It’s What You Do – Not When You Do It


This is the 20th in a collection of newspaper ads written by Harry Gray, then CEO of United Technologies, that appeared in the Wall Street Journal from the late 1970s through the early 1980s. Here is the text from that ad.

Ted Williams, at age 42, slammed a home run in his last official at bat.
Mickey Mantle, age 20, hit 23 home runs his first full year in the major leagues.
Golda Meir was 71 when she became Prime Minister of Israel.
William Pitt II was 24 when he became Prime Minister of Great Britain.
George Bernard Shaw was 94 when one of his plays was first produced.
Mozart was just seven when his first composition was published.
Now, how about this?
Benjamin Franklin was a newspaper columnist at 16, and a framer of The United States Constitution when he was 81.
You’re never too young or too old if you’ve got talent.
Let’s recognize that age has little to do with ability.

There’s certainly many more names that could be added to this list; here are a few from just the past couple of years.

Malala Yousafzai became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17.
Jordan Speith, at 21, became the youngest golfer to win the first two majors of the year, the Masters and U.S. Open.
Yuichiro Miura, a Japanese mountaineer, became the oldest person to reach the summit of Mount Everest at the age of 80.
And just this past month, Evelyn Jones became the oldest person to ever throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a Major League Baseball game, doing so for her beloved Seattle Mariners.

The beauty of these old versus young comparisons is that you may look at Malala or Jordan and think to yourself, ‘wow, when I was that young I hadn’t accomplished anything’, but then you look at Yuichiro and Evelyn and realize you likely still have a lot of time left to pursue your dreams and passions.

And I would have to slightly disagree with Harry Gray when he states, ‘You’re never too young or too old if you’ve got talent.’  While talent may help, I think the more important attributes to have are commitment and determination.

And as people are proving every year, age has little to do with what one can accomplish.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.