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Last Updated on December 14, 2020

Where Am I Going? How to Put Your Life in Context

Where Am I Going? How to Put Your Life in Context
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Are you wondering…

Where am I going? Where am I supposed to be going?

And to answer your questions, here’s what the great writer and thinker, Christopher Morley famously wrote:

There are three ingredients to the good life – learning, earning and yearning.

An average lifespan in the developed world is 70-something years – as indicated on the bar below:

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    Each of the phases of that life has different characteristics. The Learning phase typically stretches from the age of five into the early twenties and its over-riding characteristic is freedom.

      Your thinking is unfettered, you are chock-full of dreams and aspirations and (happily) someone else is footing the bills. It’s not a cliché to say that schooldays, for many of us, really were the happiest days of our lives.

      Contrast it with adult life – no one expects very much of you, and other than passing a few exams along the way and you can just swing along, having a great old time …

      The next phase is the Earning years; the period from leaving formal education (at 20-something) to retirement (at 50-something or 60-something). Welcome to the grown-up world, welcome to the tax net:

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        The overriding concern in this Earning phase is security (I spell that word as follows: $ecurity because, for many people, this phase tends to be all about generating sufficient income to pay the monthly bills.)

        Reality bites. This can require sublimating the dreams of youth as a life of routine takes over. Few in the Earning years question the choices they have made because, typically, this questioning process can be quite disconcerting – oddly, I find this is particularly true of people who are less than happy with their working lives.

        Routine generation of wealth becomes paramount and you get swept along with the current. This is fine if you made sound choices in your late teens and early twenties with regard to your career. But if you didn’t … for routine, read ‘RUT’.

          Which brings us to Morley’s Yearning phase – from ceasing your full-time occupation until … well, ceasing.

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            What is yearning? Unfortunately, yearning is not the same as simple hankering, wanting or desire. The dictionary definition of yearning is:

            “A feeling of intense longing for something lost, absent or unattainable.”

            A bit gloomy. So for many people, the Yearning years are about looking back over a life not quite fulfilled and saying ‘I wish, I wish. If only … if only …’

              With the wisdom of years comes regret for the road not taken, the too-conservative choices made.

              Studies conducted in the geriatric population and on terminally ill people consistently demonstrate that regrets in human beings arise as a result of decisions not taken. The wise old owls that I have talked to over the years all speak with one voice on this.

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              It is better to look back and think, ‘I wish I hadn’t …’ rather than wistfully saying, ‘I wish I had …’

              Think about where you are on the chart above…

              • How far along are you in the Earning years? Just starting out or 20 years in an 20 years to go?
              • How many job or career changes have you been through already? How many of those have been voluntary and how many involuntary?
              • If you retired (or stepped under a bus) tomorrow, how would you look back over your working life? With indifference? Regret? Pride? Delight? Anger?

              As you think about your career, your life, and your plans for the future, you are, at the very least, going to have to contemplate some uncomfortable choices about yourself, your personal style and your level of happiness.

              I make no apologies for this – that’s just life. But I contend that it is better to take the time and spend the effort now to improve the choices that you make for later, rather than to have those choices made for you at a time that may not suit you.

              Some people get these choices unerringly right and they do so early in their lives. Others come to a realization of the right path much later in life. Ray Kroc changed his whole approach to his McDonald’s business in his early 50s.[1] Colonel Sanders didn’t start his KFC franchising efforts until he was in his early 60s.[2] And the list can go on.

              It’s never too early and it’s never too late – but you have to think about it.

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              Need more help to get out of the rut? Take a look at these articles:

              Featured photo credit: Johannes Plenio via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Britannica: Ray Kroc
              [2] Biography: Colonel Sanders

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              Rowan Manahan

              Rowan is a professional trainer with over 20 years’ experience mentoring and consulting with executives at all levels.

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              Last Updated on July 21, 2021

              20 Invaluable Things Money Can’t Buy

              20 Invaluable Things Money Can’t Buy
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              George Lorimer contends,

              “It’s good to have money and all the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things money can’t buy.”

              In reality, everyone likes money. It has enough power to determine happy or sad moments for some people. This happens partially because money can trigger your emotions. However, there are many invaluable things money can’t buy.

              Money will allow you to experience the luxury of things like a Tesla, an estate, or first-class tickets to anywhere in the world. But, money cannot buy you everything. There are aspects of your life, yourself, relationships, and encounters that forever will be priceless.

              So, what are 20 invaluable things money can’t buy?

              1. Love

              You must have seen this one coming because of how much it is preached throughout life.

              Love is a genuine action with beautiful emotions that develops between people who know each other to an extent.

              People fall in “love” for different reasons. Love is unconditional and keeps people in connection with each other.

              Money may earn you attraction and attention, but love? Not at all.

              2. True Friends

              Everyone likes to have money because there’s almost no way to survive if we didn’t have a cent or two. And it’s only normal for people to associate themselves with people who are making efforts to make the money.

