Late developers have advantages
Are you a late developer?
In my first job in London, at the age of 20, I was told by my boss that late developers often do better than early stars. At the time I wondered if he was referring to me – twenty seems very old if five years earlier you were a mere fifteen. However, he was referring to one of his fellow directors, Dr Mark Abrams, who became an early mentor to me. Mark had really blossomed in his forties, regarded as a great age in advertising agencies in the 1950s. I never forgot what my boss had told me and I have often employed late developers.
When building or rebuilding companies I used to advise young CEO’s to engage a recently-retired CEO on good wages to sit in the next office, hold no title but just be there to bounce ideas off. It always worked. A CEO needs someone to talk to who has no agenda other than helping him or her. It is called having a mentor and it works.
If you are a star at school, in university and early on at work, be grateful. You may have an advantage. You need to beware, however. Confidence is wonderful, arrogance, only a step away from it. Too much early success can go to your head. At a great height there is a long way to fall. If, on the other hand, you are a late developer, don’t despair. You can do just as well as the brightest – but a little later.
Those who are making slower progress than they would like should ask themselves:
- Is my slower progress due to being less intelligent, being lazy, being unlucky, or what? Whichever it is, do something about it. The not-very-intelligent cannot be turned into Einstein but they can be taught to think better and faster. The lazy can be taught the rudiments of discipline but only if they are willing to learn them. The unlucky can learn to shed the victim characteristic that haunts them – and understand that only they can do that.
Key to improving your late development performance is knowing what you like doing, what, therefore, you are good at and what your purpose in life is. Our busy world makes people rush about so much that in the process they lose the ability – and don’t have the time – to think about the fundamentals. Failure to understand these leads to a loss or warping of values. Once your values are gone you become a cork bobbing about on the rough sea, not the ocean-going liner you should be.
I have talked about purpose many times. Now I notice that more people are realising how important it is. This is partly because our world has become factious with the threat of job losses, robotic ascendance and the arrival of artificial intelligence. Purpose and values are once again key anchors to redirecting your life to deal with these threats.
Listening to the exchanges at our Drink & Think on 27th October 2016 I realised that the Daily Paradox of 26th October 2016 (A politician’s purpose) was timely – and not just for politicians. If you can’t answer the question “What am I here for?” in terms other than financial or material you do not have the depth of purpose that will navigate you across the next few years. In that case you certainly need to consider doing The PASDAQ Compass™.
It is the only instrument I know that will guide you to a safe harbour.