Are You An Old Fart? 5 Mindset Shifts To Make When You Feel Too Old Or Irrelevant

Have you ever felt too old or irrelevant and that it is a young person's world?  Well, what a load of crap.  It is all in your head!  People can feel this at 30, 50 or 70...and the only thing they have in common is their mindset.

It might feel real, and it might be that the world isn't geared up to recognise all the strengths, talents and experience you bring.  Ultimately though, it is up to you whether you take it lying down or whether you get up and show the world what you have got.

The Big Reframe

The driving beliefs for this kind of mindset are "I'm too old...", "I'm irrelevant" and "The world has changed, and all the young people are getting the jobs/awards/whatever".  We have written about resourceful and unresourceful mindsets before, and if you hold this kind of mindset, you are not going to be feeling great.

Two things...  

First, too old or irrelevant for what precisely?  Too old to change career or start a new business?  Too old to change and skill up?  Too old to put yourself in the frame?   These kinds of statements are sweeping generalisations that often don't stand up to examination.

Second, this mindset needs to shift from "I'm too old" to "experience and wisdom are a MASSIVE strength".  Anyone at any age can learn skills and knowledge, but experience is hard earned and comes with time.

Shift Your Mindset

If you are feeling this at all or have ever considered this, you are not valuing what you can contribute.  If you don't, how can you expect anyone else to?  Here are five benefits that come with age and experience - but only if you shift your mindset to value what you bring:

1. Perspective

You have been around the block a few times and have a real sense of what matters and what doesn't.  Mistakes that once seemed life or death are forgotten or put in their proper place.  However bad something seemed, it just wasn't, and you kept going anyway.  When you have been around for a quite a few years, you have a perspective on life which naturally starts to prioritise the important things and let go of the things that don't.

BENEFIT - You are likely to be more level-headed and balanced and therefore make better decisions.

2. Maturity

With perspective, you get a stronger sense of self and feel more at ease with who you are.  You are less likely to seek approval and put up with other people's BS.  You also get much more of a sense of what is required to reach a goal and that sense of self can translate into a tenacity and determination that many wouldn't have at a younger age.

BENEFIT - A stronger sense of self gives others around you permission to bring the best of who they are as well.

3. Resilience

With maturity, you develop a stronger set of resources to keep going and bounce back when needed.  You can put setbacks into perspective, readjust and course correct.  You also don't have to take things so personally, can potentially see the motivations of other people more clearly, so conflict doesn't have to blow up.


BENEFIT - You can overcome setbacks, come back stronger and are more likely to reach your goals.

4. Wisdom

There is both life wisdom and practical wisdom that can only be earned through experience.  We make a ton of mistakes and bad decisions in our lifetime (and some great ones), and we don't want to repeat those over and over again, so we learn what is needed to make progress.  On a very practical level, when you have a lot of experience under your belt, you develop a sense of what will and won't work within your area of focus

BENEFIT - You can save a helluva lot of time, resources and anxiety and get to something that works quickly.

5. Steadfastness

When you have been around for a while, you have seen trends come and go (and come again).  You are not going to get caught up in the latest fad and instead take the long view.  Coupled with tenacity, you are much more likely to create and maintain a sustainable impact.

BENEFIT - You have the ability to stay the course over the long term and not get distracted by little things.

Mindset Into Action

Getting your head in the right place is just the first step.  You have to back that up with some action.  Here are some quick tips:

  • Decide whether you are going to take this "too old" thing lying down or if you are going to stand up for your value
  • Choose to be RELEVANT and take the action needed to make yourself relevant.  Develop new skills, build your confidence, put your views out there.
  • Understand that things have and do CHANGE, accept that and get on with the new reality.
  • Do the work, do great work and do work that befits all your wisdom, knowledge and experience.
  • Don't listen, either to your internal critic or to other people telling you that you are too old.

To Conclude

When we were in our early 20's, we had to convince people in their late 30s, 40s and 50s to give us work.  WE are that alpha generation now, and we get to shape the future.  Like it or not, gravitas comes with some grey hair, and people do listen more seriously BUT only if you value what you have got.  When you can do that, you allow the best of you to shine, you impact the world, and you prove that age really is just a number.

leave a comment below and share your thoughts/ideas on how to stay relevant!