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Reaching for the stars - you are never too old

At 59, I sometimes feel like it’s too late - that my best years are behind me and I blew my chance to achieve greatness. That’s when it helps to think about Dr. Brian.

Dr. Brian is an amazing 75 year old Englishman with quite a laundry list of inspiring and impressive accomplishments and accolades. Here are a few of them:

He has a PhD in Astrophysics.

He was awarded the title of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).

He was the Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University for five years.

He served as a Vice President of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

He has raised millions of dollars for charities supporting two of his passions: wildlife protection and AIDS research.

He has authored or co-authored 6 or more books.

He revived the London Stereoscopic Company, which had been closed since 1922

He accomplished all of this AFTER reaching the age of 60. And he’s still going strong!

Oh, and he also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is worth over $200 million.

Of course, he was an achiever prior to age 60, and he has certainly had his share of challenges. In the early 1990s Brian suffered the deaths of his father and a dear longtime colleague while going through a troubling divorce. These events sent him into severe depression to the point of contemplating suicide.

“I regarded myself as completely sick. I was subsumed by feelings of loss. .. I really didn't want to live. I felt wounded, depressed, brain-fried, and the feelings of loss outweighed any of my achievements.” Fortunately, he underwent treatment for his depression, was healed, and in his own words, “I have been great ever since.”

He also had a heart attack in 2020, but that has not slowed him down. He is still constantly working on several projects and is active on social media.

With so many remarkable achievements, you could understand if Brian carried himself with an air of stuffy arrogance and self-importance. On the contrary, he is often described as a true English Gentleman - soft-spoken, generous, and kind. He is unselfish, polite, and extremely likable. Listen to one of his interviews and you’ll find yourself thinking, “I’d like to meet this guy.”

Dr. Brian gives us hope. Seeing what one person can do - especially later in life - is an inspiration to keep trying. His life inspires us to avoid throwing up our hands and saying “I am too old to do this.” Or to look back in satisfaction over what you have accomplished in life and saying you’ve done enough.

A great deal of our happiness comes from the feeling of upward movement - that we are headed in a direction that is better than where we are now - emotionally, mentally, spiritually, or physically. It’s difficult to be happy when you feel dormant.

There is one other achievement of Dr. Brian that I have saved for last. He earned his degree in Astrophysics only after taking a 30 year hiatus from his studies to work on another passion project. Music.

He and his college friends formed a band and went on to become one of the biggest rock music acts of all time.

Dr. Brian is none other than Brian May, the creative guitar virtuoso for Queen.

NOW think about everything else he has done on top of that. Wow. Though he knows he will mostly be remembered for his music (and his hair!), Brian May considers his most important legacy to be his charity work for AIDS research and protecting wildlife.

So the next time you hear the Queen anthem, We Will Rock You, think about its composer, Brian May, and be inspired to rock the world yourself.

No matter your age, you can do a lot more than you think you can.

Think well and be well.

- Steve Haffner

Decision performance specialist

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