How Young Is Too Young To Succeed?
If Alexander Hamilton at the age of 22 or Thomas Jefferson at 33 decided to teach you a thing or two about becoming a nation, you might want to lend an ear.
🤘Thanks for reading! If you like what you see and want some more, you should subscribe!🤘
I’ve seen a few posts recently that have given me pause as I attempt to do something challenging at a relatively young age.
Adam Fishmann wrote a really great hot take about 25 year old “startup coaches” where he calls out people claiming to be coaches but likely don’t have enough experience to claim the title.
Elena Verna also wrote a piece about the bad and ugly of the growth world where she talks about the dangers of claiming a title without having earned it including the harm you can do to the industry.
I’m glad these posts exist, I think it’s important to call out mediocrity and encourage all of us to be better.
You need to know your stuff, you have to earn your stripes, so I don’t mean to bash these posts, but they have made me self reflect and ask myself “do I know what I’m talking about?” “should I be doing what I’m doing?” “Am I a 25 year old startup coach (I’m not 25 😮💨)?”
This has caused me reflect on 2 different types of people:
Those who are young, but experienced
Those who are young, inexperienced, and still successful
Young But Experienced
Let me introduce you to two personal examples I have of the young, but highly experienced group.
(Grandpa) Tim Martin
My grandparents are some of the most impressive people I’ve ever met, and it’s truly an honor to be related to them. This story is about my grandfather, who truly inspires me.
Born in 1945, he grew up in the Las Vegas, Nevada area in relatively average circumstances.
He did well in school and after high school was accepted into the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland to study Nuclear Engineering.
He graduated top of his class in the 1960’s (right in the middle of The Cold War) and was responsible for a nuclear submarine that was performing top secret missions in hostile environments.
He was 23 years old.
He, at age 23, was the person responsible for everything that had to do with the nuclear reactor powering their submarine loaded with nuclear warheads in the middle of the cold war. At 23 years old.
Talk about a high pressure job.
(Dad) Tim Martin Jr.
My dad was a pilot in the United States Air Force for 20 years. He logged 189 flight hours on the T-38’s (supersonic training jets)
For the rest of his flying career (thousands of flight hours) he flew C-17s (cargo planes for tanks and supplies)
And Boeing 737s (carrying Naval admirals and leadership in the pacific area).
He tells a funny story, that I love, about trying to rent a car while on vacation, but the rental company wouldn’t let him because he wasn’t 25, he was 24.
So in order to solve this problem he called his USAF supervisor who made the argument that if the government of the United States trusted this 24 year old with the responsibility of flying a $340 million dollar C17, the rental car company should be ok with him renting a $20,000 sedan.
The rental car company decided that was persuasive and allowed my 24 year old dad to rent a car.
Young, Inexperienced and Successful
Here are some interesting tidbits about ages of successful people:
In 1776 at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was 33, Alexander Hamilton was 21, Betsy Ross was 24.
Martin Luther King Jr was 34 when he gave his dream speech.
Jesus was 30 when he started his mission and crucified at 33.
Buddha attained enlightenment at 35.
Alexander the Great was 20 when he became king.
Steve Jobs was 21 when he and Woz started Apple (Wozniak was 25).
Many, if not all of these examples were very young by most standards. But they didn’t let age, nor inexperience, hold them back from accomplishing incredible things.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak didn’t know what they would create, they just had ideas and tried to bring them to life.
Can you imagine being 21 in a group full of revolutionaries and DECIDING TO START YOUR OWN NATION??? Sometimes my friends say something controversial and I get nervous. These guys were meeting in pubs and talking about how to become their own country.
I don’t mean this post to be an excuse for inexperience or youth or mediocrity, but I do want it to be a call to action that anyone can do incredible and great things regardless of their age or experience, you’ll gain both along the way, so long as you are committed and driven.
Conclusion: Training and Experience > Age
Age is just a number, but training and experience are not (well they are, but you know what I mean).
The United States Navy didn’t let my grandpa jump on a sub without the know-how. My dad wasn’t allowed to aircraft command his plane until he had 1,000+ flight hours. Both of my personal examples had put in the work and had earned their stripes, they just also happened to do it fairly young.
Broadly, I agree, we don’t need any more 25 year old startup coaches without experience, but if my 25 year old dad or 23 year old grandpa decided to teach me something about flying a C-17 or operating the nuclear core of a submarine, I think it would be well worth my time to listen, despite the amount of years they had been on the Earth. If Alexander Hamilton at the age of 22 or Thomas Jefferson at 33 decided to teach you a thing or two about becoming a nation, you might want to lend an ear.
Don’t let someone’s age be the reason you don’t give them a shot, maybe (maybe) consider their lack of experience as a positive.
This post isn’t particularly related to growth or experimentation, this is just the post I needed to write to believe in myself and to believe in all of you who are young and trying to do incredible things.
I don’t believe age is an inhibiting factor, I believe experience and willing to gain it are.
🧑🔬 I Promise I’m Not To Young To Succeed 🧑🔬
Share Experimentation Labs Newsletter
Was this forwarded to you? Sign up here.
Submit a guest post to be featured in the newsletter.
Want to advertise with Experimentation Labs? Go here.
Have an idea I should share? Submit here.
🤘Well what did you think? If this resonated, subscribe for more!🤘