I was visiting with a friend the other day; we were talking about some of the things I have written about setting goals. I was surprised to hear her say: “Oh, I'm too old to have goals!"
Yes, I was surprised, especially since we're both about the same age! I responded that you're never too old to have goals, but I've been thinking about it a lot ever since. Is there a time when you're “too old" to have goals? Let's take a look at a few examples.
Everyone recognizes the picture of Colonel Sanders and links it automatically to the KFC restaurant chain that he founded. But not everyone knows how that franchise chain started. You can get more information about Colonel Sanders’ background on Wikipedia, where I went to refresh my memory and verify some facts and dates.
Colonel Sanders had a thriving restaurant business established in Corbin, Kentucky when, in 1955, Interstate 75 was constructed and diverted the traffic flow away from his business. He was 65 at the time. (That's a little older than my friend!) Colonel Sanders responded to this challenge by starting to franchise a new chain of restaurants named “Kentucky Fried Chicken. " He used his Social Security check to fund his efforts aimed at finding people to sign up with his franchise.
At 65 years old, Colonel Sanders started a new business. He continued building it until he sold it in 1964, but he continued acting as the company's spokesman. He died in 1971. He was 90 years old.
I don't know how Colonel Sanders laid out his goals when he started KFC, but he obviously didn't think he was “too old"!
Walt Disney was truly one of the greats in the American entertainment business. He was a film producer, screen writer, director, voice actor, and animator. Disneyland and Walt Disney World are both named after him.
Walt Disney died at age 65 from lung cancer.
So, what does all this have to do with goal setting? Well, even though Walt Disney was in his 60s, he was still setting and achieving goals. Walt Disney World opened a few years after his death. This was his dream project! He was active in developing it and what we now know as the EPCOT center was a key part of his vision.
Because of his lung cancer, Walt Disney never saw that vision become reality. But that didn't stop the project. His family continued to work to make his dream come true.
We'll never know whether Walt Disney would ever have become “too old" to set goals and follow his dreams. But from the evidence we can see from his inspirational and productive life, I think we know the answer!
My last example is someone we are hearing a lot about these days. Senator McCain is running for the presidency of the United States. If he wins he will be 72 years old when he takes office.
Now, I'm not interested in a discussion of whether he is too old for the office. Everyone can have their own opinion on that. But, we can all agree that Senator McCain doesn't think he would be too old!
We can also all agree that the senator obviously doesn't think he's too old to work to achieve his goals. Running for the presidency is probably one of the most trying, exhausting activities you could attempt. You don't do it unless you have some very real, very important goals!
How about You?
Obviously, I have no idea how old you are. It doesn't really matter. Identifying your own goals and honestly pursuing them can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying things you can do. I firmly believe that if you continue to pursue your goals with positive belief and enthusiasm, you will never be old. You may have many years of life. . . but you won't be old!
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