Not a particularly interesting subject

Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough.” – Don Marquis

As I blog on the eve of my birthday, my thoughts turn to age and how organizations (if they were conscious beings) seem fascinated with age.   You have the young-up-and-comers and you have the aged sages.  How dull!

I loathe the fact that how old you are seems to matter more than whether or not you have a good idea, a workable idea, one that will make the organization more effective toward its goal.  We give away more awards in categories with Under 40 or Career Achievement (read: Retirement Award), but fewer for best idea or most transformative solution.  Perhaps because age is easier to certify than best or most, but who said it had to be easy?

Now, I could only be saying that because I’m aging myself into the hole where I’m not the young bright eyed one nor am I old enough to be considered the sage, but I don’t think that’s it.  I think we focus, unconsciously, on the age of the person giving us the idea instead of purely on the idea.  We test first for credibility based on age, before credibility based on physics, or accounting or name-your-field’s-important-aspect.

Next time you catch yourself judging an idea in part by how old the person is offering it, pause. Stop yourself. Then start thinking about the idea again.

We can only retrain our minds one at a time.

Let’s drive some change. Shall we?

2 thoughts on “Not a particularly interesting subject”

  1. April,
    I think that some of the reason we are quick to compare ages has to do with our school system, where we move through the process lock step with our classmates. We decided to home school our kids and they seem to be less affected by age. Just a thought. As I move closer to 50 years old I wonder about opportunities that are no longer available, not because of my ability or intelligence, simply beause I am older.

  2. There’s something to be said about how we relate to life based on our age. It starts as an infant. The milestones of sitting alone, rolling over, crawling, walking, etc.

    Then we get to school and we have charts again that teachers look to and report if your child is reading at, above or below grade level.

    Through life we have milestones that become expectations. It’s endless the things we compare our lives to.

    The reason I enjoy listening to the young and the old is found in Joel. Verse 2 begins with “Hear this, O elders…Has anything like this happened in your days Or in your fathers’ days?” Joel 2:28 says Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.”

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