Change is that double-edged sword that tees up both opportunities and threats. It’s the smart Retirepreneur who’s forward leaning, so they’re poised to seize best opportunities, while mitigating dangerous threats.
The change machine is an equal opportunity disruptor, impacting all generations. Still, it’s the Boomers who tend to have more change machine battle scars.
Consider this scenario: You work hard over a long span of time to achieve something meaningful, be it in your personal or your professional life. But as you toil away, the change machine is constantly churning out disruptors. Over time, these disruptors often shape new preferences. In turn, the fruits of your hard work over a sustained period of time sometimes yield outcomes less dazzling than what you anticipated.
The Psychology of Your Future Self
Dan Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard University, has delivered a host of successful TED talks, but his most recent one, The Psychology of Your Future Self, made me think hard about the experiences we design for our future.
Give it a watch (it’s six minutes) and I’ll meet you below with a few takeaways that resonated for me…
Gilbert’s comparisons of predicted change and reported change across the age continuum was fascinating. Keep in mind, the research spans ages 18 through 68. And yes, change slows down as we age, but not as much as you might think.
As longevity continues to advance, the post-age 60 life runway will grow, spanning three decades or more.
- As you cross the age 60 threshold, are you working a life plan that was designed by your past self? Is it still valid or is it time for a life plan reboot?
- Are you factoring in some wiggle room for future adjustments? Will this plan still be a fit for your 70s? For your 80s? For your 90s and beyond? As Gilbert points out repeatedly, the future we predict rarely aligns with the future we get.
The decisions we make now and over the next decade will be pivotal in determining our future choices. Will you be an opportunity seizer or will you be consumed with thwarting threats?
No doubt, both forces will be present in our lives. Still, at age 59, I’m choosing a path that tips in favor of opportunity. Alas, that path must also be nimble, because at age 69, my life lens will shift and new preferences will emerge.
I’ll leave you with one more thought from Gilbert to ponder:
“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been. The one constant in our life is change.”