              But sometimes, people are only attracted to what you have and what you can give; not who you are.

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              It works just like love. When your money runs low, true friends should remain.

              3. Family

              We all know that family consists of a father, mother, and children, so let’s consider the individual elements.

              A father is only a father as a result of the relationship between him and his child. Can money buy a relationship?

              The same concept applies to the mother and child and if a relationship with a father cannot be bought, then neither can one with a mother nor child be bought.

              Even if it’s an extended family, you still have to have a relationship with someone who connects you to the other person. It’s not rocket science.

              4. Wisdom

              Someone defined wisdom as “the mother of knowledge,” and how does one acquire knowledge? He or she receives it from experience.

              So, if you cannot buy experience, then you cannot buy knowledge. And if you cannot buy both, then wisdom is definitely out of your league. You have to study, meet people and just experience life to earn it.

              5. Happiness

              In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt,

              “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”

                Mrs. Roosevelt even acknowledges things money can’t buy. She emphasizes that money can’t buy happiness.

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                Despite all the money a person may have in the bank, he or she still may not have the happiness that we all crave and deserve. Money cannot afford happiness.

                6. Health

                Money can help us afford the best health care services, but health itself? Not exactly.

                We’ve seen millionaires and billionaires lose their lives to a range of diseases that all their money put together could not cure.

                The Dalai Lama said,

                “What surprises me most is ‘man’ because he sacrifices his health to make money then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health.”

                  So, besides the fact that it doesn’t buy us health, sometimes the pursuit of it takes good health away from us.

                  7. Long life

                  During birthdays, we wish people a long, prosperous and healthy life. Money would be the best gift to send to loved ones to buy these things.

                  But since you can’t, you wish these individuals the best life has to offer. You may also give them fun and loving experiences without money.

                  8. Time

                  The universe has been impartial enough to give us all 24 hours to do whatever we want to. But nobody, with all his or her wealth, has been able to purchase an extra hour, not even a second.

                  9. Respect

                  They say it is reciprocal. In other words, you can only get respect when you give respect and the last time we checked, there was no money for respect.

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                  So if you can’t give something in any currency, then you can’t receive it in any currency either.

                  10. Character

                  Character is the sum of a person’s attitude. Attitude has to do with the way you behave and although money can influence a person’s character, it cannot buy a good one.

                  11. Confidence

                  Any “confidence” built on money really isn’t confidence. It’s a shade of pride and usually ends in sheer show-off. That, dear friend, is not confidence. Confidence is a quality you build with time.

                  12. Beauty

                  There are countless beauty products in the market and all of them cost money. These beauty products can only enhance beauty by covering up blemishes and some go as far as altering some features of the body.

                  But none has been able to change the natural beauty of anybody. If you consider surgery, then you are still altering the natural features, not changing it. You can’t buy good looks from your mother’s womb. It’s just not possible.

                  13. Sense of Humor

                  Some individuals are born with the gift to make others laugh. Most of the comedians around became wealthy as a result of their sense of humor.

                  The humor did not come after the money. Nobody became funny overnight because of a swell in their bank account.

                  14. Trust

                  Why do you trust people? Because they’ve proved themselves to be trustworthy by character. Their character earned them that trust.

                  15. Talent

                  Talent is a natural skill that has to be discovered and honed. Just like beauty and every other thing that comes naturally, talent cannot be purchased.

                  16. Purpose

                  People attend conferences and seminars to help them discover their purpose in life. These conferences may be free or paid but the money did not buy them the purpose.

                  They already had the purpose way before realizing that they needed to find it. Lots of poor people discovered their purpose and leveraged it to become rich. This goes on to illustrate that money can come as a result of finding purpose but it cannot get you the purpose.

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                  17. Satisfaction

                  If there’s one thing that money can never buy, it is satisfaction. Even if money finds a way to get any of the other items on this list, it can never afford satisfaction. Money increases our desire for more money. The more the money, the more the hunger.

                  18. Empathy

                  Never have we ever heard of a man who bought the ability to empathize and never would we ever because empathy is a feeling. Feelings cannot be bought.

                  19. Peace

                  Why do people employ sophisticated security systems? Because they want to have peace when they go to bed but even with all of that, peace has never been received in exchange for money. It comes as a result of a clear conscience and a good heart.

                  Ironically, money may bring enemies which would end up disrupting your peace.

                  20. A Good Name

                  A proverb says “a good name is better than silver.” This is like comparing two different things: a name and silver (which could be referred to as money).

                  What is a “name?” It is a form of identity and how is it received? Your way of life and character helps people to receive you.

                  Conclusion

                    Overall, these things are invaluable and confidently show that money can’t buy everything.

                    While this is the case, money is necessary, so don’t quit your job just because it can’t buy you happiness. And do spend your money and time wisely.

                    Also, go out of your way to make people happy. Their money can’t provide this needed emotion. Do not lose or mismanage your health trying to get money.

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                    Featured photo credit: Yingchou Han via unsplash.com

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