Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Every once in a while I remind myself that I am retired. I know I’m older, I feel it in my back. Specifically, I am a boomer retiree. And oh my, we are in the news a lot.  One reason is in our numbers. [Source: Marc Freedman, A New Vision for Retirement: Productive and Meaningful, HBR Blog Network, February 25, 2013]

  • 10,000 boomers turning 60 each day
  • By 2015 we’ll have more Americans over 60 than under 15

While I do volunteer work in the community, two recent articles describe other ways in which boomers are viable and productive participants in our communities.

Anay Kamenentz in Boomers Take More Risks, Start More Business Than Twentysomethings: Study, (Fast Company, February 27, 2013) writes,

Two big studies of hundreds of successful companies found the average age of founders at the time they got going was from 39 to 41. A separate analysis of Kauffman Foundation data in 2009 found that the average age of entrepreneurs is actually rising, with the largest growth in the 55–64 age range–and the smallest growth among 20- to 34-year-olds.

Boomers are more risk tolerant and label themselves as entrepreneurial more than gen-Y-ers according to Kamenentz citing a national survey. Kamenentz provides several potential reasons, the final reason referring to Marc Freedman. Kamenentz writes.

Marc Freedman of Civic Ventures argues, people in the second half of life are more likely to be looking for a way to combine “passion, purpose, and a paycheck,” looking for work that marries their values and interests, and allows them to leave a legacy. That is, they may be taking more risks because they have less to lose in pursuit of work that feeds their souls.

This entrepreneurial spirit among boomers presents itself in other perspectives. In A New Vision for Retirement: Productive and Meaningful, (HBR Blog Network, February 25, 2013), Marc Freedman posits that the baby boomer generation

represents a human capital bonanza for the social impact sector and for the nation more broadly. It’s time to fulfill the true promise of longer lives — which is a better society.

Freedman cites research that indicates that

[S]ome 31 million people ages 44 to 70 want encore careers that allow them to continue earning a living and give them meaning that has an impact beyond themselves. They want to create a better world for future generations.

Freedman provides examples of boomer extensions of working lives.

  • “TFA [Teach for America] reports that there is a gradual but steady increase in post-midlife individuals entering the program — something that the organization hopes will expand as it attempts to attract a diverse corps of talented and committed people of all ages.”
  • Encore Fellowships programs at the California Health Care Foundation, Cisco, and Intel

Freedman also notes, “We’ll need new ways to help individuals finance the frequently costly transition to what’s next.” That’s a subject for another series of blog posts.



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Creativity Unabridged

Millau Bridge

Whether at your second stage of life, working, or at your third stage of life, retired, we want to live an inspired life. For me, that is a life inspired by creativity.

What is creativity?  It is “thinking outside the box.” When we say, “what a creative idea,” don’t we mean that it’s unexpected, it outside our set of expectations.

Creative expression can can be artistic thinking – visually, musically, theatrically. We also think of writers as creative people. Creativity can be expressed in other ventures as well — product design, architecture. And why not in mathematics, the sciences, and even in management.

For those who believe that they are not creative, whether professionally or personally, the challenge may be to give yourself permission to ask “what if” and to have thoughts outside the traditional structure of a given situation.

Kirstin Butler, in a posting on Brain Pickings, provides Five Manifestos for the Creative Life.

Some days everyone needs a little extra encouragement.  The words or lines or colors don’t want to come, or worse, we don’t even want to sit down to create.  That’s when we turn to these inspiring manifestos, any one of which is guaranteed to give our uncooperative creativity a sharp kick in the pants.

Butler’s list has:

1.  Frederick Terral’s Right Brain Terrain

You may not be a Picasso or Mozart but you don’t have to be. Just create to create. Create to remind yourself you’re still alive. Make stuff to inspire others to make something too. Create to learn a bit more about yourself.

2.  Bre Pettis’ The Cult of Done Manifesto

3.  Holstee manifesto

This is your life.  Do what you love, and do it often.  If you don’t like something, change it.

4.  Catharina Bruns’ Work is Not a Job

5.  Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work

The article itself is inspiring and a pleasure to read.  Going to the links in her post add much more to the experience.

May the muse be with you.

Some days everyone needs a little extra encouragement. The words or lines or colors don’t want to come, or worse, we don’t even want to sit down to create. That’s when we turn to these inspiring manifestos, any one of which is guaranteed to give our uncooperative creativity a sharp kick in the pants.

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Morning Musing on Quantum Politics

While we have been learning that we live in a quantum world, the political world is still attempting to live in Isaac Newton’s universe, where beliefs are two-dimensional.  You’re either with us or against us, you’re either a democrat or a republican, you believe in either Keynes or Hayek.  I don’t trust you because you’re a Muslim or I don’t trust you because you’re a born-again Christian.

However, if you look at the magnetic field created by the “polar opposites,” you don’t see the particles clinging to one pole or the other.  You see a beautiful spread of particles in waves.

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Myers-Briggs a la Muppet

The … Muppet Theory, a little-known, poorly understood philosophy … holds that every living human can be classified according to one simple metric: Every one of us is either a Chaos Muppet or an Order Muppet.

It’s simply the case that the key to a happy marriage, a well-functioning family, and a productive place of work lies in carefully calibrating the ratio of Chaos Muppets to Order Muppets within any closed system. That, and always letting the Chaos Muppets do the driving.

The Muppets have been a significant part of my life for ** decades, both at play and at work.  So an article on Muppets, philosophy, and management blends the best of subjects.

Scott Simon interviewed Dahlia Lithwick on NPR Weekend Edition Saturday, Explaining Muppet Theory:  Are You an Ernie or a Bert?.  Lithwick’s full article, Chaos Theory – A Unified Theory of Muppet Types, explaining Chaos and Order Muppets is on the Slate website.

It’s the Muppet version of the Myers-Briggs type indicator and much easier to apply.

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Do What You Love

If I wasn’t compelled to get up and exercise for physical health, I would probably spend all my time reading the Brain Pickings blog.  Here is one for reflecting on what you do, whether for pay or as a volunteer.  The thoughts are just as valuable for a retiree and for volunteer engagement coordinators at not-for-profits.

In How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love, Maria Popova begins with,

I myself am a firm believer in the power of curiosity and choice as the engine of fulfillment, but precisely how you arrive at your true calling is an intricate and highly individual dance of discovery. Still, there are certain factors — certain choices — that make it easier. Gathered here are insights from seven thinkers who have contemplated the art-science of making your life’s calling a living.


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