…ne other thing we should always remember. Our capacity to learn is at its maximum when we’re young. The younger we are — the better we learn. But this doesn’t mean we’re doomed if we’re older. My father is 43, and he just started his career …
“The younger we are – the better we learn” may be true, but the older we are, the more we know how to apply the learning.
You totally have it backward. When you’re in your 20’s, you have the appetite, stamina, and bandwidth for crushing it. And crucially, you’re also relatively unencumbered. It is the time to experiment, experience, and figure out what you like, want, and enjoy and go all out.
Rush to make money – it’s the most effective way to capitalize on compounding interest. Investing in your 20s can build a financial foundation that can facilitate buying a home, raising a family, starting a business, and retirement in the future. Skip this step, and you will be playing catch up later, even as your earning power grows.
In your 30s and 40s, focus on internal growth and expansion. That’s not to say you can’t start before then, but it’s hard to grow and expand if you don’t know yourself well, if you haven’t dabbled, traveled, achieved, and tried on many roles and relationships. It’s not what you do that matters, or how successful you are out of the gate; pursue what you love and go for it in big ways.
Then, when you’re in your 40s, you’ll have the wisdom of experience, perspective as you say, but crucially, you won’t feel like you missed out. You’ll know you went for it and lived your life, you’ll have enough success and self-awareness to fuel your confidence and cultivate opportunities, but when you slow down, for health reasons, because your family demands it, or because you simply have matured and your hair is no longer on fire, you won’t feel regret.
The ones I see who aren’t aging well are those who stopped learning, never started the self-development or self-discovery journey in the first place, and missed opportunities. They can’t go back, and they don’t have (or don’t believe they have) enough resources to change course now.
If you start strong and build early momentum, you’ll be grateful for your younger self later, for the gifts, memories, and lessons of your 20s and 30s. In your 40s, you’ll appreciate and be inspired by a new, very different stage, a more complex, more nuanced, much more satisfying one. Your 40s are a beautiful place to double-down on growth and expansion, a perfect vantage point for exploiting the lessons of youth and the wisdom of experience and ramping up for an incredible second half.
Learning throughout is the key. It keeps you young, relevant and engaged. Just wait, at 40-something, when you pivot (because for the constant learners, you inevitably will), you’ll discover new ways to apply the learning, and you won’t have as much time for achievement as you think, but you will be so much more focused, efficient, and effective that it won’t matter.