“I'm too old to start now.” “It's too late for me.” “I'm too old to change.” How many times have you heard someone say these things? Have you ever said them yourself?
It’s sad how often we repeat these beliefs as if they are the unquestioned truth. The more we say something, the more we come to believe it is true. These beliefs limit us. When you say these things—when you really believe these things—it means you've stopped adapting to the world around you. It means you're stuck in the past and not adapting in the here-and-now. It is not a healthy mindset. I am often struck by how many people talk about dealing with their problems, yet they don't actually deal with them at all. They shun the idea of therapy by saying, “I can handle my own problems” or “I'm too old to change,” but they don't truly deal with their problems by talking about them. They don’t try to change their problematic behaviors and instead keep repeating the behaviors that cause the problems!
Older people also use the phrase “In my day” as a way to make the present inferior to the way “it used to be.” However, they use it as a way to excuse their non-participation in the present. Think about it—is today not your day?? Are you too old to learn something?? Of course not!
Sometimes we get complacent, and trying something different feels scary. However, remember that a flower in a small pot can only grow so far. An actor in Wichita, for example, who stays in Wichita, will only go as far as is possible in Wichita. That is fine for some people—being the big fish in the little pond can be satisfying. However, if you want to achieve greater things, you need to grow, to push your limits.
We all must keep growing until we die. It is the nature of all living things. It is never too late to start something that can enhance your life—be it piano lessons, or therapy, or quitting smoking.
Robert Curtiss, a former psychotherapist, works at Essay Management with personal manager John Essay, whom he helped to create TheActorsGuideToEverything.com.