Several months ago I had lunch with a group of young professionals and a friend who happens to be the Founding Headmaster of an independent school here in Baton Rouge. I have done work sporadically for this friend for over 20 years. His school was founded in 1965 and my friend has been its only Headmaster. Though I do not know his exact age, I would guess mid-seventies.
The purpose of our meeting was to gather some data regarding how his school is run as the young professionals are board members of another school for which I consult.
What a beautiful mind! His passion and drive are contagious. Through our discussions over the years I have noticed his zeal for his mission in life…the advancement of educating those who choose to attend his school. I sense that he fears nothing in his quest to stay up to date on new systems, ideas, and technology in learning. My friend has evolved and continues to evolve. His eagerness to discuss his experiments with different teaching techniques, hiring policies, financial plans (they may even be called “schemes”!), and other ways to just “make it work” are admirable for their creativeness.
On the other hand, I have recently been involved with several groups of middle-aged business persons who, simply put, are stagnant. They have achieved a modicum of success in the past and seem content to rest on their laurels. Their attitude screams of frustration that times have changed and what worked in the past doesn’t today. They have not evolved and seem to not want to try.
Disappointed is how I feel. Potential wasted.
My take away? Age has little to do with energy. Age has little to do with passion. Age has little to do with attitude. Age has little to do with achievement and success.
BTW…I just turned 50…maybe that is why I noticed this contrast in behavior. Please keep reminding me to be receptive to change…the alternative is irrelevance.