Are You A Modern Elder? A Quiz.

Are You A Modern Elder? A Quiz.

As I learned at Airbnb at age 52, where I was twice the average employee’s age, you can become an elder at virtually any age. A pro athlete, a software engineer, a digital marketing whiz kid, and a fashion model all might be an elder in their 30s. Of course, a “modern elder” is a special kind of elder who is as curious as they are wise, and requires a whole new range of skillsets.

We created the Modern Elder Academy (MEA) to help mint modern elders. In essence, we’re a prep school for elderhood, just like a high school might be a prep school for adulthood. Your elderhood might last three or four decades, as being an elder is very different from being elderly.

Here are 10 affirmative statements. Rate yourself as a 0 if the statement doesn’t resonate with you. Give yourself a half-point if it feels right to you, but it’s not an enthusiastic “yes.” And give yourself 1 point per statement if you feel a full-body yes.

1. Outside of my family, I am often in environments where I am the oldest or one of the oldest, and I don’t hide my age.
2. I am both a lifelong learner and a “long-life learner,” someone who wants to live a life that’s as deep and meaningful as it is long.
3. I enjoy growing older, and I believe my best work and life are ahead of me.
4. I feel like my ego is no longer my primary operating system, and I have a growing stirring in my soul.
5. I have developed an active practice of cultivating and harvesting wisdom based on metabolizing my life experiences, and I can teach others to do the same.
6. I love becoming a new beginner at something and am endlessly curious.
7. I believe my emotional intelligence has grown, and I’m less reactive than I was ten years ago.
8. I have moved from the accumulation stage of my life to the editing stage. I am good at ending projects, relationships, mindsets, and distractions that don’t feel nourishing or allow me to serve others effectively.
9. People tell me that I’m a great mentor and a conduit for wisdom. I would be honored to be called a “wisdom worker” instead of a “knowledge worker.”
10. I no longer define myself based on my achievements, image, status, or power, as I’m more focused on my purpose and legacy. The sentence “I am what survives me” defines my life today.

Of course, depending on the day, your answers may differ. Your tabulated score will run from 0 to 10.

If you scored from 0 to 5, you’re probably not a modern elder yet, so you might focus on those statements in which you scored yourself a 0 and ask, “How might I develop habits or practices that allow me to feel more affirmative about this characteristic?”

If you scored above a 5 and below an 8, you’re a budding modern elder, and you might find MEA’s programming perfectly timed for where you are in your life as a prep school for modern elderhood.

If you scored an 8 or above, who knows, you might be teaching at MEA someday. If you haven’t experienced our in-person or online programs, start with that and begin documenting the ways you’re developing your curiosity and wisdom.


Chip Conley

This article first appeared in Chip Conley’s Wisdom Well blog