Published On: Thu, Dec 21st, 2017

Is it Too Late to Start Something New?

Age is only a state of mind and inertia can strike an individual at any point in their lives. Inertia can completely alter our behaviour and mindset, driving us deeper into the pits of uncertainty. With unclear purpose, many of us suffer from a lack of drive to change the boundaries we believe responsible for inhibiting our development. Sometimes the greatest obstacles to our success is our mindset.

Whether you’re retired, near retirement or even in your 30s, realize it’s never too late to start something new. The key to beginning new journeys in life begins with a passion. Harness this passion to serve as the springboard to map your new life chapter upon. With the right resources, a willingness to adapt, and effective time management skills, you will be prepared to take on new challenges in life and overcome unfamiliar obstacles.

photo courtesy of Greenberg Health

Looking to make a change in life and improve your position? As they say, the hardest part of the journey is beginning it.

Learning to Adapt

No matter your age, people are always driven to improve or maximize the utility of their present position. This often involves making radical changes in our lifestyle, which leave us inherently uncomfortable. Aside from sheer risk aversion, many of us hold up excuses that we’re too old to start a new job, get an education, or, take the steps necessary to make us happy.

Use the past to your advantage. Rather than getting sucked into feelings of melancholy and euphoria looking at the past, we should use it as our right-of-passage and a form of confidence.

In fact, I believe the older you get, the more adept you are at change. Business savvy comes with experience and wisdom that we can use to guide us to the people and opportunities in our lives that will yield the greatest return on our satisfaction.

Big changes can also come through smaller, iterative changes. I’ve spoken with many of my contemporaries and found it to be common for seniors to suffer from feelings of isolation and purposelessness.  Breaking this cycle starts with small changes, whether it be volunteering in the local community, joining a club, or taking courses at a local college.

Many people also fail to embrace change. Any business or individual will fail to succeed in life without adapting to their surrounding environment. Darwin’s central thesis on evolution and survival has at its core the notion of adaptation. As Stephen Hawking stated, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”

One of the best resources to begin making a change in your life is through continuing education.  

photo pixabay

Continuing My Education

The question really isn’t whether I should continue my education, but how should I do so.

According to most psychologists, our brains actually become hard wired by the age of 25 and our personality becomes less fluid. Learning new tasks becomes difficult and newly formed neural pathways become more fragile.

One way to keep our minds nimble is by constantly trying to learn new, complex tasks. Continuing your education is one way to practice new skills and promote healthy cognitive development, so you need to stick with it. There are supplements for eye health and medications for any physical ailments, but continued education is the best way to keep your brain healthy.

Continuing your education may also provide you with new experiences, connections, knowledge, and insight that will allow you to identify new opportunities previously unknown to you. Professors and interesting courses can also challenge you and help you to grow as an individual.

There are many options to choose from, including online courses and evening classes. There are even free technology courses that offer certificates designed for older people looking to develop their technological prowess.

Many colleges allow local seniors to take classes for free or at reduced rate. Search around and contact the admissions office at your local college to see what programs are free to the public or qualify for a reduced rate for seniors.

Continuing education provides us with a sense of purpose, which promotes a more positive mindset. Everyday more and more seniors are enrolling for college courses and even pursuing post-graduate education degrees.

photo/ Gerd Altmann

Starting a Business

Age may be the entrepreneur’s best friend. Contrary to popular belief, the average age of entrepreneurs in the US at the time of their first launch is 40 years old. Case studies have also found that entrepreneurs over 55 are twice as likely than entrepreneurs under the age of 35 to launch a high-growth startup.

In fact, entrepreneurs 55 and older remain the fastest growing segment of new small business owners in the market. The Kauffman Foundation found that 26% of entrepreneurs in 2015 were between the age of 55 and 64. This is up from 15% in 1997.

Experience goes a long way in the business world from solving complex tasks to managing employees. Older entrepreneurs also have more experience in managing their finances and may have more capital saved up to finance their business.

Consider the case of 79 year old Hiroshi Morihara, who invested $1 million of his retirement savings to create HM3. His project converts biomass into briquettes as a clean replacement for coal. With the potential to disrupt the energy industry, HM3 partnered with Japanese energy giant, New Energy Development, and is attempting to license the technology to power plants all across the United States. Oh yeah, Hirosihi still runs marathons.

Even if an entrepreneur doesn’t have the resources or education necessary to start a business on their own, they can surround themselves with experienced mentors who can aid in the task. Mentors will appreciate that you have made a firm decision and will follow through.  SCORE and the Small Business Administration (SBA) are excellent resources to find educational materials and mentors who assist small business owners in creating a business plan and launching their business.

A Gallup poll found that 80% of aging entrepreneurs launched businesses to supplement retirement income or keep their minds engaged. Beyond getting rich, many aging Americans seek to run a business for the flexibility of being able to stay active, but also have free time for personal endeavours.

Of course, you don’t need to launch a business to keep the mind active. Many people are opting to stay in the workforce instead of retiring entirely. Americans 65 and older are employed at the highest rate in 55 years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2024, 40% of Americans 65 to 69 years old will remain in the labor force.

Whether you’re starting a new job or launching a startup, your ability to learn new tasks and communicate with others will be greatly aided by your years of experience in the workforce.

You Can Always Take a New Road

Don’t let age serve as an excuse or hinderance for making a change. With age comes education and the ability to respond to change, something our younger contemporaries are still developing.

New adventures lead us to new places, which grants us a greater perspective of the world and people around us. The first step to starting a new journey involves brainstorming and collecting the resources to execute on your plan or idea. You don’t need to buy an RV and start a whole new life, you just need to figure out what you want to do and map the steps to success. Once you have the financial resources, you must also deploy the cognitive resources necessary to make such a change. Passion and a positive mindset really are keys to a more fulfilled life.

Author: Amanda Ohls

Amber is a writer from Tampa, Florida. In her spare time she enjoys walking on the beach and fishing.

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    […] Others have found driving customers, with Lyft or Uber, to be a great way to make extra money. Take the plunge. It’s never too late to try something […]

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