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Reset for Aging

July 3, 2022 by  
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I’ve been thinking a lot about this thing they call aging recently, especially since I am moving in on that big number 80. 

Last year my son gave me a book on my birthday called Successful Aging by Daniel J. Levitin that I’ve really enjoyed. Then the other day I came across two other aging articles. One was in the March issue of the AARP Bulletin titled, “The Answer to Age Related Weight Gain” and the other was titled “100 Ways to Live to 100” found on the website HuffPost, which I had read before. Combined, they really got me thinking.  

Since I have only 11 years before I hit 90 and, even worse, just 21 years until I come up on 100, I really studied those ideas and instructions that I thought would help me make the most of my life as well as those that would help me live the longest. It’s given me a lot of great things to focus on. 

I will never forget that French lady Jeanne Calmet who lived an active 122 years and 164 days, living on her own until 110. Or the Russian woman, Nanu Shaova, who lived to a record 127 years. These ladies prove that a long, meaningful life is possible. 

A new book, The Whole Body Reset by AARP, Stephen Perrine, and Heidi Skolnik, has a lot of great advice about how to preserve muscle at age 50 and above, such as…

  • Eat at least 30 grams of protein at every meal
  • Eat colorful fruits and vegetables
  • Try strength training

That’s just a few of the great suggestions in this book that have to do with successful aging and living a better life. 

And here are just a few of the “100 Ways to Live to 100″ from that HuffPost article I came across again recently: 

1. Find a purpose for life

2. Walk a lot

3. Be happy

4. Do unto others 

5. Practice yoga

6. Be optimistic

7, Go meatless

8. Eat your fiber

9. Make healthy changes in your life starting today

10. Don’t dread getting older

There’s a lot of food for thought here. I’ll add to that list next week as well, but in the meantime, work with some of these suggestions. You can never start too early to improve your chances of a long, meaningful life. 

Daily Joy

May 1, 2022 by  
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Years ago, after successfully building my wealth, I retired so I could enjoy the “good life”, including traveling and having plenty of time to spend with family. That is the kind of life everybody would love to live, right? Well, it did not end up being what I thought it would be. I was shocked at how unhappy and depressed I could get. Sometimes I didn’t even want to get up in the morning. I just didn’t see any joy in my day.

This situation was a mystery to me at first. Why would leisure make me so unhappy? I researched my symptoms and tried various methods to improve my health and my mind. Some techniques I found worked, to an extent, but if I thought back to my earlier years when I had been working really hard to build my wealth, there was no comparison.

The thing was, when I worked long days fixing up homes or, later, negotiating huge real estate purchases, I was happy, regardless of all the toil and pressure of those times. I had goals and a bright future, and I was intensely passionate about what I was doing. It was while pondering the past that I realized, for all the great things I had accomplished, for all the wealth and love I had in my life, life was not worth waking up for without a purpose and a passion.

As it turns out, I enjoy life the most when I am helping others better their own lives and knowing that led me to a solution for what I was feeling. With so many years of experience and knowledge, and having already written books on succeeding financially, writing another book, one that would help people not just become wealthy, but would help them reach any goal they desired, was just a natural choice. Once I decided to write the book, my days came alive again.

It was a long, arduous road, but eventually I published How to Ignite Your Passion for Living in 2008. It wasn’t long after publication that I began to see and hear the stories of people whose lives were changed because of the words and techniques in my book. It turned out, however, that the book would be just the beginning of a new chapter in my life, one where helping people find their passion and better their lives became a focus for my life.

To this day, I continue to work towards spreading these ideas through whatever channels I find, including this blog. I continue to hope that, through these posts, I can further inspire and motivate people. And I always love to hear the stories of struggle and success from my readers, so if you have one or more to share, please do write to me.

My readers are my purpose and passion now, the driving force that gets me jumping out of bed in the morning, looking forward to all the new day has in store. I hope you have found or are looking for that something that brings joy into your life every day as well. Joy really is working towards something you truly believe in.

The Challenge of Retirement

January 30, 2022 by  
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For those of you that have recently retired, or if you are approaching retirement and doing some planning, there are a few unexpected surprises that might be waiting for you. At least there were for me.

I had looked forward to being retired and having all that extra time to do anything I wanted to like travel, play more tennis, and just have a great time. Well, I must tell you, when that day arrived, I was in for an enormous surprise.

