As a society, we herald those people who bloom ahead of our expectations. We’re amazed by the 10-year-old in the pre-calculus class, the 32-year-old director of the Oscar-winning film, and the 24-year-old city council member with presidential aspirations.
We all have been around—or read about—people like this. In some cases, their existence inspires us. In other cases, these savant-like folks drive us a bit crazy. As creatures of relative satisfaction, any time we hear about youthful high-achievers, we can’t help but consider whether we are impressive enough. While this notion may motivate some, just as often it provokes self-defeating thoughts.
So instead, let’s remember to celebrate those whose persistence led them to do something inspiring later than “expected.” The 82-year-old composer who just debuted, the 57-year-old opening his first hair-design academy, and the 92-year-old record-setting marathon runner.
Sometimes, to do better work, we have to first relieve ourselves of unhealthy expectations. Too many conversations ring of self-defeat, of having missed the window of opportunity. In this case, we have to remember that the important thing isn’t to bloom on a timeline deemed impressive by the general populace—it’s to bloom at all. Perhaps that’s in a noteworthy way that ends up in a newspaper article, or in a less prominent, but no-less-important way that never will.
We have the choice to relieve ourselves from the debilitating pressure of blooming yesterday, last year, or last decade. Is this easy? No. Is it worthwhile? If you value your mental health, I’d say so. Otherwise, we risk the feeling of being too old or too late, when don’t have to be.
Here’s to a great week,
This is Max’s note—a weekly message from Lessonly’s CEO about learning, leadership, and doing Better Work. Sign up below to subscribe via email. No spam, we promise!