Starting Young: The Pros & Cons of Starting Young…

We’ve all heard of those phenomenon teenagers, in all fields of successes, who’ve made their millions before they’ve even finished secondary education. It always seems that much more inspiring at a young age; that whilst their friends were out there drinking on the streets or watching TV, they were sat behind their desks working away to make themselves better.

Nancy Yi FanNancy Yi Fan is one of my favourite examples of a young phenomenon.

Books take time, wisdom and energy; as a result authors quite often lay off the talent until retirement. But at the tender age of nine, Nancy Yi Fan sat down inspired by her love for birds and desire for world peace, and wrote a manuscript. By her eleventh birthday, the novel was a best seller and her name was on the lips of every aspiring author in Japan; old and young.

Of course, this is a rarity. But it certainly made the world (and me) stop for a moment, and wonder what their own excuse was for not having achieved their success yet.

The Other Extreme…

Of course, then, there’s the majority. The mothers and the teacher who tell us that it’s okay for us to take things easy, just as they did, and focus on the normality because you have a whole life ahead of you. But the key point here is just as they did because that’s all very well if you want your life to flow just as theirs did.

At a writer’s workshop a few years ago, I attended a talk from a children’s author called Ceelia Rees. She wasn’t particularly a favourite author of mine (being honest I’d never read a book by her in full) but I enjoyed listening her discuss how she got her ideas for the book, and how and why she wrote it. But when she told the audience that she’d never written before now, at fifty something years of age, I was disappointed.

I began to wonder, if working young was worth it?

Because all around me, nobody else seemed to be doing the same. This had never bothered me until now, because I always supposed that it was this difference that would make me different. But through research I found that even Steve Jobs was doing nothing more than LSD at the same age.

The Pros of Starting Young – When life throws you lemons, do a Vaynerchuk

Nancy Yi Fan wrote the Sword Bird series at the age of nine; Gurbaksh Chahal set up an online advertising agency at the age of fourteen; Sylvia Plaith published her first poem at nine; And Gary Vaynerchuk employed other people of his age to run lemonade stands around the neighbourhood in Primary School.

And from just these examples alone, it’s undeniable that starting young is a quality that can drive a mind further than any other mind had gone before.

Getting a Head Start – The earlier you start building on a skill, the better you will become. And because in any field of success, there is a survival of the fittest to get to the top, if you start working on broadening your mind now, you’ll be constantly learning things that those around you will have to catch up with later on.

Getting a Better Sense of Who You Are & What You Want to Accomplish - The more direction you have, the less chance of a wrong turn you will have later on in life. And if you take a wrong turn now, the consequences will be obviously be less severe because you have more time on your hands than perhaps someone who starts when the ground feels safer. Learning from these mistakes can open more doors, and the more possibilities you can see, the more sure you will learn about what message you want to give to the world.

Money - Money isn’t everything; but with early success comes a foundation of experience and money. Money which can then be used to buy bigger experiences and form the foundations for vital investments later on.

Being Taken More Seriously – Education and schooling are very different things. Schooling will give you a backbone. But it’s a backbone that everyone else will also have. And it’s this backbone that will also kill your creativity. If you want to stand out, you have to understand that the emphasis on education isn’t for your own benefit.

Although it will help you get the foundations you need to get to places and get various opportunities, it will not help you become your own. Learning outside of the class room is just as important and a website, a manuscript, anything that shows dedication will ensure that you are seen with the respect you deserve when making those big steps towards your future.

Cons of Starting Young – Living Life

So why does everyone around us, seem so unconcerned about this passing of time? Why does it seem to be that the biggest problem for our friends is a non-reliable boyfriend or an English Lit exam? Why does it only annoy you that things are this way?

The answer is because you’re different. The fact that you’re even reading this post, says that you’re different. And although that’s good because you’ll get more things done… we can’t help but wonder what we’re missing.

The question I’m putting out here is, is life really about working? Changing the world whilst you’re in it. Or is life about living? Enjoying the time you have.

You need inspiration, to be inspiring – To have a good chance to find out who you are, you need to have a full grasp of what’s on offer to you. If your head is constantly down, at your computer, your dorm room shut. You’re not going to get anywhere.  Because the world you want to change and provide for is outside your desk and to provide for it you have to understand it.

imitation, inspiration, creation, innovationWhen you’re young, take every opportunity that you can, because when you’re older they might not be available, or you might not be able to partake. Your work will be better if you have experience. You can build up your skills to your heart’s content, but like a fine whisky, it takes an age to mature and develop; particularly in a creative field. It’s good to work hard and it’s good to develop yourself, but take time out to learn from people greater than yourself, because times are ever moving.

Pressure – You may think that you’re invincible, but you’re not. And although pressure is good sometimes because it gets you used to life in the fast lane, if you burn out too fast your passion will become a job. And what makes you different, will just make you drained, bored and uninspired. And these are three things that make the work pointless.

Don’t Neglect Your Backbone – If you give up your day job or put your all into your project and not your studies, you don’t need me to tell you that your taking a risk. It’s okay you tell me, because if you succeed you’ll be miles ahead of everyone else. But what if you don’t? If you fail, you’ll not only be on the same level as everyone else again, but you’ll in fact be behind.

Your work won’t count until it’s out there in the world. And the outside world won’t care that you failed your exams because you were trying to write a manuscript, tried to make a website, tried to start a business. All they can see is the person in the seat next to you, who didn’t fail their exams.


Do we live and leave the work for the future, or do we start now and hope for the best?

The solution is, do both. Lock yourself away. Work on your skills, work on being the best, and don’t be afraid to be different from the students around you. There is after all a difference between schooling and education; and almost anyone can get a set of GCSEs, almost everyone does. But an eBook? A website? A business plan? That’s great.

But make sure your aware of your youth too and the opportunities this brings to you that others don’t have. Chances are that you won’t become the next Nancy Yi Fan anytime soon, there’s a reason you have all those years ahead of you to make your own. As long as you stick to the path your on, it’s in your best interests to make use of the opportunities your age provides, and to be flexible whilst you don’t have the responsibilities your parents have now, but to also live your life.

I know you don’t want to die just another name on the family tree. If your anything like me the idea of the world going on without you, of your opinions, your good times, your bad times being lost is a nightmare. But you have to make sure that if your work fails, you’ll still have those things to cling to and inspire you when the road gets tough.

A wise man makes his own luck but don’t beat yourself if you haven’t done everything that you want to do before you start university. It’s your life. You entered the world crying, with your family smiling around you. Your only mission is to leave the world the opposite way around.

Wrote by Aimee Hall