I don’t think most of us realize what a great challenge retirement can be. It didn’t hit me immediately, but after a few months of it, I found myself going stir crazy. I came to realize that we humans need structure and a routine. Without that, we can become very frustrated. I talked to a few friends that had retired a year or so before I did and they told me that the same thing hit them. We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning and I didn’t have any routine or daily plans to motivate me.

At that point, I began to see how very important things like going to the office and interacting with others were for us humans. I missed the social part of my work life and struggled with feelings of worthlessness because I wasn’t producing anything. We thrive on being productive which helps those around us and lifts our brain and lives to a higher level. Sure, I can travel more and have great fun hanging out with my kids, grandkids, and friends, but we need to be contributing to our lives and the world around us in some way as well.

My advice to everyone is to plan for retirement, not just financially, but in what you will do with your time. Make lists and talk with others that have retired or are heading that way fairly soon to see what, if anything, they are planning. It’s a good idea to look at your life and think about what brings you the greatest pleasure and what stimulates your brain and then see if you can build your retirement around those things.

Patrice Jenkins, PhD, wrote a brilliant book called What Will I Do All Day? Wisdom to Get Over Retirement and on with Living. In the book, she offers some great advice: “Creating meaningful work in retirement provides an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone. If you’d like to, you can redefine yourself — try something new and different… In retirement, you have the freedom to be anything that suits you.”

Even if you are many years away from retirement, it’s not too early to do some thinking and planning now. I think you will be very glad that you did when those retirement days come around.

Mindful Aging

December 26, 2021 by  
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Wow, the end of 2021 is already here, just a few more days. Time is such an interesting thing and I find it fascinating that the passage of time seems to change its speed depending on your age and/or things you have planned in your life. When most of us were young, anxious to be old enough to get our driver’s license, time seemed to be moving so very, very slowly. I remember counting down the days until I could get mine. But things do change, especially when you get older.

At my age now, just a little more than 3 months until I hit 78, the years seem to speed up. I can remember, easily, the new year’s celebration I was at last year at my good tennis friend Al Ficker’s house in Kauai. It’s like it was just a couple of months ago. Wow, this year just flew by in a flash.

I am re-reading the great book by Jo Ann Jenkins called Disrupt Aging. I’ve written and talked about her book in previous posts. There are so many good and smart things she says about “really owning your age” and being proud of whatever that age number is. I loved her quote about a woman who said, “No one’s going to deprive me of my age.”

Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Encore.org, and author of The Big Shift wrote, “In Disrupt Aging, Jenkins offers the generational call to action we’ve been waiting for—to break free from outmoded ideas about age, to embrace the rich possibilities present in the decades opening up beyond fifty, and to join a growing movement of individuals determined to live lives infused with purpose. Beautifully written, full of humor and inspiration, and powerfully argued, this book offers the definitive map for making the most of the longevity revolution, as individuals and as a nation.”

Jo Ann has so many good thoughts and ideas for our lives as we age, such as:

  • The best life includes contributing to the well-being of others.
  • Try new things and take chances…don’t live in fear of aging.
  • Focus on health, wealth and self. 
  • This is a time to shift from “mindless aging” to mindful living.

If you are retired now, take a hard look at your life and determine your thoughts about aging. How can you age more mindfully? And if you are not retired yet, then it’s a good time to start making plans for what you are going to do when retired. Yes, write it down, make lists, set priorities and write down your future schedule. You’ll be glad you did when you finally retire.

And when you do retire, as well as right now, be sure to strive for always living in the right now moment!

For Love of Work

September 19, 2021 by  
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Last week, I said I would tell more of the story about Bunker Bean who I spoke about in the last couple of posts. However, I am going to do that next week as I have something else I want to share with you first.

Recently, I was thumbing through a great book that I read years ago entitled When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough by Harold Kushner. As I always do when I read a book, I wrote down many of the most interesting, helpful, and motivating quotes and comments that the author made. These notes are a great way to go back and easily refresh my memory since they highlight those points that hit me the hardest and helped lift my thoughts, actions, and life to a higher level.

Here are some of the points in this book that really helped me, especially the comments about work and how important it is for all of us:

l. Work can be the scaffolding that holds up our adult lives. (I need to keep remembering this as being retired makes it more difficult to find and do the best kinds of work for me.)

