As a professional speaker, I speak to tens of thousands of people of all ages from all walks of life. I constantly get feedback from those in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, advising me that it is too late for them to create their own destiny. They believe they are too old, too broke, too out of shape, and too tired to do anything about their future. They stubbornly believe achieving prosperity is only for those still in their 20s and 30s. Many of these people do not believe it is possible to create their own destiny. Limited by their own personal beliefs these people settle for less and never achieve prosperity.
The question I always ask my audience is the same question I pose to you: Are you creating your own destiny, or are you creating someone else's destiny? What do I mean by this? Consider the story of Cliff Young, a humble potato farmer in Australia, who
consciously decided at age 57 to create his own destiny. Up to this point his destiny was running the family farm and settling for a life of hard work; however, Cliff was quietly harboring a passion for long-distance running.
He came to the decision to live his own life and create his own destiny. Soon he was seen in the wet Australian countryside training in a rain coat and gum boots. It did not matter to him that he was 57 years old, ill equipped and drastically out of running shape. What mattered most to him after all these years on the farm was pursuing his passions and creating his own destiny. He ignored those who mocked him and the drivers who tried to run him off the backcountry roads. He continued to train and built up to running 20 to 30 miles per day, day in and day out.
In May 1983, after four years of constant training, Cliff Young shocked the world. At 61 he won the first Sydney-to-Melbourne ultra-marathon - a distance of 875 kilometers (nearly 545 miles). To run this distance at any age is quite a feat, but to run it at 61 and beat some of the world's best-conditioned athletes in their 20's and 30's, is absolutely incredible!
For years, running experts believed that the body needed a certain amount of sleep per night when running a grueling 100 miles per day. However, after falling so far behind on the first day of the race, Cliff awoke at 1:00 AM and started running throughout the night. He surpassed the leaders, who slept to the usual 5:00 AM. Cliff's strategy worked so well that he continued to wake and start running each morning four hours earlier than all of his competitors. As a result of using this bold racing strategy, he astonished the world by crossing the finish line in first place. After five days, 15 hours, and four minutes Cliff Young was the victor, at 61 years old!
The news of Cliff Young's shocking victory quickly traveled throughout Australia. At his age, with his lack of experience, and facing the country's best long-distance runners no one thought he had a chance. He became a living legend, and the nation fell in love with this 61-year-old potato farmer who saw the invisible, and achieved the impossible. When talking about the prize money, Cliff was quoted as saying "$10,000, wow that is a helluva lot of potatoes!" He then proceeded to share his prize money with the other competitors acknowledging their preparation and hard work.
In 1984 and again in 1987 at 62 and 65 he competed in the cross country race, continuing to use his 1:00 A.M. start time routine. Now this strategy of waking at 1:00 AM, instead of 5:00 AM is a widely accepted practice in this event. Cliff Young broke a paradigm, overcame self-doubt, and accomplished what no one in the world thought remotely possible. Of greater significance is how he created his own destiny. He created a legacy of innovation and inspiration simply by following his passions, and was not limited by the beliefs held by so many others in their 50s, 60s, and 70s.
Despite his age at 61, Cliff Young become prosperous as he created his own destiny. Regardless of your age and physical condition you too can take charge of your life and pursue prosperity. You do have the power to achieve prosperity at any age. You alone must be willing to take charge of your future by following your heart, pursuing your passions, and creating your own destiny.
No matter your age and in spite of your current challenges, be more like Cliff Young and take control of your future. Embrace the belief that it is never too late to create your own destiny and achieve prosperity. I challenge you at any age to dream, plan, execute, and soar to a life full of prosperity!
Copyright © 2008 Patrick Snow
Patrick Snow is the best-selling author of Creating Your Own Destiny, which has sold over 125,000 copies worldwide and has been featured in a cover story in USA Today.
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