So I get this in my email last week. Someone is telling me I have to see this. It’s a link to a Huffington Post article:
80-Year-Old Model Crushes Stereotypes With His Runway Swagger
High fashion runways don’t usually feature older models, let alone those with more than half a century in life experience. But this 80-year-old grandfather is proof designers have been making one BIG mistake. ... Read the full story
The story is eye-catching because we don’t expect “old” people to be runway models, much less an Internet sensation because of it. (Ageism is all around us and it colors our expectations, so this calls our attention.)
And here’s Deshun Wang - his confidence, vitality, physicality - strutting down the catwalk and he becomes an instant international hero to young and old alike.
Watch his video “Be the Fiercest” as he tells us about himself. He laughs, simultaneously heartily and relaxed, at the fact that he’s being called “the Hottest Grandpa” and an “Internet sensation” after his catwalk in a Chinese fashion show last year.
“But you know what,” he says, “to prepare for this day, I’ve been getting ready for 60 years.”
He explains: At age 24, he was a theatrical actor, and he started learning English at 44. At age 49, he started a pantomime troupe and went to Beijing and became a “Beijing Drifter” starting “everything from scratch.” He began working out at a gym at age 50, and returned to the stage at 57 with his original “Living Sculpture Performance.” At age 70, he “really started getting serious about working out,” and he had his first runway experience at age 79. Turning 80, he says he “still has some left in him” - things he yet wants to do.
He tells us:
“Potential can be explored.”
“When you think it’s too late, be careful you don’t let that become your excuse for giving up.”
“No one can keep you from your success, except yourself.”
“When it’s your time to shine, be the brightest!”
On the Internet, “life coaches” and health coaches are eating this up, but for very different reasons than mine. It is true as Deshun Wang says in a separate interview, “People can change their life as many times as they wish.” But this doesn’t happen just by motivation and having a goal, while those things are critically important.
For me, it’s a case study in what I call “VIPS” -- one's personal Values, Interests, “the three Ps”, and Strengths. Based on online interviews, it’s clear that Deshun Wang knew his VIPS from an early age and adhered closely to it throughout his life, undeterred by the twists and turns of life.
Look now at his signature strengths and values, how they are reflected in all that he is and has become, and how they shine through him: a display of creativity, courage, curiosity, vitality, physicality, persistence, openness and adaptability, humor… of being “fierce” (strong) and unstoppable… Deshun Wang lived and is living his VIPS. He made them his core centerpiece, and they made him shine, unique and extraordinary.
What are your VIPS and how do you honor them?
Finally, it's about having a mindset that allows you to experience your life as an adventure. As Deshun Wang says about aging: “One way to tell if you’re old or not is to ask yourself, ‘Do you dare try something you’ve never done before?’ ”
Thoughts for creating success in the second half of life.