2. The key to one’s happiness is to find pleasure in our work and to use our abilities–no wasting them!

3. Our souls are hungry for meaning.

4. We work for meaning. We work so our days will not be empty of meaning!

5. Do not expect that life will always be fair.

6. For ultimate satisfaction, lower the level of what you want to what you already have.

7. The affliction which drains so much of the sense of meaning from our lives these days is that disease of boredom.

Kushner makes several other notable points in this book that are not easily summarized and put into a list. For example, he writes, “Asked, “’What do you do?’ we invariably respond in terms of our work, not our hobbies or organizational commitments,” implying that work is often our identity.

About himself, he notes that, “I work because I have a family to support and bills to pay. But I work also because it puts me in touch with people and helps me think of myself as a competent, contributing person.”

Kushner also writes that “there is something satisfying about being challenged to do something hard and then doing it. I think it must have been what Ecclesiastes had in mind when he said to us, in effect, ‘If you are not going to win a Nobel Prize for your work, if it is not going to make you rich and famous, it can still give meaning to your life if you take it seriously and do it with all your might.’”

I think the author makes many wonderful comments and offers some very helpful advice. It’s a great little book and I highly encourage you to get it and read it but, most importantly, LIVE by the advice that you think will make a big difference in your life, a difference for the better.

Actions and Practices in Self-Esteem

March 21, 2021 by  
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Having healthy self-esteem is a critical part of all of our lives. It is one of those attributes that can help us rise very high in business, within our social circles, and in terms of our happiness and self-confidence.

I was looking through a bunch of my old papers and came across some notes I made years ago while I was looking into a related thing that is so important to our lives—that being confidence. I want to share with you some of those notes that helped me better understand the importance of healthy versus low self-esteem, it’s role in my confidence level, and how I could build more of both in myself.

The sources of healthy self-esteem are mostly internal. In our brains we work on and build what we think of ourselves, and if we approach it correctly, we tend to have lots of confidence and work on bringing our self-esteem to higher levels.

No, you don’t need to achieve perfection overnight, but you can get so much from just small improvements designed to lift low self-esteem. We all need to be aware of the operations of our consciousness as your mind is the best tool for survival. You should be aware of everything and live in the present moment, seeing first, then knowing, then acting.

So, you may ask, what are these actions are we talking about? Well, here are some of them:

1. Have an active mind.

2. Be in the moment.

3. Reach toward relevant facts.

4. Know where I am relative to my goals.

5. Always be open to new knowledge.

6. See and correct mistakes.

7. Make commitments to learning and growth.

In addition, there are a few practices that can boost self-esteem. Here is a list of practices that I wrote down and regularly work on that seem to boost my self-esteem. These practices have helped lead to some great success in my business and personal life.

1. The practice of self-acceptance. (It’s sad that most of us are very hard on ourselves, even harder than we are on other people, and, of course, that self-judgment is quietly tucked in our minds and quietly reduces our self-esteem.)

2. The practice of self-responsibility.

3. The practice of self-acceptance.

4. The practice of living purposefully.

5. The practice of self-assertiveness.

6. The practice of personal integrity.

When self-esteem is low, we are usually motivated by fear. Fear is how we act. There is fear of being exposed, fear of failure, dreading the unknown, and change. Higher self-esteem looks for new frontiers, looks for opportunity, and looks for new and bigger challenges. Sadly, without a good level of self-esteem, we suffer with lots of anxiety and insecurity.

These guidelines were and are very helpful to me in building and maintaining my self-esteem. This is quite important to me now in my retirement years. I am also only a few years away from hitting that big 80 number. I’ve been keeping my tennis game up so I need to keep working on keeping my self-esteem up too! Hope these guidelines and suggestions are helpful to you!

The Neglected Key to a Long Life

October 25, 2020 by  
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I started to re-read the book entitled I’ve Decided to Live 120 YEARS: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Transformation written by Ilchi Lee. I’ve written about this book in a previous blog post but I didn’t mention an incredible statistic I learned about in these pages.

It turns out, you can do this very simple thing that, on average, can lengthen your life by 7.5 years. That conclusion was reached based on data from 143 studies with a total of 300,000 participants. In that previous post, I mostly talked about how a long and healthy life is primarily about eating nutritious foods and staying physically active but there’s a bit more you can do.

So, during my second read of the book, what really jumped out at me was something that I’ve not been doing much of since I retired. I’m kind of surprised that I’ve ignored this critical part of living a long life and I have suffered because of it.

