As you age, you will start to feel the squeeze of time. Your own time. And specifically how much of it you have left in this brief life. Truly none of us know if we'll see another day, or another hour, but beyond being frozen in the mire of our inevitable fatality, you go with the averages, do some math, and figure out that you have less life ahead (than more). And you start to ask yourself — is this it, have I achieved all that I am or can be?
Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.
— George Sheehan
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began touring and performing at the age of 6. Isaac Newton created an entire new system of mathematics (infinitesimal calculus) at the age of 23. Mark Zuckerberg, "creator" of Facebook, is worth nearly $20 billion at the age of 27. The message is clear. We hear it all the time. Be young. Get rich. Find fame. Be successful. This is the ultimate goal in life. Culture glorifies youth, fame and wealth as the definition of success. The skewed view has marred our perceptions of what it means to succeed. The clock ticks and the longer we go without that unattainable feat, the more we feel that we're failures.
You will never find fame and riches at a young age (and by "young", I mean under 30 years old). You will be a failure (if those are the terms by which you determine success). But take heart, that is not success. Success depends upon knowing oneself. To know yourself is (often) a long pursuit of mistakes and missteps, redirection and learning. Who are you? What do you do best? What are you passionate about? How can you take your skills, passion and personality and make a living from it? Success is as much personal as it is corporate. Success is about your personal feeling of fulfilment and satisfaction.
It can take decades upon decades to discover your passion, find fulfillment and tie all the pieces of who you are into a career. A living. A life. There are right or wrong pursuits (well, ok, if you're a Juggalo at 49 years old, you are a failure, I don't care if you're passionate and fulfilled, you're wearing clown make-up and writing poetry about farts; you need to start over). Failure is about unrealistic expectations. Success is not about age or wealth or fame, but about achievable perception.