As motivational writer and coach, Dr. David J. Schwartz showed in his seminal work, The Magic of Thinking Big, many people reach 40 only to feel as though their best years are gone and think they have limited productive years ahead of them.
But the truth of the matter is that you’re far more likely to experience breakthroughs in business in your 40s than in your 20s or 30s. Here’s why.
You’re Ready for Change
If everything went swimmingly in your 30s, you might not be thinking about making any drastic changes to your life.
But most of us will have had frustrations, disappointments, and of course, failures in our 30s. This doesn’t mean we should ignore our successes. But there’s a good chance we won’t have accomplished everything we’ve set out to. And because of that, we’ll be more ready for change.
There may be things that:
- You knew to do but didn’t do (like making a business plan)
- You thought you wouldn’t need to do (because you’re smarter than that)
- You understand at a deeper level now than before (more on this later)
And if so, you’ll be far more likely to adopt the disciplines that will move your career or business forward in your 40s than in your 30s. You’ll be more teachable, and more willing to change.
You’ll Have Built the Foundations Necessary for Success
No matter what you’ve been up to in your career or business, and no matter how disconnected it may seem from what you’re planning for the future, by the time you’re 40, you’ve set many of the foundations in place to set yourself up for success in the next decade.
Consider the following:
- You’ve had the opportunity to observe. You’ve watched your partners, collaborators, managers, and/or bosses and you’ve seen how they run their end of the business. This has taught you most of what you need to know about running your business.
- You’ve built your network. Sure, you might not be as connected with your friends as you were in your 20s. But on the balance, your network has only expanded. It hasn’t shrunk! And now you know who you can call when you need help or advice.
- You’ve failed. A “head in the sand” approach to failure doesn’t work. It’s better to have experienced it and to have learned from it than to have coasted through life never trying. You’ll be better equipped to handle failure and bounce back from it faster.
You’ll Understand Everything at a Deeper Level
Most people are worried about cognitive decline as they reach mid age, but experience only makes you smarter, especially in the domain of business.
(And hopefully, you’re a long way off from experiencing cognitive decline in any significant way.)
What may have struck you as insignificant, unimportant, or harder to understand in your 30s will come into sharper focus in your 40s. Many of your “why” questions will be answered. The books you read, the training you went through, and the coaching you received will all make more sense and seem to have more depth to it now that you’re more experienced.
Even Think and Grow Rich author Napoleon Hill believed that 40 was the best time to get into business, and these thoughts are echoed by modern personal development gurus like Vishen Lakhiani too.
This isn’t to say that you should wait until your 40s for good things to happen. But you can’t control the timing of everything, and many entrepreneurs end up having their greatest successes in their 40s.