Never Too Late, Never Too Old

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Do you know what Richard Branson’s greatest motivation is? It is “to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long university education that I never had—each day I am learning something new“.

Most people like to say that they’d like to do and experience everything that they can while they’re still young, insinuating that after a certain age it might be too late. This young generation of technocrats believes that people stop being motivated and creative as they reach middle age.

On the brighter side, this way of thinking can fuel your desire and determination to see and do everything possible while you still have the energy and will to excel at the early stages of your life. I personally know of one colleague who, after earning his baccalaureate degree in accounting and passing the Philippine CPA examination, immediately pursued the MBA course, then the CMA certificate thereafter. At the age of 25, he has a CPA, MBA and CMA title. If you think these are remarkable achievements, wait ’til you hear this other one. He completed his accounting degree and passed the Phil. CPA exam in 2011 at age 20. As family migrated to the U.S. he took and completed all four parts of the Uniform CPA examination last year. This June, he took Part 1 of the CMA examinations.

Sometimes, though, it makes you think that once you hit a certain age and you feel you still haven’t achieved anything in your professional career, you start to believe that you have pretty much failed and that you can’t do anything about it anymore.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who think that they’ve let so many chances pass by and that they already failed to grab any opportunities in life. Others also tend to adopt the idea that they’re just too old to try and learn anything new, and that whatever they know is sufficient. Thus, many of them just plod along without striving to be better at their jobs or in life, and without exploring any possible new opportunities that could improve their career. They just stop being enthusiastic anymore. Some people become complacent as they mature, and no longer have interest in learning current industry trends. I am glad I fought this off as I realized that even in mid-40s I could still motivate myself to pursue international certifications (CMA and U.S. CPA).

It is important for us to realize that age is indeed nothing more than a number. It doesn’t say anything about one’s ability to learn something new. It doesn’t restrict us from achieving. And it certainly shouldn’t be a barrier to how much we could change and how much better we could become. Opportunities should not just be restricted to younger people, after all. For “old-timers” (like the author), it is imperative that we recognize that having the right attitude and positive outlook in life is still the key factor to success. Equally so, being cautious should not be mistaken with looking at situations or opportunities negatively.

In addition, you want to stay relevant in your field, or at the very least be able to understand what other people are talking about. You don’t want to get left behind, and you certainly don’t want to become the kind of person who just looks on as new developments arise and are unable to get on board because you didn’t bother to learn new things. It is the ability to adapt and embrace change that can bring success to us as professionals.

So the next time you catch yourself thinking that you’re too old to try something new, take a course, or learn how to use a new gadget or software, stop and think for a few minutes. By merely contemplating to pursue a post-graduate course, or to upgrade your skills by enrolling in personality development training or seminars, these already are important indicators as these circumstances show that you still want to learn.

Don’t let others write you off just yet; prove you still can, despite your age.

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