A few years ago I posted my age at the time (23).
Since that time, I’ve had a fair bit of feedback from readers who were surprised at how young I am. A few criticised the fact that on this website I give advice on how to live life but I “haven’t lived enough” because I am only in my twenties..
You know what? Perhaps they are right.
But perhaps they are not.
The Stoics tell us to use objective reasoning in our lives. They tell us to see things for what they are.
His ship sank.
His ship sank.
The problem is that we assume that as we get older we automatically get wiser.
I simply don’t agree.
Our capability for wisdom probably increases, but it all depends on what we do with our lives.
Someone who has never bothered to do much shouldn’t automatically be perceived as having worthy opinions purely based on the amount of time they’ve been around.
Personally I feel that I’ve done more in the last six months than I did in the previous three years because I created a framework for myself, a way to think and analyse things.
If we never learn to see things for what they really are, does it matter how old we are? If we are never trying to improve the way we judge external events then a thousand lifetimes will not help us.
I see people ten, fifteen, fifty years older than me who are still not content, who are still searching for something and who simply have not learnt to live. They are disorganised, they are not happy, they do not see how lucky they are because they constantly want more.
In the meantime I’ve gone from living in a luxury apartment with my own grand piano to a single bedroom in a shared flat with no windows and a bathroom infested with insects and no hot water, and then eventually back to a great apartment.
Did my life take a turn for the worse? Not at all, simply because I accept the fact that my happiness and tranquility are independent of my surroundings.
In fact, I think I may be happier having had the experience of living on very little.
Does my age restrict me from making this judgement?
I own a fraction of the things that most other people own, yet I am intensely grateful for what I have and I often imagine how life would be without these things.
I am only 25.
Most people tend to learn in a rather peculiar fashion: from their own mistakes. Yes, it can be a brilliant way to learn, but at what cost? Isn’t it much better to spend time in reflection before taking actions and learning to see the mistakes ahead of time, so we can avoid them before they even happen?
I don’t think I know it all, and I certainly don’t want to discount experience as a way to learn and develop but I think people should be judged on their individual merits, whether they are old or young, male or female, black or white, etc.
When we start to do this, we may come to the conclusion that the “successful” people in our society perhaps are not so successful after all. Yes, they have fame, money, recognition and whatever else.
Are they immune from the human condition that is life?
If wealth is the key, why are not all rich people happy?
If recognition is the key, why are not all politicians happy? Why are they constantly involved in scandals?
Accelerated Learning is Key
I’ve discussed at length the benefits of working intelligently and making the best use of the time you spend working in my essays on The 80/20 Rule.
If one is able to crack this, you can find yourself developing as person faster than you could imagine. A year of concentrated effort will take you further along the road to living a good life than most people get in their entire life.
As a leaving thought, I want to make the case for withholding judgement whether possible. Don’t judge people by externals, judge them based on the actions they take, no matter how old they are.
Oh, and the photo that accompanies this essay (or should it be called a rant?) is of my stylish haircut circa 1993.
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