‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. Nonsense!
The widely-held belief in the field of psychology has been, until more recently, that the brain is physiologically immutable after a certain period in a child’s life. In other words, we become less and less able to manage change and learn new skills, knowledge and behaviours as we get older.
However, studies into the malleability of the mind suggest that the brain remains ‘plastic’ into adulthood, that is, new synaptic connections and new neural pathways can be made as a result of changes in behaviour and environment, for instance. This is often referred to as ‘neuroplasticity’, the ability of the brain to adapt to new experiences, learn new information and create new memories.
What does all this really mean? Well, it means liberation! We need no longer believe that just because we’re getting older we can’t change our work, change our lives, change our choices. If we reach a time when we get a feeling we need to go in a different direction, WE CAN!
There are so many amazing examples of people, men and women of all ages who have reinvented themselves because they had a desire and chose to follow their dream. Here are some to marvel at and give you hope:
By bottling her wisdom and drawing together 25 years of knowledge, experience and insight about life and people, a mum, whose children have grown up, has just started her own business coaching company
A very successful financial director, having thought he’d be on the scrapheap when he retired, became a sought-after treasurer and financial advisor in the charitable sector
Sylvie Lieberman realised her dream of writing a children’s book and created the award-winning, ‘Archibald’s Swiss Cheese Mountain’ at age 90!
A powerful senior manager in a large global organisation in the UK to running his own scuba diving school in the Bahamas
Barbara Miller, a 60+ year old grandmother started the Miller Paper Company which is currently turning over in excess of 7 million dollars a year
I know a very successful 62 year old company director who joined her local amateur dramatics society and has been centre stage, literally, ever since.
And, of course, Colonel Harland David Sanders started the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise empire at age 62!
How could you reinvent yourself, should you choose to? How would you show up in your next chapter and doing what? What a jaw-dropping prospect. Have courage and believe you can do it!