What is it that I’ve ignored that could have possibly lengthened my life by 7.5 years? It’s this thing called a social life! Having and keeping a good strong and active social life does things to the brain including sending signals to various body parts that keep it healthy and helps you live longer.

When I retired, I let my social life slide down big time! I stopped going to the office and so I stopped seeing my coworkers, clients, partners and business associates. I also moved into a big house on the mountain side with no neighbors, so that made it even worse. And this COVID-19 has certainly not helped in the least. In addition, there’s no kids here at home anymore. It’s just me and the wife in our big, empty nest.

Lee says in his book, “The isolation of the elderly doesn’t only cause loneliness, it has been shown to have a negative impact on physical and mental health, increasing conditions like chronic disease, high blood pressure, depression, cognitive decline, and dementia”. In addition, he notes, “Having people around us with whom we can communicate on a heart-to-heart level may also reduce the effects of stress.”

We all want to be happy but things can quickly change when we suddenly retire–Lee goes on to say “People, especially as they get older, are experiencing deeper and more frequent forms of unhappiness in many spheres of life: chronic illnesses, alienation or disruption of personal relationships, weakening of economic power. Suddenly facing their social roles greatly reduced during retirement, people are likely to find their self-esteem withering away.”

Most of that has hit me hard so I’m here to tell you that, whether you are retired yet or not, it’s a good time to start making a list of plans and actions that you are going to take on when that day arrives and be sure an active social life is on there. Personally, I’m bound and determined to catch up and do just that!

In Lee’s book he also talks about another thing that can lengthen and make your life more pleasant and happy and it’s something that I’ve talked a lot about over the years – having a good strong purpose and hopes and dreams. I will talk more about those issues in my next week’s post.

Getting On With Living

October 18, 2020 by  
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As mentioned last week, retirement has challenges that aren’t always anticipated and so I gave you some ideas to overcome that. This week, I have more ideas to help you deal with the struggles that many people have when they retire, including me. Even if you are not retiring now or anytime soon these ideas and methods can still enhance your life.

When I found that I was struggling with retirement I sought answers in a few very helpful books written on that very subject and what I learned helped me a ton. By the way, the current pandemic can have us struggling in a similar way as our routines and schedules are thrown out of whack.

Elaine St. James wrote a great little book titled, Inner Simplicity: 100 Ways to Regain Peace and Nourish Your Soul. ln the book, she talks about how important it is to have a routine and follow a schedule that you set up for yourself, retired or not. Of course, before we are retired, most of us have a routine and schedule due to our job and family but most of that goes away as we enter retirement.

For St. James, “inner simplicity” means creating joy in our lives and staying connected with that joy every moment of the day. When many of us retire, along with a loss of routine, we may stop or reduce how connected we are to our joy which is due in part to our reduced connection to other people, like work associates and even friends.

St. James goes on to say, “Now that I’ve simplified my life, I find it easy to get up at the crack of dawn, or even earlier. In that quiet time, I can do you yoga and stretching, write in my journal, do some deep breathing, work on affirmations and visualizations, meditate or have some quiet time to just sit and think.” That’s some very good stuff we can learn from and follow.

Another great book is What Will I Do All Day?: Wisdom to Get You Over Retirement and on with Living!, by Patrice Jenkins, PHD. She talks a lot about energy and also notes how much we get from working with other people when we are on the job.

She asks, “How do you discover your work’s energy source? Think about what parts of your work you enjoy most. Is there one part of your work that charges you with high-octane fuel? “

She continues with suggestions and probing questions. “Maybe your energy source comes from being involved in teamwork with coworkers. If you have already retired, you may have insight on what parts of your work provided you with the most energy. Was it a chance to help people, to teach, to solve problems, or be physically active? ”

Later, she makes this great point: “Once you have identified your energy source, you will know what it is that you’ll want to keep alive in retirement.”

Wow, that’s some great advice and it has helped me a ton. I hope this will help you if you are retired or planning for when that day arrives, or even through this terrible pandemic. Routines, staying in touch with people, and knowing the source of our energy can help us through unexpected struggles and back to living a full life.

 

Retirement – The Best or the Worst

October 11, 2020 by  
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I’m sure you, like most people would agree that the majority of us humans look forward to the day we get to retire. You know … no alarm clock to wake us up, no worrying about pleasing our boss, and so many other things we won’t have to do. You imagine life will be so great, that you will be able to relax, do anything you want to do, have tons of fun, and be able to travel anywhere in the world (that you can afford) on a whim.

