The pressure to succeed young

“Bro, I’m burned out.” I was totally caught off guard by my friend’s message. This dude is a machine. A one-man development team with two successful apps in the Apple Store and Google PlayStore. A week earlier, a buddy of mine who flips real estate sent me a message asking my thoughts on truck driving. What? “Good pay and it is peaceful,” he explains. Well bro, I don’t think you could wear your favorite suit in a truck.

I have been talking about the inverted-U curve, and I definitely think that my friends are suffering from doing too much work. But why? Both are entrepreneurs. They own their time. They have zero debt. They have money in the bank. They do not have kids. They can literally decide to work less hours and still live a comfortable life. A very comfortable life.

Burnout is not uncommon. I see many people in their 20’s and 30’s who are in the same predicament. I personally have been there. 12-hour days. No social life. Ambition was everything. Why? I think it is the pressure to succeed young. Forbes releases an annual 30 under 30’s list. Young entrepreneurs who raise millions or billions from venture capitalists are venerated. Check out the articles below and look at how they had to put the age of the person.

Alex Rodrigues of Embark Trucks
Alexandr Wang Scale AI
Alexandr Wang of Scale AI
Melanie Perkins of Canva

Entrepreneurs are not professional athletes. Athletes who are gifted and young are obviously highly prized. And when athletes reach their mid to late 30’s, they retire (except for outliers like Tom Brady). But why is age relevant for entrepreneurs? It is not like people become bad entrepreneurs when they age.

Our culture celebrates successful young entrepreneurs and the media feeds on this. That’s just the way it is. But you know what? We all have the option to take our sweet ass time. Why rush? Entrepreneurship is already difficult to begin with so why put a crazy deadline? Learn things deeply. Appreciate every moment of your life. Appreciate the people you meet on the daily. Appreciate the smell of that warm cup of coffee whose main job right now is to power you through your 12-hour days. We all have the choice to live a life according to our terms. The culture and media are just noise. Follow your own schedule and take your time.