Why you will be more successful in your 40s

You are approaching that magical time in your life when you do not care what other people think. You are now free to create!

You will be more successful in your forties. I know it’s all we hear about today. Some new tech 20 or 30 something has just hit it big by getting funded for millions of dollars or sold their company for a billion. While all of this is good and success at a young age is more possible now than ever before, 40 something is still the magic number.

There is just something about your 40s that cannot be beat. At 46 myself, I have found that your 40s are your prime years to do the most amazing work of your life. This is not to say that 50 or 60 is not a successful time as well. And, if you are not yet 40, you have something amazing to look forward to! The great thing about 40 something is that you are in the starting stages of a very transitional part of your life. I like to look at my life in 20 year blocks with 10 year sub-blocks. At 40 you are starting a new 20 year block with 40 years of experience. As they say, “The older the violin, the sweeter the music.”

Far more people have become super successful after turning 40. Arianna Huffington, Stan Lee, Donald Fisher, Vera Wang, Gary Heavin, Robin Chase, Samuel L Jackson, Sam Walton, Henry Ford, Momofuku Ando, Julia Child, Jack Cover, Betty White, Steve Carell, Ray Kroc, and so many more. This is a very powerful time in your life and here’s why.

1. You are a seasoned professional with a lot of energy left.

There may be no better time than your early 40s to do your greatest work. Yes you get tired and you do some of the things old people do like go to bed early and watch what you eat now. There may be a hint of grey in your hair generation X, but you also have most of your youthful energy to work. 40 can be a very ambitious age. For one, you have some street-smarts by now and with a boost of ambition so your confidence should be at an all-time high. You are now ready to risk more because you know the kind of pressure you can handle. And you have enough experience to know the diamonds that pressure can produce. People younger than you are still worried about security and relevance. People older are worried about retirement and long term planning. 40 is the perfect age for risk and discovery in a new capital venture or a change in career.     

2. Work is more priority than social time

You went to your 20 year high school reunion. You got to show off how successful you are, how smoking hot your wife is and how great your kids are. Now that you have that out of your system, you are probably finding that friends and social time is not as rewarding as it once was. In your 40s, work and family time are now priority. Outside from your spouse, your work should be the best friend you have ever had by now. I know that hanging with my friends has not led me to the success I know today. You are an experienced adult now and it’s time to start making a real impact on the world. You still have plenty of time left even if you are 50 so go crush the business world, write a book, or influence and create something amazing for our family! You won’t live long enough to see what your legacy will be but now is the time to start it.  

3. Your kids are at a cool and fun age

If you did everything right in your early 20’s, your kids should be teenagers by now. I know everyone complains about how hard teenagers are but they are still really cool people to have in your life. I always say that teenagers are easier than dogs! At least a teenager will “try” to get to the bathroom to poop or puke! Your kids are at an age you can remember and relate to. You can start to see their potential and you can give them sage advice and show them you can still back up that advice with you own action. If you have your kids late in life, it’s going to be hard to create influential action at a time they can appreciate it. Remember your kids will never do what you say, but they will do what you do. In your 40s you still have that ‘awesome factor’ to show your kids how to really kick some ass!       

4. You can still whip your body into shape if you want to

Most people in their 40 start to slip a little in the health department. Health concerns start to creep into your life and the experts tell us to see our doctor more regularly. You might be like me and need readers just to see small print! But when you are in your 40s, both men and women still have the testosterone levels that can build muscle and lean out your figure if you put in the work. You can still have a great body and feel amazing in your 40s. It’s not too late but this will get harder with time so get to it! Being in shape is not only good for you, it gives you the energy and ambition you need to achieve greatness. You will also want to live long enough to enjoy all that success you are creating. Having a daily workout keeps you disciplined. People who have the discipline to workout daily most often have the discipline to achieve in business and their careers. 

5. You are starting to see the world as it really is

By now you are seeing that most of what you were warned about is not really true. Do not blame your parents or teachers because they just wanted the best for you. Most of us in our 40 still have never used those trig formulas and have never calculated a chemistry mole. You are educated, but now you see the world for what it really is and you also know how to get what you want out of it. You have prioritized what you have learned from school and combined it with what you have learned from life. You are realizing that nearly all of what you worried about was in your head. You are now old enough to see that the world is set up for those that want the most out of it, and not for those who worry about it.     

6. You are approaching that magical time in your life when you do not care what other people think.

There are two major hurdles that are holding most people back in life. 1) Your insatiable need to be liked and, 2) you care about what other people think. The moment you can get over any one of these you won’t believe how free you will start to feel. After you turn 40, you realize that you have already done the whole, “I need to impress people thing” and you start to get back to who you really are. Think about a time in your past when you wished you would have said something in the moment. Why didn’t you say it? Likely because you did not what to come off as a jerk or you were afraid you would offend someone. This is caring about what people think. Or maybe you did not do something you’ve always wanted to do because you would look silly or like an unrealistic dreamer. Now that you are 40, you will start to feel free to say what’s on your mind and not fear looking unrealistic! This is a magical time to be really creative!

7. A sense of urgency to achieve something great sets in

By your mid-40s, you have lived a big portion of your life. It’s not to say you won’t make it to 100 but you only have another 50 plus or so years left to achieve something great. By now you have been educated, built a home, made some money, and started your family. All of that is super significant and far more than a lot of people have. But what about your second act? 40 gives you that window of opportunity to do something great for the next half of your life. An empty nest is just around the corner so this is the time you get to plan your next great moves while you are still young enough to hustle. Use a sense of urgency to really work for the next 20 years on something incredibly meaningful. This also might be a time that your work is supposed to improve humanity. Start a business, write a book, or speak at schools. You know about all the problems in the world so use this time to give back and create really impactful significance.

8. Your most significant work should happen long after your dead

Your hearse won’t be pulling a U-haul trailer behind it so, create something that is going to last and give back for generations. Since you can’t take it with you when you go anyway, leave it here for others to benefit. Your 40’s have a particular significance because it could be the staging ground for your legacy. As we discussed above, you have the horse-sense of a professional, the energy and drive of youth, and you don’t care what other people think. This is the perfect time and trifecta for creating an amazing heritage for your family, other people, and people who have not even been born yet. You won’t live long enough to see what your legacy will be so while you are here, make it remarkable. While you are alive, do work that will continue long after you are gone and make it so your very best work happens after your dead.   

Daniel J Bockman

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