As we age, we move from ‘From Strength to Strength’

In the conclusion of his book “From Strength to Strength,” author Arthur C. Brooks writes about a conversation he inadvertently overheard on in an airplane, the Trentonian reported. 

Apparently, the man in the conversation was rather well-known and accomplished; however, he confessed to his wife that he’d just as soon be dead.

“His abilities had declined; life had become a source of frustration and dissatisfaction; no one cared about him like they used to, it seemed like they never really did care about him in the first place,” Arthur wrote in his book.

I know of the place he’s talking about. It’s dark and heavy. Once you are trapped in that zone, it’s very hard to escape on your own. The problem is, you have a relatively short window of opportunity to emerge from that state-of-mind before everything starts to collapse around you.

For Arthur, overhearing that conversation motivated him to research the importance of having purpose in his life. He quit his job and launched a mission to develop friendships and family relationships as well as deepened his spiritual life. He learned a new vocation and dedicated his life to lifting up others, the article explained.

The book provides an overview of how the human brain ages and, with it, explains the inevitable decline in abilities and performance. In fact, Arthur wrote people reach the peak performance of their creative years about 20 years after their careers begin.

He may be correct. My first job as a journalist was at 23 and by 43, I was firing on all cylinders. Still, I don’t think I noticed any decline in performance for another 10 years. By then, I just didn’t seem to have the energy, enthusiasm or drive to continue performing at the same consistent level in which I had operated for many years.

The point of “From Strength to Strength” appears to be that even though we can’t expect to perform at the same level we did in our younger years, our “crystalized intelligence” enables us to venture into new mental strongholds more aligned with our decreasing physical abilities.

I just purchased the audiobook and am looking forward to listening to “From Strength to Strength.” I’ll let you know if it’s as good as it sounds.

If you can’t wait for my review, you can pick up a copy at Amazon by clicking on the link above. If you do, Forward From 50 may earn a small commission.

The Trentonian’s full review is available at