilities and wisdom that they’ve developed.

The Benefits

Outside of the obvious benefit of achieving your goals and potentially greatly improving your life, embracing the idea of its never too late to start has some potent upsides:

  • Persistence and resilience: When you realize that it’s up to you when you start or finish (no matter how young or old you are) can give you tremendous persistence and tenacity. Instead of thinking that you must have everything figured out quickly, or else, you play the long game. Nothing breeds success quite like putting your time in.
  • Regret and self-doubt: Some people fall into the trap of thinking their time has passed to do what they want to do, and then become regretful and take blows to their self-esteem as they get older – but if you’re actively working towards what you want? There’s no room for regret.
  • You become a shining beacon for others: There’s nothing quite as motivating as someone succeeding when everyone around them expects them to give up. When you embrace this idea you become a tremendous example for other people to follow.

Final Thoughts on Starting Now!

In a world that tells us that we become less useful as we get older, daring to spit in the face of that conventional wisdom can be incredibly empowering. It’s never too late to start, no matter who you are or what your circumstances.

Here’s a summary of everything we talked about:

  • If you tell yourself it’s too late to start you’ll believe it.
  • There are countless examples of people who have achieved amazing success in their later years, whether that’s changing professions or founding businesses.
  • When you get older you have the advantage of more experience, which helps you make better decisions.
  • To embrace the “it’s never too late to start” philosophy, reflect on your goals and identify which one is most important, take small steps every day to achieve it, embrace the growth mindset, and celebrate your progress.
  • Enjoy the benefits!

And if you want more resources about success principles, be sure to check out these blog posts:

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