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35 Years Is Enough

April 29, 2011 by  
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When you ‘retire’ it is not time to sit down and watch the world go by. It is time to go re-read your favorite 10, 20 or 100 books, to re-learn all those things that may have slipped slowly away over the years. It’s time to re-connect with old friends and make new friends. It’s time to start a new business or donate your time to a great cause. It’s time to visit a few 3rd world countries and see how many people you can help. It’s time to improve learn, and re-learn.

If you are thinking, “Hey, I don’t have enough energy to do some let alone all of the above”, well, then maybe you need to re-fire yourself by setting a goal to generate more energy. I am talking about rebuilding your body and mind through a regiment of physical exercise and a super-charged diet. Eat more and more fruits and veggies. Set a goal to stop sitting around just watching TV. Get up and move about. You’ll see that the movement itself, whether it’s walking, running, hiking, tennis, bowling even just playing pool, will energize and re-fires you all by itself.

Then once you have some of that renewed energy running through you, get back to living, not retiring. You have so many more years yet and so much to do.

Never retire–Re-fire!

April 22, 2011 by  
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Recently I got a phone call from a friend I knew when we were 20. As it turns out my friend, Keith Karren, has written a great book, “Boomer”, about the issues facing baby boomers as they head into retirement. Throughout the book Keith keeps saying, “Never retire–just re-fire”, a sentiment not very different from what I say in my book “How to Ignite Your Passion for Living”. However, Keith goes a little deeper when it comes to applying this to retirement.

We got to talking about this huge problem that most retired people face. They find themselves thinking “Who am I if I am no longer a business person, teacher, doctor, pilot or clerk?” Sure, at first it seems just wonderful not to have to go to work every day but after a while you miss the structure, camaraderie, goals, etc. You say “Oh, I’m retired now” when people ask what you do and you don’t even know what that means. If you think about it, retired is a terrible word. It comes across as a label that says your life is over, that it is worthless and has little or no meaning.

Well my old friend Keith writes all about this problem in his book. When I first read “Never retire–just re-fire” I was myself, fired up by this phrase. The idea of re-firing is to get you excited or re-excited about living. It means setting new goals and totally re-energizing yourself for this next phase of your life. And that’s a heck of a lot better than sitting around waiting to die. When you retire, you still have another 25-35 years of living yet to do. Just think of all you did in your last 35 years! That’s a lot of time to do a ton of exciting and productive things. Just trade in your retirement for a bit of re-fire-ment!

Repetition is the Best Teacher

April 15, 2011 by  
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My good friend Paul J. Meyer (who sadly passed away a while ago) used to always say “Don’t read 1,000 books but choose 100 of the very best books and read them over and over again.” Spaced repetition is how we remember and makes it easier for us to practice what we learn in our daily lives because the ideas become ingrained and natural.

This idea hit me hard recently when I realized that the basic concept also applied to other things such as my tennis game. I had mastered the best way to hit a forehand many years ago but over the years I stopped practicing that technique, just stopped doing what I knew I should do, and, sure enough, my forehand went to hell. When I got into competing, I had to relearn my forehand all over again. Relearning was hard but it did make a huge difference in my game (Watch out Roger Federer!) On the other hand (no pun was intended!) I could have skipped that whole trying process by simply revisiting the technique and practicing the points on a regular basis. Learning it once is never enough.

This idea is the same whether it’s repeatedly reading books that teach you how to better your life, keeping up on a skill, or revisiting places or people that inspire and energize your spirit. These are all opportunities for learning that if we come back to over and over, we will not forget and will make practicing what we’ve learned a natural and habitual action.

Change Your Scenery

April 8, 2011 by  
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It’s good to be back in the shadow of the Rockies. After being in Hawaii these last few months I can really appreciate the beautiful Utah landscape, arid and harsh as it appears sometimes. Hawaii is lush and breathtaking but Utah, has amazing color and spectacular formations. I’m always happy to get to either home after time in the previous.

In the same way, you don’t have to be stuck with just one goal, one hobby, or one set of tasks all the time. Being able to move between two items will give you a continued appreciation of both. So if you find yourself getting burned out on a particularly trying set of tasks, move to something else, something completely different if possible.

For instance, if you are starting a business and have been working on marketing plans for weeks, switch gears and work on development for a while. The change in “scenery” can give you’re a boost of inspiration and recharge your enthusiasm for the marketing that will get your newly developed products out there.

And if you’ve been holed up all winter, welcome the spring by getting out somewhere and waking up your senses. A literal change of scenery will do you good all the way around. Our minds crave novelty and novelty brings us mega satisfaction, as I am sure you have experienced many times. We just sometimes need a reminder to step out of the habitual.

Inspiration for Change from Across the Sea

April 1, 2011 by  
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Since December of last year, the Middle East has been in turmoil, unrest growing from grumbling to full scale rebellion all across the region. Protesters of these countries commonly cite the inspiring events that occurred in the small Mediterranean country of Tunisia whose citizens were the first to drive actual and dramatic governmental change in the region through demonstrations and protests.

I have to say it’s been impressive, as well as painful, to watch. But this is what change is. It causes pain as well as elation. It topples the familiar and even comfortable status quo while presenting all the wonderful possibilities it brings. It wrecks some, if not all of what was built previously to clear ground to build up for new lives, practices, and dreams.

I know the trials these people are going through in the Middle East make many of our struggles seem insignificant. But they are OUR struggles and if the people in Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, Libya, and the many other countries all over the world fighting against oppression and corruption can bravely move forward with their momentous tasks, we really should be able to pull together enough courage to move forward with the goals we’ve set for ourselves. Tunisia’s circumstance may not relate to our own exactly, but their passion and determination can be an inspiration to enact the change we know we need in our own lives.