You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

Jul 13, 2022

We’ve all heard it, seen it, or if you’re really unlucky, been around somebody that believes and lives by this type of limiting viewpoint.

One day at the gym, I literally stopped mid-shoulder-fly to look – by look, I mean to stare – at an old lady gingerly pulling down on a cable tricep pulley!

She was being supervised by one of the youthful P.T.s James who was gently encouraging her in her floral print skirt and orthotic shoes.

Boy, I love my gym, the clientele range from young children in their sports uniforms through to pensioners with their zimmer frames. My own PT paused to acknowledge her with me, “that’s cool” he says in his lilting Kiwi accent. 

I get myself back into my own training zone frame of mind and finish my tough maxi set workout and after stretching, I discovered the lady sitting on her frame waiting for her lift outside. Unfortunately, she is blocking the ramp for the baby prams, so I stop to help clear the traffic jam.

Chatting to her I ask how she enjoyed her workout, “Great!" she says with a twinkle in her eye “I’ve got to stay strong”, she says as she barely formed a fist with her frail weak hand.


Now that’s an attitude I wish more people had. 

I then ask how old she is – I often talk to strangers about their lives...

"I’m 77," she says proudly (quite right, we shouldn’t shy away from our maturity). Double wow.

It’s got me thinking about the number of times I’ve heard people in their 40s and 50s make sweeping statements like

  • I’m too old to learn how to speak a 2nd language
  • I’m too stuck in my ways to learn to live with a new partner
  • My body is too stiff to start exercising now.

Seriously there are so many people like that old lady with her hunch back and weak hand grip that see life as joy and gift that I don’t even notice those that think any new opportunity (not a word they would use, obviously) as a burden and hardship.

They are right, they are old dogs that don’t WANT to improve themselves, their life, or the conversations with those around them. 

For me to see her feeling strong within her body through the determination of her mind was such a heartwarming moment of my week, I had to recognise her efforts.

We are only as strong as our will, and if you ‘will’ yourself outside your comfort zone and if you ‘will’ yourself to think positively you WILL have an amazing journey through this experience called life.

Grab hold of your life and will!

Go ahead!

Learn new things and you will live a much happier second half of yours.