Wisdom And Age

I have a mentor who has made millions of dollars as an entrepreneur. He currently works as a consultant to new business owners. He is highly respected as a thought-leader, and his company has worked with brands such as Berkshire Hathaway, Pfizer, and Ford.

He is 19 years old.

I know another entrepreneur who is 23 years old with a similar story. He created a web design company at 16 and just published a book about his life as an entrepreneur.

On a slight tangent, I’ve seen a lot of 40 and 50 year olds complaining about their jobs on the elevator ride to the 6th floor. Once, I heard a reference to the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ and how grateful they were that retirement was was only 20 years away!

Those people riding the elevator have lived about twice as long as the young entrepreneurs, but are they any wiser for it? I don’t think so. Are they happier? Definitely not!!

There’s an underlying assumption that young people are supposed to look up to the elderly for advice. I think differently. I think age has almost nothing to do with experience or wisdom.

“It’s not about the years in your life, but the life in your years.”

The young entrepreneurs I know have a lot of ‘life’ crammed in their years. Their years are practically overflowing. They started companies while most of us were still praying for internships!

The employees I met in the elevator didn’t seem to have much wisdom to talk about. If they had any, they sure didn’t apply any to feeling happy.


A measure of wisdom can’t accurately be drawn from a person’s age. Some 20 year olds make millions. ‘Wiser’ 50 year olds often don’t save enough for retirement.

What matters is not how long you have been in existence, but how long you have been really living.

When you’re really living, you are constantly learning and growing. You’re breaking down walls. You’re gaining new skills. You’re dealing with setbacks. You’re overcoming obstacles.

You’re constantly getting smarter, wiser, and better at what you do.

If I was looking for advice, I would trade 40 years of ‘going with the crowd’ wisdom for 5 years of ‘really living’ wisdom any day. Heck, 80% of people with ‘typical career’ wisdom dislike their situation anyway.

How much wisdom you have isn’t based on your age at all. It’s based on your learning experiences. (often, your failures) The days between your birth and today don’t count for anything unless you were purposefully learning something in the process.

Only the days when you tried something new add to your reservoir of wisdom.

Some people start gathering this wisdom on a daily basis at the age of 16. By 19 they’ve made so many mistakes that they know how to run a company.

Some people never plan a wisdom building day. Even though they’ve been alive for a long time, they haven’t learned much along the way.

Because so many people rarely plan active wisdom building days, it’s not far fetched to think that a 16 year old could catch up with daily effort.

If you’re like one of the young entrepreneurs mentioned here and take every single day as an opportunity for learning, it won’t take long to catch up to the 50 year olds who work to improve themselves just one week out of the year.

If you’re young, don’t let that stop you. Don’t feel like you need to wait 10 years to gain some esoteric ‘experience’ before really going after what you want.

You can do it now.

So many people in your position have done it before.