PFA 015: It's never to late to change
The Prepare for Awesome Podcast
PFA 015: Show notes
On today’s show, we will be talking about personal development, change, age and time.
#PrepareForAwesome #Change #SelfHelp #Success #PersonalDevelopment #Motivation #Life #Podcast #PersonalGrowth
One of the most widely held myths is that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. And the idea is that as you get older, you become more set in your ways, habits, thoughts, etc and you become too old to learn new skills or to change and become better today than you were yesterday.
I have heard it so often in business and in life in general that it almost makes me ill just hearing it.
A few years ago I was sitting in a meeting with a client talking about social media and how it can be effectively used in their business to grow into new areas and open their products up to a whole new market space.
One of the directors sitting at the table with his arms crossed and a clearly closed mind, said, ‘Vic, I am 55 and have no time to learn these new things you are talking about. But our market is mainly people of my age who like me don’t care much for social media and frankly don’t see why we need to change anything we are doing. After all, it has served us well since the business was started by my grandfather.’
‘Firstly, how old would you guess I am? Secondly, what is your conclusion regarding who uses social media based on? And thirdly, as you know, I have seen the turnover and profitability of the business which is why you asked me to come in. With the current state of the business and the predicted continued decline, why would you not want to change what is clearly no longer working?’
Conversely, I was chatting with a gentleman at the gym recently, who had retired from the the local council 13 years ago. As we chatted, he made a statement which I found really exciting and encouraging.
The statement was, ‘Vic I have learned more new skills in the past 13 years and had more adventures than I ever did in the 40 years of working for the council and previously in retail. I have learned about social media, Skype and Whatsapp. I have learned how to ski, wakeboard and scuba dive. But most importantly, I have learned that if I change the way I think everything can change.’
Novelist and poet, Mary Anne Evans aka George Eliot, said, ‘Its never too late to be what you might have been.’
Obviously, reason and reality must play a role, for example, if you had always wanted to be a heavyweight boxing champion, but are now 50 years old it’s not going to happen.
But if you have always wanted to be an entrepreneur and are 50 years old, it’s not too late to learn the skills and become what you wanted to become.
I have recently been reading a lot about inventors and the inventions which have had a major impact on the world and one story stood out to me because of where that product is today and how it is being distributed.
Everyone who has ever shaved probably knows the name Gillette, but few people know the story behind the name.
King Camp Gillette was born in 1855 and raised in Chicago where, in spite of his family surviving the great fire of 1871, he was forced to go to work to help support the family. In the 1890’s, while working for the Crown Seal & Cork Company as a door-to-door salesman, his boss noticed he was a better inventor than he was a salesman and suggested that he should invent “something that would be used and thrown away” so that customers would keep coming back over and over again.
Then, one summers day in 1895 after nicking himself shaving for the umpteenth time because of the dull blade on his straight razor, he was struck by the idea of a product which would be safe to shave with and discarded when the blade became dull. And in an instant, the disposable razor blade was conceived as an idea. It would take until 1901, working with metallurgist William Nickerson, to make this idea a reality and to sell their first razor and blade.
Gillette was 46 by the time his product came to market, no background in metallurgy, manufacturing or business and yet within 2 years of starting the business, the company had produced over 90 000 razors and 123 000 blades. And that was at $5 a set, which was equal to half the average person’s weekly wage!
Never too old to try something new. Never to old to learn. Never to old to change direction.
And history is littered with stories of people who had changed direction and been successful in their later years. People like Harland Sanders of KFC fame and James Spangler, who at the age of 60 and asthmatic, working as a carpet sweeper in a dusty store basement, designed and developed the first commercially viable portable electric vacuum cleaner.
Never too old, and never too late to start new and become the person you could be.
You see, we know from the results of research into the functionality of the human brain, that the brain can and does continue to develop and re-organise synaptic connections. This re-organisation is influenced by the ongoing exposure to your existing or new environments and behaviours. Your brain will follow you if you change your environment and your behaviours.
However, this is not just about older age and change. Change, learning new skills and personal development should begin early on.
Take my young friend, Jordan Hastie for example. 19 years old with a massive dream and the desire to get there. He completely knows his way around social media and marketing, but there are many other skills which he is like a sponge sucking up.
So it may never be too late to change, but equally, it is never too early to change either.
This week, can I encourage you to identify 2 areas of your life you would like to make changes, whether it is with your weight or your attitude and then to define how you will feel when those changes have been made.
Write down the emotion you will feel when you have lost the weight or become so positive in your outlook that other people notice or you have changed the way in which you react to situations.