Too Old to Keep Trying?

Several weeks ago, I told you about a guy I met at Joe’s cigar bar. He was 54, out of a job, and ready to give up. He was too old to start over, he claimed.

Death is inevitable, I told him. But aging is mostly a state of mind. It’s perfectly possible to live an active and meaningful life well into your eighties.

I was reminded of this conversation by a story Paul Lawrence told in a recent issue of his Small Biz Riches newsletter. It was about Jane Bockstruck, who celebrated her 92nd birthday by jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet.

My father learned to ski at 74 and hang-glided when he was 76.

Jack LaLanne, the greatest fitness guru of them all, celebrated his 70th birthday by swimming a mile — while towing 70 boats filled with 70 people.

And let’s not forget George Burns, who was still drinking martinis, smoking stogies, and doing standup until he died at 101.

I started taking Jiu Jitsu lessons when I was 50. The guys I was learning with were in their early twenties. Nine years later, I’m still training and have earned a brown belt (an accomplishment I’m really proud of). In fact, I just returned from a week-long trip to Rio de Janeiro where I trained in the world-famous Brazilian Top Team dojo. I competed with brown and black belts exclusively (most in their twenties or thirties) and I won most of my matches.

There’s almost nothing you can’t do in the second half of your life. So why is it that so many people stop trying?

I think it’s because we recognize our vulnerability as we get older. We realize, through experience, that we can hurt ourselves by making foolish choices. There is nothing wrong with recognizing our vulnerability. It is a natural form of wisdom. But it must be balanced with a commitment to live boldly. Without that, you will shrink away from anything that involves risk. Your instinctive fear of death will evolve into a stultifying fear of living.

If you find that you have given in to getting old, it’s not too late to make a new start.

First, make a list of everything you’ve ever wanted to do, every place you’ve ever wanted to see, and every dream you’ve wanted to fulfill.

Now cross out those you’ve accomplished.

Study the remaining items. Ask yourself why you haven’t accomplished them. What excuses are you giving yourself?

To change your life you need two things:

1. Courage

You need courage to wake up in the morning with a smile on your face. You need courage to go into work with a can-do attitude. You need courage to do all the things you have been putting off. (John F. Kennedy called this “the courage of your convictions.”)

2. A new path

To go in a new direction, you need a new path. And ETR is devoted to giving you dozens of proven paths to choose from. You need specific guidance from someone who’s been there — and that’s what you get with every one of our programs.

If you’ve been putting off starting a self-improvement program because, deep down inside, you are scared of the change it will bring, “sack up” as the kids say. Sack up and do it.

  • “There’s almost nothing you can’t do in the second half of your life.”

    Wrong in two places. 1. There’s absolutely nothing you can’t do. 2. I’m 56. I reckon I’ve started my second quarter, not second half.

    What you said about vulnerability, etc. is all true. In my case, I’ve come to the pits because of foolish choices in the past and because of being too cautious in the present. Now I’m ready to be a fool again, because being too conservative just isn’t working, and isn’t fun either.

    Your last comment was synchronous with my recent efforts. I not only started self-improvement immersion, I’m blogging about it so anyone else can benefit from my journey. Not meaning to spam your blog

    Good article.