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Road Biking

I wish I knew then what I know now.

You know what they say. When you are in your early life, you have all the energy and not so much experience. When you get into your later life you have all the experience and not so much energy. In your forties and fifties the two meet. As PS, our regular West Country contributor tells us, we should go for it..........

........Cast your mind back to when you first went for an interview for that important new job. Maybe you were in your 20s, as I was.

You do everything you can to prepare for the questions you are going to get. And you know that the one question you are bound to get is ““what are your strengths and weaknesses?” or “what can you bring to the job?”

So you answer to the best of your ability. Strengths? Maybe something about your hard work, your communication skills or your determination to succeed. Weaknesses? Hmm. That's tough. Make something up, perhaps.

But the truth is that you don't know the answer to the question. How can you? You have very little real experience of work, or even life. You haven't actually tested any of the skills you think you have in the real world. So it's largely just a guess.

As for the interviewers, they have to guess too. They have nothing much to go on. So they have to choose whether to take your word for it.....or not. It is a gamble that sometimes works and often doesn't. As you get into your 30s and early 40s, things should become a little clearer, but the basic issue remains. Not enough data.

The reason why you are more likely to succeed after 50 is because you will now know the answer to the question. No more guesswork. You know your strengths and weaknesses because you will have had many years of feedback from colleagues, co-workers, friends or family. You will also have much more experience of work, of people, of places and of situations. Also you have a far greater range of skills.

All of this means that you can decide what it is that you want to do with your life. It may mean looking for something new or it may be that you decide that what you do is where you want to be. Either way, you can make the decision with the greatest amount of clarity and insight that you will ever have.

Even if you decide to give up conventional work and follow the dream you had when you were 20, you can make that decision in the knowledge that you now know who you are.

Finally you can answer the question. So just go for it.


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