No, I’m not 80 yet but if the good Lord is willing, I will be. It is definitely an age of reckoning. It’s the age the young think of as decrepit and the middle age try to push away as much as possible. The main thing to focus on as we age, is what have you learned over this time and what can you contribute to society from all that you have learned.
I have said in previous writings that our Soul assesses itself every 7th birthday and downloads all that it learned during the previous 7 years. It then moves to another state of awareness. This pattern is repeated every 7th birthday beginning at age 7 and will continue to influence you at each important 7 years thereafter. We can be 77 or 83 and go through another Soul cycle. These are very important birthdays.
This post is not, however, on the Soul cycles but they are mentioned so that you are aware that you never stop growing in awareness, you never retire from life here and you are lucky to be above ground. With that said, about 6 or 7 years ago a gentleman by the name of Byron Wien, who worked or works for the Blackstone Group, (a huge investment firm) gave a talk at an investment conference on what he had learned over the course of his career. He wrote about this in the Blackstone Blog on February 12, 2013. It was forwarded to me by a gold trader, Michael McGowan who calls himself “The Financial Foghorn”. I thought Byron Wien’s comments priceless, wise and worth taking into consideration. Just reading some of them can help you think of something else besides the insanity of election season. There were 20 comments in all but I am just listing my favorite 10.
1) If you want to be successful and live a long stimulating life, keep yourself at risk intellectually all the time.
2) When you meet someone new, treat that person as a friend. Assume he or she is a winner and will become a positive force in your life. Most people wait for others to prove their value. Give them the benefit of the doubt from the start. Occasionally you will be disappointed, but your network will broaden rapidly if you follow this path.
3) Read all the time. Don’t just do it because you’re curious about something, read actively. Have a point of view before you start a book or article and see if what you think is confirmed or refuted by the author.
4) Evolve. Try to think of your life in phases so you can avoid burn-out. Number crunch early in your career and try developing concepts later on. Stay at risk throughout the process.
5) On philanthropy my approach is to try to relieve pain rather than spread joy. Music, theater and art museums have many affluent supporters, give the best parties and can add to your social luster in a community. They don’t need you. Social service, hospitals and educational institutions can make the world a better place and help the disadvantaged make their way toward the American dream.
6) The hard way is always the right way. Never take shortcuts, except when driving home from the Hamptons. Short-cuts can be construed as sloppiness, a career killer.
7) When seeking a career as you come out of school or making a job change, always take the job that looks like it will be the most enjoyable. If it pay the most, you are lucky. If it doesn’t, take it anyway. I took a severe pay cut to take each of the two best jobs I’ve every had, and they both turned out to be exceptionally rewarding financially.
9) When your children are grown or if you have no children, always find someone younger to mentor. It is very satisfying to help someone steer through life’s obstacles, and you”ll be surprised at how you will learn in the process.
10) Never retire. If you work forever, you will live forever. I know there is an abundance of biological evidence against this theory, but I’m going with it anyway.
Let’s all look forward to enjoying our 80’s. If you are in retirement and filling your days with “fillers”, why not reconsider another career. The Soul did not come here to retire, get a pension and play golf. Bravo for Byron Wien.