Most of the world is designed for the lowest common denominator. Schools are designed to impart a set amount of knowledge to a diverse group of kids each year. It doesn’t much matter how smart you are, how interested you are, or how hard you want to work, the schedule is only designed to teach you so much each year. Most jobs work this way too. You show up, do the work someone tells you to do, and go home. These systems have been spectacularly effective for the vast majority of people who need their hand held through life.
But there’s no requirement that you hold the hand that’s offered to you all the way through life. It seems like there is, since almost everyone around you will probably say things can’t be done. “You can’t take that many units” or “You can’t take that class if you haven’t had the prerequisites” or “You need 5 years of experience to apply for that job” or “You need X amount of capital to start that business” or, or, or. Probably 99% of the limitations people think exist really don’t.
In fact, insisting that you grab the hand that isn’t offered to you is the best way to go. This is the reason most “prodigies” are considered prodigies. They get passionate about something, they get a little bit ahead of their peers, they demand access to those ahead of them, and they hang on while they get dragged along for a bit. Once they catch up to that person (which means they’re now well ahead of their peers), they repeat this process. After two or three rounds of this, they’re now far ahead of their peers, and their access is basically unlimited. The people at the top of their field want to mentor these kids because (1) the kids actually care (which is unusual) and (2) because the kids remind those people of themselves when they were kids.
This works whether you’re a kid or an old man.