I speak to a number of people who desire that magic bullet, the quick win, the Lotto win or the “I just want to marry a rich partner and all my problems will be gone” rhetoric. I’m sure most of it is tongue-in-cheek, but I’ll bet my house and the one next door that there is some small part of them that wishes it came true.
I recall a chat with a former colleague once, where I was referring to someone in my friendship circle who had won the lottery but actually had no need for it as he’d responsibly planned and prepared himself for retirement anyway. The win just expedited what he had always wanted to do, which was property development, and, more importantly, to spend the time with his grandchildren.
My colleague responded by saying that, faced with the same circumstances of an epic lottery win, he wouldn’t do anything apart from sitting on a beach drinking cocktails for the rest of his days. I challenged his thinking, saying that he would soon be bored, even after a year. Surely there was something they would rather be doing? I mean, anything! Again, people say this tongue-in-cheek, and they would soon find something of interest to do, as long as it didn’t involve going to work for anyone.
So are cocktails on a beach bad for you?
No! The points I’m trying to make are that a) instant gratification is killing our desire to evolve as individuals, b) there is a notion amongst people that one massively lucky – yet highly unlikely – event will transform our circumstances, c) as we go through life, we think less and less about what we’d really want out of life and what we’d really want to do if we didn’t have to work, because we accept things the way they are, and d) very few people have a plan for their lives.
P.S. I know I didn’t have a plan until about 2 years ago as I was drifting along, so if you’re reading this thinking I’m being a smart arse, think again. Remember, this blog is about my journey and the changes I’ve made to live a more empowered life.
There are also countless stories of lottery winners going broke, or being stingy. The reason is simple; money merely amplifies who you are as a person. That’s why there are beggars who give more of what they own than some wealthy people!
Nothing happens if nothing happens
An expert in the field of human longevity – Dr George E. Burch of the Tulane School of Medicine – says that there are many determinants of longevity, such as health, heredity and stress. But – and this is the scariest statement I’ve read in a while – “the quickest way to the end is to retire and do nothing. Every human being must keep an interest in life just to keep living.”
Whoa. It certainly aligns with some research that I read about the living drop-off rate (aka death!) being absurdly skewed towards people passing away within the first couple of years after retiring. It essentially suggests that having a plan for retirement is just as important as having a plan (or plans) for your working life. And when I say “plan” I don’t just refer to a financial one.
So what sort of plan do you mean?
It seems that drinking cocktails on a beach and surfing and living the life of Riley is fine, but while that certainly involves some form of activity, the brain requires a fair bit more stimulation.
When I read The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, the final chapter contains the steps for a life plan. I really encourage you to read the book, so I won’t go into too much detail here, but there are 7 areas of your life that you can look at that will tease out a plan:
- Relationships (partner and/or family and friends)
- Personal Development
- Impact on the world/spiritual
All of the above should move you closer to working out what sort of legacy that you will leave and the person you want to become. Remember, boredom can kill.