Well, you know what? Some of that may be true. But when you find yourself without a schedule or purpose, that can get very depressing. You might even go a little crazy. And nowadays we have COVID-19 on top of that so it can be even worse. In fact, most of us are getting a preview of retirement now that our routines have been so dramatically changed.

You might find yourself asking, “Just what am I going to do today?”

The smart one’s among us begin to make lots of plans long before they hit that retirement wall. When I was preparing to retire, I made a few plans, but I didn’t create enough to-do lists or new routines.

So, what did I do when I was feeling down because of my lack of a schedule? I turned to books written about retirement. In Ernie J. Zelinski’s great book The Joy of Not Working, he makes lots of great suggestions such as, “One of the chief sources of happiness is having a special purpose or a personal mission in life … Finding and pursuing your true calling can make life a totally new experience.”

He then gives some examples of personal missions:

1. Make the world a better place to live by reducing pollution.

2. Raise money to help care for others in need.

3. Help children develop a special talent or skill, such as playing piano.

4. Write entertaining children’s book that help young boys and girls discover the wonders of the world.

5. Give foreign travelers the best possible tour of the Rocky Mountains.

6. Create a committed relationship and keep it exciting and energizing.

The author goes on to say, “Although a true calling should be closely tied to your values and interests, it can also be determined by your strengths and weaknesses. Your personal mission will intimately connect you to who you are and to the world around you. Taking the time to answer the following questions may help reveal a personal mission that you would like to pursue.”

I must say that his questions really helped me:

1. What are all your passions?

2. What are your strengths?

3. Who are your heroes?

4. What do you want to discover or learn?

Answering those great questions can put you on the right track. It has for me. So, if you are not retired yet, start making specific plans. And if you are retired and struggling, answer those questions above to help you discover your great purpose and direction for this new chapter in your life.

 

The 120 Year Goal

December 29, 2019 by  
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It’s not too late to make some New Year’s resolutions, a.k.a. goals for 2020!  What are your New Year’s resolutions? Hopefully you have a detailed, clear, and measurable set of goals with timelines attached and, of course, written down.

With those in hand, my first suggestion is that you make your start date TODAY. That’s right – start right now. There is no good reason you can’t take those first, maybe very small but necessary steps, toward your goals for the new year. I think that the goal of great health is, or should be, on the top of most people’s list. It’s been proven that if you set a reasonable goal for great health, the odds are very high that you will achieve those health goals.

My son gave me a book entitled I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years by Ilchi Lee. The author makes a big point of how a decision or goal to live a very long life can push you toward looking and finding what you want to live for. The problem for most people, when they get to around the age of 75 or 80, is that they don’t have a specific purpose.

Mr. Lee says his choice to live to be 120 was not based on his family history or his current health. “My choice stemmed from my desire to be of service to the world and to take responsibility for the great dream that I’ve set for my life.” Lee has a big project in New Zealand called “Earth Village,” which is a “residential school and community where hundreds of people can experience a self-reliant, earth-friendly lifestyle in a place where humans and nature live in harmony”.

It’s so important, especially as we age, to have a project and an agenda that we can totally throw ourselves into. Without a goal, a plan, and a timeline agenda you really won’t be driven to do much at all, especially if you are 70 or 80 years old and retired. Before retirement you would likely have a work routine that pushes you out the door and off to work. But after you retire, you really don’t have much pushing you, so you have to set that up yourself if you want a life full of joy, happiness, and a great feeling of accomplishment.

So, what do you want to accomplish and how you can help others lift their dreams and goals for a better and longer life?

At this time of year, I certainly ask myself that as well as taking a hard look at what I had set out to do in the year that is just wrapping up. I take note of where I fell short and where I exceeded my dreams and goals.

One of the items at the top of my list last year that I’m, again, putting on this year’s list to is the goal of “Top Notch Health”.  If you decide to live to be 120, which is not common but certainly physically possible, you will most likely take a hard look at what the key to good health might be. You, no doubt, will discover that what you eat as well as keeping active and moving are at the top of the list to increase your chances of reaching your big goal.

In all my years of reading about health and longevity I have found and am convinced that the diet called “The CRON Diet”, is a huge key to success and has studies to show that it can extend your life and your health.  I will talk more about next week though!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year!

 

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