Age is just a number
Is there a certain age at which maturity sets in a person? No. Is there a specific look to specify ripeness? Obviously not. Do academic degrees add to maturity? No. Does social status help measuring a person’s maturity? No way. Are successful people more matured? Yes, they are. Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in 2004 at the age of 19, literally changing the way people communicate. Mark Zuckerberg had a radically new idea and he did not shy away from investing time and effort in it, he hardly knew if it would work. Facebook has changed the way people communicate. In my personal experiences, I have witnessed that age has little or nothing to do with being mature or immature. Some young children are mature; they take on responsibilities far better than older folks. And, I have observed older folks who behave childish and silly, only being concerned about themselves.
Demographers have traditionally relied on chronological age in studies of aging, but deep research on the topic suggests that it is only a number – what really matters is the physical and mental health. Perceived age is more important than your date of birth.
Colonel Sanders was well over 60 when he made it big with Kentucky Fried Chicken. Before that, he simply sold chicken and other food at a service station in Corbin, Kentucky. When the Interstate 75 (which is a major Interstate Highway in the Great Lakes and Southeastern regions of the United States) was built, it diverted all traffic away from his restaurant and his business was close to failing. Yet Sanders believed that he still had not lost it, and the business required some fresh chances. Instead of despairing or disorganizing through somehow, he adapted new methods. He walked the long miles, pitching his unique recipe and was even knocked back 1009 times before someone decided to give him a chance to birth what is now known today as the highly successful food chain KFC.
We are always growing and learning as human beings, all of us feel guilty about many of our behaviors or acts, we fear rejection, we fear failures, we feel jealous, we hate and I am sure that when we learn to support ourselves, we become independent emotionally and materially, and unknowingly we make fast spiritual progress too.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who is the founder of the Hare Krishna movement was 69 years old before he started the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKON). Prabhupada had been a chemist and a Sanskrit scholar in Calcutta, but in 1965 he came to New York City with just fifty bucks, a pair of cymbals, and a desire to spread the teachings of Lord Krishna. Bhaktivedanta Swami spent much of the last decade of his life setting up the institution of ISKCON. Since he was the Society’s leader, his personality and skills were responsible for much of ISKCON’s growth and the reach of his mission. It is worth noting that when it was suggested to him at the time of founding the ISKCON in 1966 that a broader term “God Consciousness” would be preferable to “Krishna Consciousness” in the title, he rejected this recommendation, suggesting that the name Krishna includes all other forms and concepts of God. After he had a group of followers in New York another center was started in San Francisco in 1967. From there he traveled throughout America with his disciples, popularizing the movement through street chanting (sankirtana)), book distribution and public speeches. Once he started the movement, there was no looking back. By 1977, he had a strong following.
Each person has a different level of emotional maturity; it is something one can work on continuously. Flexibility is a sign of maturity it means one can see each situation as unique and is capable to adapt his/her style accordingly. Another sign of maturity is when people take responsibility for their own life for all good, bad and ugly. They understand that their right or wrong actions and decisions are responsible for their situations. When things go wrong, they do not rush to blame others. They are capable of identifying and doing things differently. We don’t have answers for all problems, but we can identify the problem, and research the best way to device solution.
David Karp relied on the internet as a source of income, where he launched Tumblr at the age of 21. Like Zuckerberg, he had a revolutionary idea. He had been looking into tumble logs – very short blogs – before and thought a platform to promote these systematically could be successful. It turned out, he was right. To this date, Tumblr hosts over 100 million blogs making David Karp’s net worth more than $200 Million.
We all feel that people are creative during their youthful years; but the fact is that creativity does not decline with age for any natural, biological reason. Creativity is, it seems, just as strong in a child as it is in adults, not matter the age. The difference is not in creative ability, but in how those abilities are utilized.
You don’t have to start early to become the richest man in the world. Takichiro Mori was an economics professor until he left academia at age 55 to become a real estate investor in 1959. Mori had inherited a couple of buildings from his father, and he jumped headfirst into Tokyo’s real estate scene. Mori started his second career by investing in the Minato ward where he spent his childhood, and within a matter of years he was presiding over Japan’s real estate boom. Do you know, when Mori died in 1993, he was Forbes’ two-time reigning world’s richest man with a net worth of around $13 billion. He was considered Japanese Warren Buffet, though. Mori never seemed totally comfortable with the fame and fortune his second career won him. He dressed traditionally, abstained from alcohol, and lived a fairly modest life.
Creativity is the ability to think of new and novel ideas, as long as we have the drive to pursue those ideas, there is very little that can prevent us from doing so. To meet the challenges of tomorrow, one needs to learn and development today. One needs to have a desire to learn and a thirst for knowledge. Learning is indeed sign of maturity. The way things are done can always be improved. Successful people tackle setbacks and disappointments gracefully. Their emotional maturity helps them to express their feelings, identify the actions and move on with life.
Peter Roget showed us that it is never too late to make earth-shattering inventions, such as the Thesaurus, which he invented at age 73. He actually used what most people would see as character flaws or issues to his success. Suffering from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) the only thing that would calm him down was making random lists. In the end, he simply started on the infinite project of creating a list of synonymous words. Peter Roget’s ‘Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases’ has never been out of print since its introduction in market.
By the age of five, we innovate many new things, and our minds are very fertile. Children can do wonders. They need to be given their space that’s about it. In December 2010, a new mobile game app called “Bubble Ball” was launched on the Apple app store. In its first two weeks it received more than 1 million downloads, surpassing “Angry Birds” as the most downloaded free game from Apple. This game was built entirely by Robert Nay, a 14-year-old with no previous coding experience. According to CNN, Nay learned everything he needed to know through research at the public library, and produced 4,000 lines of code for his physics-based puzzle game in just one month. The teen entrepreneur’s company, Nay Games, released 24 new levels for “Bubble Ball” in August 2013.
Samuel Ullman – The great American humanitarian said it aptly: “nobody grows old merely living by number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideas. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul”.