Have you ever thought about something that you really want to achieve? Perhaps some dream that gets you really excited and you know would change your life. Have you ever been in the middle of feeling this excitement, only to have thoughts like this shut it down?
"I'm too old. It's too late. Forget it."
I know I have...and so has just about every person I've ever talked to. When people really open up and are honest, they say things like this (these are exact quotes from people):
"I'm afraid that I'm too old or it's too late or that I won't be successful at it."
"I have fear that I'm too far behind everyone else so why should I even start?"
"I have dreams but I'm afraid of starting at this point in my life. I feel like I waited too long!"
This fear is pervasive. It's nasty. It keeps us stuck. It keeps us from living out our dreams. And you know what? I've heard about it from people of all ages.
I remember a conversation I had with a good friend of mine a few years ago. This friend was in his late-twenties at the time and he had already created multiple successful, highly profitable companies.
He was a multimillionaire by the time he was 25. He had one of the most successful blogs in a very competitive niche. He got paid a lot of money to speak...and on and on. Even with all of that success, he still felt like it was 'too late' for him.
Friend: "You know that I don't really feel like a success, right?"
Me: "How can you say that? Look at everything you've ALREADY accomplished."
Friend: "Yeah but Mark Zuckerberg was already a multi-billionaire by the time he was my age and I'll never be able to match that. I'm already too old."
I used to be really hung up on this as well (actually, if I'm really being honest, I still can be at times) until someone helped me understand that it's really never too late and that there's no such thing as "too old".
Who was this person that helped me so much?
It wasn't Oprah, Richard Branson or even Warren Buffett. It wasn't one of my mentors or anyone I'd ever met or even heard speak.
It was a woman named Anna Mary Robertson Moses, the self-taught 'farm housewife' who became a renowned American folk artist and legend.
Her works have been shown and sold around the world. Her paintings are among the collections of many museums (including the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art). One of her paintings sold for $1.2 million in 2006. She was even on the cover of Time Magazine:
There have been thousands of reproductions of her work along with china, fabrics, tiles, and greeting cards. Altogether some 48 million of her greeting cards have been sold in the US alone.
Guess how old she was when she got started?
SEVENTY-EIGHT! That's right, 78 years-young when she seriously began painting.
Anne, better known as Grandma Moses, exhibited her work internationally into her 90s and painted until a few months before her death at age 101.
She had no connections. No training. No money. By all accounts, she was way too old to start pursuing her dream. But not only did her age and lack of connections and training not hold her back, it actually worked to her advantage.
Grandma Moses' rags-to-riches saga captured the American imagination. People took heart in a real-life tale that seemed to prove that "it's never too late." And the media never seemed to tire of repeating Moses' fairy-tale story.
So if Grandma Moses could START at 78 and live out her dream and achieve success... well, we really don't have any excuses then, do we?