Perhaps it’s always been the way of the world. Maybe it’s just the worldview presented by the media outlets I consume. It certainly seems to me that society obsesses over maximizing personal success as early in life as possible. Many parents aspire to raise elite athletes or top-tier performers by the age of 15. The business world is fascinated with youngster billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg or Evan Spiegel. Social media revolves around 20-something influencers distributing marketing messages masked as product trials or #blessed #globetrotting #perfectday posts. In contrast, you simply don’t see this same infatuation with people in their 50’s, 60’s and beyond.
I’m not criticizing anyone who seeks to achieve success by societal standards at an early age. It’s certainly a noble endeavor to be the best version of yourself. Yet, these aspirations to achieve success early in life are unrealistic in the lives of more than just a few people. I wonder if most people, particularly those who feel young enough to still have fate by the reigns, really okay with that fact? What if success didn’t come until much later in life– age 65, 73, or 81? What if it didn’t come in the way we expected, worked toward, or wanted at all? I’m not talking about paying lip service to it. In this case, actions speak louder than words. Do we act as though late success or different success is okay, normal or even noble? I have a hunch that if we do, it’s very infrequent.
Perhaps we would be happier, more grateful, and more content if the idea of late life success was normal. After all, what if our view of success didn’t correlate with athletic prowess, personal branding, or business intelligence? I certainly believe that we would benefit from this sort of paradigm shift. Do I expect the world to change in this way? Not really. You probably don’t either. But what I do expect is that by changing the way I look at success, I can hope to influence others to do the same.