That’s a tough place – especially for the many individuals who don’t like doing nothing and aren’t good at it! Q4 is a destination for misery and ultimate death.
The challenge, of course, is to get out of Q4 and back into Q1/Q2.
That challenge is becoming serious for those who are approaching their retirement years. Every day, over 10,000 people in the United States reach the age of 65. While that used to be a mandatory retirement age – and still is in some organizations – in reality, with the advances in medicine and technology, 65 is now the old 45. Those who turn sixty five will most likely have another 25 to 30 years of life which (hopefully) is happy and satisfying.
The origin of the word “retirement” comes from the French – meaning “withdrawing to a place of safety or seclusion.”
We view retirement as something quite the opposite: It’s the dawn of a new chapter in life – an opportunity for renaissance and transformation!
Retirement planning isn’t only financial in nature – although financial planning is becoming ever more serious these days with increased longevity. However important, we’ll leave the financial planning aspects to someone else.
It has been said that on one grows old by living.
We believe in the contrary – people grow old by losing interest in living.
Or, in Doom Loop terms, they can’t tolerate being in Q4.
American businessman, poet, humanitarian and religious leader (and favorite of General Douglas MacArthur) said, “Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”
We endorse that philosophy! Retirement planning should focus intensely on preparation for the future – the future and exciting new chapter one’s life. Unlike when we graduated from school and faced the future, however, this time we should be loaded with wisdom.
We believe in the writings of the late Stephen Covey and in educator Manfred Kets de Vires (Insead) who wrote an excellent article called, “The Retirement Syndrome: The Psychology of Letting Go.”
Retirement planning must be based on aligning a person’s values – the things that govern behavior – with universal and timeless principles that ultimately determine the consequences. Accordingly, the habits of individuals who have successfully achieved a productive retirement must be understood – and possibly applied, practiced and mastered in the years before the retirement date. (Covey)
De Vires writes, “Retirement and old age may seem a long way off to many, but on the day they arrive, it will be too late for many to do anything about them. If we sow little but weeds at the height of our career, we cannot expect to harvest a valuable crop later. We need to own our own lives now and at every stage we enter; and that kind of ownership requires that we diversify our interests and keep on learning. As Aristotle once said, Education is the best provision for old age.”
“In addition to investing in new interests, we need to invest in meaningful relationships. In fact, that is the best investment we can make. If we want to create a pleasant ending to our life, we must make and cherish happy moments during earlier years. Possessing good memories gives us a sense of aliveness at any time, and memories offer a fine cushion in old age.”
“If we plan ahead, value our relationships above all else, keep learning, and allow ourselves to let go, we will not follow the paths of those unfortunate souls who are lost in an unpleasant ending of their lives. Knowing how to grow old in a dignified way is what wisdom is all about, and wisdom – rather than regret – can be our destination.”
“When we accept that life is full of tension; when we are no longer tormented by childhood guilt; when we are able to pass up short-term pleasures for long-term values; when we are able to use judgement astutely and compassionately – then we will be on the road to wisdom. Attaining wisdom is one of the most difficult chapters in the book of life – but also one of the most rewarding.”
Embarking on the adventure of what once was called “retirement” can be one of the most challenging and rewarding times of our lives.
The trick is to plan ahead – make sure you find things to do that you “like” – and do them even though you might not be “good at” them.
Just avoid Q4!