Age ain’t nothin’ but a number.

At the age of 27, Jason Day is feeling a little old. No wonder. World number one Rory McIlroy is 25 and number two Jordan Spieth is 21. It is the first time the two top ranked players have been 25 or under.

I saw this on the same day as a scientist argued that, given the improvements in health, 60 is the new start of middle age. If Joe Hockey’s right and some children born now might
reach 150 then middle age is going to last a long time!

For societies long built on the culture of youth this will be a profound change. There are plenty of 40 year olds (let alone those somewhat older) who will confirm how difficult it is to get work at the moment. Not that there’s anything new in young people achieving great things.

In golf, Tom Morris won the British Open in 1868 at 17 — a year older than Jessica Watson when she made history with her solo voyage around the world. I was initially cautious about Jessica’s plans but was soon won over by virtue of her indomitable spirit and steely
resolve. There was — both before and after the adventure — an assuredness that was was as convincing as it was under-stated.

You could see it in Jordan, too, at The Masters. The quiet certainty that he was ready. To have that kind of skill and to be able to handle the extreme pressure at just 21 is an extraordinary thing.

Perhaps one of the advantages of youth is that you are yet to experience failure or endure too many setbacks. Confidence remains unchecked and the risk/reward equation is tilted towards going for it. It can be a mistake to try to reign that in. Equally it is wrong to think there is anything new in the triumph of youth.

David was a teenager (and very much the outsider) when he took on the older, more experienced Goliath. The old saying was probably new at the time: good enough, old enough. As Nadia Comaneci proved at 14 with her beauty and genius in Montreal in 1976.

As Pele showed at age 17 in the World Cup of 1958 and as Jesse Owens displayed at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. His grace, talent and dignity a stunning contrast to his Nazi hosts.
It works the other way as well. Whilst Michelangelo created David at 28, DaVinci waited until he was 51 before painting Mona Lisa into immortality.

Charles Darwin was 50 when On the Origin of Species was published. Nelson Mandela had walked a long road in his 76 years before becoming his country’s President, while Capt.
Chesly Sullenberger put all his 57 years of experience to work in landing US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson in 2009. And not to forget Colonel Sanders who began his famous franchise at 61! Greg Norman no doubt wishes Jack Nicklaus had listened to the critics who said he was too old at 46 when he pipped The Shark in the Masters in 1986.

The question of age is a distraction from the more important qualities people possess.

Samuel Ullman said it best: “You are as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fears; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”

You are never either too young or too old to achieve your dreams.

Albert Einstein proved the relativity of all things with his famous theory. He was 26
at the time.

Do you believe age is a barrier in today’s society? Let us know in the comments below.

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