If you’ve achieved these 11 things by 40, you’re already ahead of the rest (according to psychology)

Do you feel like you’re ahead or behind your peers?

Feeling like you’re ahead of the game gives you a sense of winning like you’re making progress and doing better than others.

It feels good because it shows that your efforts are paying off.

As a 40-year-old, I feel like certain things I did before the big 40 eased my worries about the future and made me feel more secure. Others, not so much.

So, although life shouldn’t be about comparing yourself to others all the time, let’s explore what things you’ve achieved by 40 that show you’re already ahead of the rest.

We’re not going to talk about physical things but your mindset and the things that truly matter. 

1) You know who you are and what matters to you

Recognizing and understanding yourself is fundamental in psychology. It involves introspection, awareness of your emotions, motivations, and values. 

This self-awareness brings about better decision-making, improved relationships, and overall well-being.

Knowing who I was and what mattered to me the most was a journey. It took a lot of soul-searching, but once I found that self-awareness, everything else fell into place.

And understanding my values, my strengths, and my passions gave me a solid foundation to go through life’s twists and turns.

2) You found a job you’re truly passionate about

Job satisfaction is a significant factor in psychological well-being.

When you’re doing work that matches your interests, values, and skills, you experience greater fulfillment and happiness and higher levels of motivation and productivity.

And that makes perfect sense, right? I’m much more motivated when I’m doing something I like doing than when I’m doing something I hate and have to force myself to do. 

Finding a job I was truly passionate about wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. I refused to settle for a career that didn’t light a fire in my soul. 

I finished college right before the Financial Crisis of 2008 and thus started my working life in retail and similar jobs that were the only ones available at the time. And I hated every minute of it. 

So, I explored different paths, tried new things, and eventually stumbled upon something that felt right. Now, work doesn’t feel like work – it feels like purpose.

3) You managed your money wisely

Psychological research emphasizes the importance of financial well-being for your mental health.

When you’re good at handling your finances, it can help you feel less stressed and worried about money.

Managing my money wisely was a skill I had to learn the hard way.

In my younger years, I was a bit reckless with my finances, living paycheck to paycheck and splurging on things I didn’t need.

I also had to dig myself out of a mountain of credit card debt. 

But as I grew older, I realized the significance of budgeting, saving, and investing for the future.

It’s been a journey, but now I feel confident in my financial decisions.

4) You took care of your physical health

The mind-body connection is well-established in psychology.

Taking care of physical health through exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep not only improves physical well-being but also has positive effects on mood, cognition, and overall quality of life.

I used to take my body for granted, indulging in unhealthy habits and being an overall couch potato. 

But I soon realized that I only had one body, and I needed to treat it with respect. So, I started eating better, exercising regularly, and prioritizing self-care.

Now I feel stronger, healthier, and more energized than ever before. Well, apart from feeling like a train hit me when I need to get out of bed in the morning, of course. 

5) You built strong, deep connections

People are lonelier than ever despite knowing that meaningful relationships are crucial for mental health

Friends and family give us emotional support, validation, and a sense of belonging and strong relationships are associated with lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety.

Building deep connections has always been important to me. I’ve never been one for shallow friendships or surface-level interactions. 

Instead, I invested time and energy into developing meaningful relationships with people who truly got me.

Those connections became my backbone, my biggest fans, and the people I chose to lean on like family.

6) You kept learning and growing personally

You kept learning and growing personally If you've achieved these 11 things by 40, you're already ahead of the rest (according to psychology)

Psychological research supports the idea that continuous learning and personal growth are vital for psychological resilience and well-being. 

Engaging in new experiences, acquiring new skills, and challenging yourself boosts a sense of purpose, mastery, and fulfillment.

Keeping learning and growing personally has always been important to me. I believe that life is one big classroom, and there’s always something new to discover.

Whether it’s picking up a new hobby, learning a new skill, or challenging my beliefs, I’m constantly pushing myself to evolve and grow.

If you never stopped learning and are still very curious about the world around you, you’re already ahead of the rest. 

7) You feel like you’re making a difference

Having a sense of purpose is associated with greater life satisfaction and mental well-being. It gives you a framework for setting goals, making decisions, and finding meaning in your actions and experiences.

And look, it’s nice not to rent an apartment after many, many years. It’s also good to drive a nice car after years of driving beaters. 

But the feeling that I was making a difference was a true driving force in my life. Everything else was just a consequence of that passion.

I’ve always had a strong desire to leave my mark on the world, to make it a better place in whatever way I could.

Whether it’s volunteering, advocating for causes I believe in, or simply being there for a friend in need, I’ve found fulfillment in knowing that my actions have a positive impact.

8) You bounced back like a boss

Life’s not always easy and perfect. If you’re anything like me, you’ve had your fair share of setbacks and losses.

That’s why bouncing back from setbacks was a skill I developed through trial and error. Life was full of ups and downs, but with each setback, I’ve learned to pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep moving forward.

It certainly wasn’t always easy, but it’s made me stronger and more resilient in the long run.

9) You live in line with your values

Living according to your values means being true to yourself and doing things that feel right for you. When you do that, it helps you feel more confident, happy, and mentally healthy. 

Living in line with my values was a conscious choice I made. I refused to compromise my integrity or betray my beliefs for anyone or anything. 

Instead, I stayed true to who I was, even when it wasn’t the easiest path to take or when some ridiculed me for it. 

And in the end, I really believe it paid off – because I can look myself in the mirror and know that I lived and still live authentically.

10) You found that sweet balance in life

Work-life balance is about finding a healthy balance between your job or career and your personal life. 

You aren’t letting work consume all your time and energy, but you’re also not neglecting your professional responsibilities. 

Finding balance in life was a constant struggle, but I eventually found my groove.

I used to be all work and no play, sacrificing my personal life for the sake of my career.

But I soon realized that true happiness comes from finding balance – between work and play, ambition and relaxation, hustle and rest.

And once I found that balance, everything else fell into place.

11) You embraced your uniqueness

From a psychological standpoint, self-acceptance refers to embracing yourself fully, including both strengths and weaknesses, without judgment or self-criticism.

Embracing my uniqueness was a journey of self-acceptance. I used to compare myself to others, wishing I was taller, smarter, and more successful.

But over time, I came to realize that my quirks and imperfections were what made me who I was.

So, I learned to embrace my uniqueness, celebrating the things that made me different instead of trying to fit in.

And in doing so, I found a sense of freedom and confidence I never knew existed.

Final thoughts

Hitting these milestones by the time you’re 40 is like leveling up in life. It shows you’ve made some serious progress and are on the right track.

But don’t stress if you haven’t ticked off everything on the list.

What’s most important is feeling happy, fulfilled, and true to yourself, no matter where you are in life. Keep doing you! 

Picture of Adrian Volenik

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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