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Jon Douglas
Jon Douglas

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Never Too Late

Social media has really done some damage to our psyche. Being in a constant feedback loop from hell is not ideal for your long term mental health.

Comparison Is Hurtful

I grew up as a middle child. As my older brother would achieve various feats in his life, of course I would constantly compare myself to him. Everything became a comparison of what had been accomplished at what age, and really anyone else by that age. This really killed my confidence, happiness, and hope overall.

These types of comparisons will keep you trapped in a job you hate, a life you aren't happy with, and ultimately keeps you at bay because these are symbols of success defined by others, but not you. Recently my father told me that I should strive to be a "Salaryman". Which in other words is a person who works for a living until the retirement age of 65. This puts a thought in the back of your head that your happiness and sense of fulfillment will somehow happen later.

There is however a healthy type of comparison. Reading about how others achieved success, observing what others are doing and trying it yourself will ultimately put you on a clearer path than struggling through. When you notice people who naturally flourish at work, these are the types of people you want to learn from. They are the types of people who are willing to share their perspective on life and work and ultimately help others avoid going down the wrong road.

Ultimately, you don't need to worry about having it all figured out. Regardless of what you have tried so far and hasn't led to more happiness can rather be pursued as fulfillment to be a goal in your life to what success you can obtain that is meaningful to you.

Early Success Is Rare

When I was growing up, I had always thought my parents were pretty successful. They were young when they had their kids, they had a house, and they both had reliable jobs they could expect a paycheck from each month. This is the life, I had always thought. Until I experienced what I thought was the life. I bought a house when I was 20, I got married at 25, and had a kid at 26. Meanwhile, I also worked in the software industry fulltime for various companies ever since I was 18. I always thought of myself as successful, at least in my parents eyes.

Growing through school, I always thought there was a natural timeline to all of these things. You know, the typical

Finish High School → Graduate From College → Get a Job → Get Married → Buy a House → Start a Family.

I was able to accomplish each and every one of these steps, however it wasn't a sequential process. Rather it was a sporadic process. Mine looked more like this:

Finish High School → Get a Job → Buy a House → Graduate From College → Get Married → Start a Family.

What I'm trying to say to you is that in the long run, it doesn't matter. There are always early bloomers and late bloomers, and the only thing you have to worry about is to reassure yourself that everything is going to be ok.

You should know that there is three different paths of success. It's up to you to figure out which path you want to be on such as:

  • Fast Lane
  • Passive Lane
  • Slow Lane

Most of the people I know are not in a rush, these are people I believe are on the passive lane. They let things go with the flow and naturally things happen in due time.

However you'll come across people who are on the slow lane, these are the types of people who may not know what they want from life quite yet, and it puts them behind the curve.

Finally, you'll notice people who want more, and are willing to make it happen. These are people on the fast lane.

Let's look at some of the most famous people in each respective lane.

Slow Lane

  • Stan Lee, published The Fantastic Four when he was 40 years old.
  • Ray Kroc, opened the first McDonald's franchise when he was 52 years old.

Passive Lane

  • Vincent van Gogh, created majority of his recognized artwork in his mid 30s.
  • Jeff Bezos, started Amazon in his garage when he was 30 years old.

Fast Lane

  • Mark Zuckerberg, launched Facebook when he was 19 years old.
  • Alexander Hamilton, became the trusted aide to George Washington at 20 years old.

Don't Worry About When

At the end of the day, we are all on different timelines. The so-called race we are running is against one person, ourselves. The most important comparison you can have today, is to your past self.

What you should be doing is keeping a goal of fulfillment in your head and follow the lane you believe will take you there. That can take you on many paths such as changing jobs and making life-altering decisions that will ultimately bring you a sense of fulfillment.

It's never too late. Don't give in to the fickle beast known as hopelessness. In fact, you have the grit to pursue your wildest dreams. This will lead you to a path of success and fulfillment.

Jon Douglas writes at, where he writes about better habits, deep work, software development, and improved health for Software Professionals. You can read his articles or join his free newsletter for new content every week.

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