There comes a point in nearly every adult’s life that they need to make one of the biggest decisions they will ever make. And they all make the decision.
But they don’t even know that they made it.
The older we get, the more experience we obtain. Usually, that comes with more wisdom. With each passing week, our network grows stronger, our knowledge grows deeper and we should be getting better on a consistent basis.
The problem is, so many of us have such a disinterest or disdain for the work that we do that, at a certain point, we have been guided to see retirement as the answer to that problem. If I can just get enough money to retire, I can stop working. That’s the prevailing mindset. And as soon as that takes shape in our minds, we have made a decision that sets us on a certain path.
What does that path look like?
A stress over not having enough money invested for our eventual retirement. A focus on doing what it takes to get to that goal. Often, it requires scrimping and saving while trying to balance the financial pressures of kids headed to college as well as everyday expenses. Oh, and inflation makes everything more expensive. If we invest, we invest in our retirement account. Other investments (like in ourselves) seem off the mark. It’s a plodding hike to finally stop doing work.
But there was actually a different decision that could have been made at that inflection point. A decision that would take you on an entirely different path.
Dr. David Agus shared a stunning stat. He showed that for every year that you delay retirement, you reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease by nearly 4%. By those numbers, if you can delay retirement by ten years, you can reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s by nearly 40%!
That in itself should be a reason to reconsider going on the retirement path.
You still have so much to share.
Those years have given you experience. They have given you leadership qualities. They have given you knowledge of topics that can help others. In some areas, you have already forgotten more than what others have learned.
Are you just going to shut that down, keep it inside of you, and go retire?
Here’s the deal.
There’s no need to ever “retire” if you do work that you love, and you create that work to where you can control your schedule. Because if you can find a way to lead, you can earn income by doing something that you already have knowledge or interest in. If you do that, you no longer have disinterest or disdain for the work that you do.
The problem isn’t working. Work gives us purpose. It gives us great challenges. It gives us the ability to help others. It gives us longevity and solid mental health. The problem is the type of work that you are doing.
So, instead of focusing on improving the work we do- and optimizing it- we choose to start shutting it down.
And when we start shutting it down, we also start shutting down our mind. We start shutting down our bodies. We start shutting down our interest in others, we start shutting down our network and we really start shutting down our ability to help others.
And dare I say it, but we become selfish.
I had a mentor who told me about a conversation he once had with a wealthy man. The wealthy man was headed to retirement. He was done with it all, and just wanted to do his own thing. He had enough money for him and his kids and he didn’t want to be bothered anymore.
“So you got what you wanted,” the mentor said. “Now you are just going to do what you want and not help anyone else with what you have learned?” You go and live the good life and not share any of what you learned with others? That sounds pretty selfish.”
The wealthy man did an immediate 180. He began setting up coffee conversations with younger people who were struggling in his area of expertise. He began coaching, writing and teaching- all things he had never done before. But he was so knowledgeable, he didn’t need to be the best at any of those to make a great impact.
Years later, the wealthy old student wasn’t even thinking about retirement any longer. He was having too much fun helping people that he couldn’t think of stopping. His health ailments that were a factor in considering retirement had almost all gone away. And his new business had become so profitable that all of that money he saved for retirement wasn’t even that significant any longer.
The wealthy student came to that point and made a decision. The decision to shut it all down. That is until he was challenged with a question that changed his path. A challenge to take what he had learned and help others that needed that guidance. And because of that shift in direction, many more lives were enhanced and improved and the old student was able to make an impact that he didn’t ever consider before being challenged.
If this is you, I’ll challenge you like that mentor challenged his friend. If you are on the same path, are you going to focus on getting enough money so that you don’t work anymore? Or are you going to find a way to teach what you have learned?
And if your goal for retirement is a nice life of wealth and health, would you be better off shutting it all down and living on what you have saved or improving your health and your bank account by actually having purpose in the work that you do?
You get to choose the path that you take.
Have an AMAZING week!