Our society has built a culture that gives the impression that you are supposed to hit your prime around middle age and then slowly begin to prepare for retirement. The worst part about this mindset is that it can be a source of discouragement for anyone that is looking to do something great later in life. I have heard the excuses, "I'm too old now to do that" or "that's a young man's game." I think we are more equipped the older we get to accomplish great things because every new day provides a unique opportunity to gain experience, grow, and learn. Here are a few examples to prove that with the right mindset you can hit your stride later in life:
1) Truett Cathy was twenty-five when he opened his first restaurant in Hapeville, Ga, forty-three when he invented the original chicken sandwich, and forty-five when he opened his first "Chick-Fil-A" restaurant in a shopping mall. Cathy didn't open his first free-standing restaurant until he was sixty-five, but then opened his 500th store at the age of seventy-two. Today, Chick-Fil-A will generate close to six billion dollars in annual revenue.
2) Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart in 1962 at the age of forty-four. At the age of fifty-four, he had fifty-one stores. At the age of sixty-six, Sam did the Hula dance on Wall Street, fulfilling a promise he made to his employees for achieving their annual goal. In his later years, he received his cancer treatments from a hospital bed that was placed in his office.
3) Bernie Marcus was forty-nine years old when he and Arthur Blank were fired from Handy Dan's Hardware. This "tragedy" is what led them to a restaurant where they mapped out the initial plan for Home Depot. He was sixty when they opened their 100th store and seventy-seven when they expanded to China.
All of these are great examples of people with the growth mindset that did not let their age become a source of discouragement. It probably would have been easy for Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank to start thinking about retirement after being fired at the age of forty-nine, but instead they saw it as an opportunity to take what they had learned through all of their experience to create something great. If you think you are past your prime, change your mindset and think of yourself as a palm tree. It is one of the only trees on earth that gets stronger with each new day. It's last day on earth is its best.