In this article I will explain “why” I believe that personal development is important for older people to understand right now; so this is the “why” that all the supposed guru’s tell us we must have if we are to succeed at anything. But lets first define it.
So what is Personal Development?
Well the general term personal development covers a multitude of activities a person can undertake in order to grow as a person. I thought this definition in Wikipedia was succinct and right to the point:
“Personal development includes activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitate employability, enhance quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations.”
This seems especially relevant for older people at this time, as we are living longer and healthier lives; and will need a real purpose in life if we are to not only survive, but to prosper and contribute the valuable experience we have accumulated and the wisdom that age has enabled us to develop.
Well, I have some very good news for you. We are living in the era of the “Longevity Revolution”. The increasing rate of development of new, potentially life – extending, treatments and medications already happening in biotechnology, nanotechnology and medical science is expected to significantly increase life-expectancy and health-expectancy in developed countries over the next 10 to 15 years.
So when that happens, the most significant change, assuming we retired at 60-65, is that we could have up to 30 to 35 years of potentially active and productive life ahead of us. Now that’s a long time, so what will you do with this third life stage?
In this article I will provide some guidance and suggestions – these are my “why” and I believe should also be equally important for anybody who is thinking about, planning, or actually already retired.
Its Important to have the right mindset
I want to remind you: It’s never too late to learn a new skill and make a fresh start. It has been proven in research studies that older people learn just as well as, if not better than younger people. Older people tend to maintain focus better than the younger generation who suffer from information overload, with their iPhones, androids and social media addictions, and their depth of experience and knowledge means they will generally be more persistent and patient when learning new things.
I believe we all need to embrace a new meaning to the outdated definition of retirement. The right mindset for retirement is no longer the end of our useful lives, it is a new beginning.
What will you do with your third life phase?
Whatever you decide to do, the great news is that in this new era “Retiring” is not the end, it’s actually a new beginning, and what you make of that new beginning is completely – 100% in your hands. I think that exciting, don’t you?
As you now have a real prospect of living a longer and healthier life, the first question that comes to mind is – will your savings be enough? That’s an important consideration of course, but I believe the overriding issue for men is that we need a real sense of purpose to maintain our passion for life, our sense of identity and meaning. So working, in some form, is a way we can maintain our sense of purpose and our passion for life, as well as keeping additional income flowing in.
Isn’t this a fantastic opportunity for you to do something completely different? Maybe something you have always been interested in, but have, to some extent, neglected in your busy working life. For example if , like me, you were in accounting and finance, you might decide to go back to college and retrain for something in the health and well being field; a totally different field in which you could make a real difference in the lives of other people. Personally, I think that would be a great way to redefine and maintain your purpose in life, to get great satisfaction and personal fulfillment and to help other people; to contribute to the ongoing development and future of mankind.
Whatever you decide to do, you will undoubtedly need to learn new skills. So personal growth and self development will almost certainly become an important consideration for you. More and more people over 60 are going back to college to learn completely new skills, to update their own existing skills or to learn additional skills that they may need for the new direction they want to take; or just something they are interested in and want to learn more about.
Maybe you have particular skills, knowledge, talents and experience which would enable you to work for yourself? This will probably also require you to learn new skills, not only about the niche you choose, but also the skills required to run a business of your own.
Choosing your new direction and learning new skills
The third stage of your life, is uncharted territory. What we know for certain is that our ‘retirement years’ will look very different from those our parents and grandparents experienced.
In planning your own third life phase, I suggest you consider 3 things:
- Your savings and pension – will they be sufficient?
2. Potential sources of ongoing income, and
3. How, when it comes to earning additional income and leading a life with purpose, the internet has changed everything.
The good news is that the internet revolution means we now have many more options available to choose from. The internet has increased our potential market size exponentially; it has given us the means to communicate and do business directly with the 34% of the world’s 7 million people that use the internet.
I have written a more extensive post which will give you a framework within which to do your own planning. Before you make a final choice about the niche you want to focus on and the specific type of training and personal development you want to undertake, I recommend you read my post. You will find it here: Retirement Savings, Ongoing Income and How the Internet Has Changed Everything In this post you will also find links to more detailed information about the most popular Internet Opportunities
Guidelines to skills and personal development courses
I hope all of the above will help you to move forward on your personal journey. It was necessary to cover all of these critical elements which will be important for you to define exactly what it is that you want to do with your third life phase, and what training or further education you might require to be able to do so.
There is a vast range of options for further education to choose from online. These vary from country to country, and State to State; and obviously, exactly what you decide to study, for how long, and your financial budget are other key factors you will need to take into account.
Please be thorough in your research; decide exactly what it is you want to learn, and whether the courses and institutions you shortlist will meet those requirements.
Make sure you really understand exactly what education these courses offer, the form of training they offer (i.e. lectures you have to physically attend, live lectures online, or self-paced learning online), exactly what costs you will incur, and if the course is long (i.e. more than one year), what financial penalty you will incur if you decide to quit part-way through.
Once you have your shortlist, ask friends and family for any information they might be aware of, ask your contacts on social media what they know, and search on Google for any adverse feedback from past students (n.b. you do need to be careful not to jump to conclusions too quickly if you find adverse feedback, because unfortunately, in many instances this might have been posted indirectly, by their competitors, or by past students who are unjustifiably disgruntled and are seeking revenge (one of the new weapons that social media has created).
Then finally ask for testimonials and, if the course involves live lectures, for the opportunity to visit their facilities and to attend a lecture; this is a reasonable request.
All of this may sound onerous, but if you want to avoid wasting time and money, it is advisable to go through the process.
In the “Doing your research” section below I have provided some ideas on how to search Google to find your information on your “niche” and training on “how to run your own business”
I hope you enjoyed this article and that it will inspire you to take action to transform the rest of your life. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions by posting a comment below in this or any other article in the “Have Your Say” Box below.
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Doing your own research – These are just some guidelines to start your research, that I used and got good results from.
Niche research examples: Here are 3 examples I searched – initially for a large and very popular niche, and then I narrowed it to a more specific niche where the competition could be less intense. These are known in Internet Marketing as “long tail keywords”
Just use your local Google URL and substitute your own niche
Search – Term: “Training to run my own business” As the training options will vary from country to country, I looked for major sites in Australia, the UK and US – mostly government owned, and where you might be able to get some financial assistance to start your new business. I am sure that there would be similar sites in most developed countries:
The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) is a self-employment program funded by the Department of Employment. All of the training you receive is free, and you’ll even receive 39 weeks’ worth of NEIS payments to help get your business up and running. 2 alternative links.
Other Australian sites:
http://cce.sydney.edu.au/course/SMYB – Sydney University
A helpful Article: The Guardian U.K. – Small business tips: quit the day job and become an entrepreneur: http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/mar/21/starting-a-new-business
http://www.myownbusiness.org/about.html Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University.
Good luck with your own research.