I recently experienced something of an epiphany regarding the standards through which we measure success. So, if you’re looking for a quick dose of potentially inspiring wisdom, let me tell you why you don’t need to rush success. There is plenty of time for you to achieve the goals that you’ve set out for your life.
I think that, as millennials, we’re all in a bit of a rush to be successful. We have a picture painted in our heads that we’ll have started families, bought homes, and made massive dents in our career goals by the time we reach our 30s. Many of us feel lightyears behind our parents, who might have been able to achieve some of these goals within that timeframe.
And, I have no doubt (or strongly believe) that a radical change to the global economic landscape gives millennials and the zoomers (Gen Z) that are inheriting this unsustainable world the right to feel betrayed by the generations that came before us. However, we may need to consider that perhaps our timeline has been shifted back… which may actually be for the better.
This is anecdotal and kind of operates under the potentially naive assumption that there will be a world to live on by the time we reach our twilight years. But, I want you to think about what a world would look like if you’ve “made it” and are already living the dream by the time you’re 30.
Paint the scenario in your head where you are 29, a millionaire, at the height of your career, in peak physical shape and have perhaps even started a family… what’s coming for you in your 30s? So many people tend to reach the crescendo of their happiness, whether that be through wealth, love, fame, or whatever your metrics for success are, only to watch it fall apart.
Or would you like to be a billionaire at the age of 21, like Mark Zuckerburg, and run out of things to do, besides buy more and more businesses, steadily compromising on your morals and just creeping everyone out with your lizard-like, beady eyes.
Samuel L Jackson got his first major role in a movie at the age of 46. Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company at the age of 40, Abraham Lincoln’s political career as a House Representative appeared over, only for him to founded the Republican Party seven years later. “Colonel” Harland Sanders’s first KFC restaurant (a total failure was first opened when he was 65. Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species when he was 50 years old. The list of “late bloomers” goes on forever.
Countless countries around the world now have life expectancy rates above 85, with the global average more than doubling since 1900. Millennials, on average, will be living quite a bit longer than their parents. Making it to 100 will not be all that uncommon and most of us will be productive workers beyond the age of 65.
So, really, we just need to abandon the idea of our success being intertwined with youthful exuberance. It may take many more years for you to travel the world and start your own successful company. But there’s plenty of time left to do all of those things in your 30s, 40s, and 50s. The journey has barely begun and your dreams don’t have a deadline.