Photo by Markus Winkler from Unsplash
Ever since we were kids, we see these remarkable people with too-good-to-be-true lives that just seem impossible. These were the people we looked up to. And as we continue to watch them achieve these goals, we feel more and more miserable. We try to copy their goals, their routines, their work ethic— every detail that we think makes up for their success. We make the crucial mistake of comparing others’ lives to ours and being upset when we realize both are completely different. And when we’ve finally accepted it’s in our hands to build a better future, we feel small and helpless.
We start contemplating where we are right now in life and worry about how little time we have left to achieve a goal before our next birthday. The fact that many arbitrary lists exist in the minds of people, especially the ones in their twenties, is wild. Why are society’s standards of a “better” or more “excellent” success is when you attain it while you’re young? I believe true success does not depend on how soon you achieved a goal or how old you were when you reaped the fruits of your labor. It’s easy for people to compare the successes of others by criticizing how long they accomplished such.
That is how society views a person and discredits his effort, but it shouldn’t have to be this way. The question we should all ask is this: Why do we feel more pride in our achievements if we pull them off at an early age? Is it because our youth is something temporary and a challenge in itself? Or is it because youth is difficult to explore and manage, and so achieving success at this stage in your life is supposed to mean more? No matter how hard we try, life is not something we can easily organize or predict. We all have different upbringings and circumstances in our lives, so we don’t have the same stories to tell. We can’t make youth the objective metric that decides this success is more meaningful than the other, because youth can exist at different points in our life.
EVERYONE IS GUILTY OF DOING THIS
The reality is, everyone is guilty of linking his achievement to an age. It is very common and is even considered a “trend” across different social media platforms. I can’t even begin to understand the pressure on our hands to live up to society’s expectations. Somehow, all of us are trapped in our own imaginary cages, and until we make something remarkable in our life, we would never be able to be free. There’s immense tension in finding our potential and using it for something we’re really good at.
It’s like we’re programmed into thinking every age consists of goals and milestones that we should accomplish. Otherwise, we are lost in life and doomed to fail. Some don’t even recognize their talents until they are no longer capable of doing it or if they have lost interest. Not everyone knows early what they want to do in life, so they mostly start late. This obsession of not wanting to let anybody down even at the expense of our happiness is beyond harmful. How we dedicate a huge amount of our time to fulfilling the wishes of other people, especially the ones closest to our hearts, is overwhelming. It breaks our hearts to choose something other than what we’re passionate about. But this dilemma is far more common in the youth, especially in the twenties.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO TO AVOID THIS SOCIETAL PRESSURE?
Before you overwhelm your mind with all these unrealistic goals to fit in a rigorous timeline, know exactly what you want to achieve. Study your goals. Reflect on how you plan to achieve them, step by step. Do your research. Find out what you need to prepare or what courses of action you need to take to get you in the right direction. Refrain from comparing your progress with others so you can focus on yourself without feeling bitter about their accomplishments.
Ask people how long it took to achieve their goals. Although the process is different, it’s better to have an idea of what you need to expect if you decide to go down a similar route. Instead of tying your achievement to a certain age, be completely honest with yourself and evaluate where you stand in life. Dwell on the circumstances you currently face and see what you can do to grow despite them.
We hear a lot of people say your twenties is the time you should hustle hard until you bleed. They say your twenties offer youth, energy, time, and fewer commitments, which is a huge advantage over those who start later. But is this really the kinder way to make every moment count? Is it fair to assume everyone goes through the same things just because they’re in the same age group? The consistent action of good habits is more important than how fast you get to your dreams. This means you need to have a specific goal-setting plan and execute it according to your goals. Most importantly, work hard for them. It doesn’t matter if your productivity goes up or down on different days. What matters is you find within you the will to do the work even if there are many struggles.
Keep in mind there is no right age for success and achievement. There shouldn’t be a limit to your capability regarding when you should aim high and when you should enjoy life. In today’s era of technology, the opportunities for success are much higher than before. At any age, you can chase your dreams anytime, anywhere. You can get your work noticed in a relatively short amount of time if you provide enough value and stand out among the others.
Another way to keep you consistent with your good habits is to acknowledge yourself for doing an amazing job. Whatever you have achieved in your lifetime, be very proud of it. Don’t forget to appreciate yourself for the sacrifices you’ve been through. Otherwise, your actions become constricted because you feel guilty for enjoying a bit of life when you have an arbitrary deadline to meet. Remember, speed is relevant. If you go too fast with your goals, the tendency is you are likely to experience burnout. If you go too slow, many others will get to your dreams first before you do. But if you have a strong and consistent desire to work on your goals, age is no longer a hindrance.
We need to remember that achievement is not and never will be bound by age. A lot of people start seeing results in their careers late. But just because it takes so long to do, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You can achieve anything you put your mind to, even if it means breaking some barriers that are meant to hold you back. All our achievements begin with a confident and tenacious mindset. You have to convince your mind you can achieve your dream. Forcing yourself to achieve a particular milestone you have to reach by 30, 40, and so on, only slows you down. Although a good amount of pressure can help, having this thinking only gives you weak motivation.
“Achievement, in the long run, is that which serves the betterment of those around us through sharing, giving, encouragement and compassion.”Byron R. Pulsifer