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In case you've already passed a certain age and are thinking, "I have this big dream, but I'm too old," take heart.
Even if you're in your thirties, forties, or fifties, mile-high goals may still be in store for you – even if you're past 60, 70, or 80! Chances are good that you're going to live longer than you think you will.
There's no telling what you're capable of two, three, or four decades hence. The legendary Grandma Moses became famous as a painter in her seventies and eighties and still was creating notable works of art past age one hundred.
When Ronald Reagan was re-elected as US President in 1984 he was already 73-years-old, and he left office when he was 77. Now, of course, 73 is not even "old." In Reagan's career, he spent twenty-five years in the motion picture and entertainment business before entering politics.
Challengers frequently belabored his show biz background, yet because of his longevity, his political career was often longer and more distinguished that that of his challengers. He had simply lived more years, and hence, had done more things.
In The Age Wave, Dr.Ken Dychtwald explains how it's likely that you'll have several careers within a lifetime, some totally unrelated to each other. After all, if you get out of college at age 22, you can work for 15 or 18 years in one industry, not even hit your forties, work 25 years in another industry, and even get your pension, and still work another 12 to 15 in another profession and only be in your 70's!
As average life spans extend beyond eighty and ninety, and the health and well-being of the typical professional continues on at an advanced age, it's not unrealistic to assume that you might achieve some spectacular goal in some arena of your life that is not even in consciousness for you at this moment.
Many people believe that the seeds of what you might be doing twenty, thirty, and forty years from now are already in formation, if only at the cellular level! When I took the course Technologies for Creating, designed by Robert Fritz, author of The Path of Least Resistance, I encountered one of the most powerful affirmations of my life to this point. Imagine, Fritz encourages, that everything that you've ever done is preparation for what's coming next...
All the successes, all the failures, all the things that went well, all the things that went up in flames, and all of your experiences and learning to be applied for the highest good for what is coming in your life.
With that perspective, you've incurred no down time. There have been no wasted jobs, wasted years, or wasted efforts. Your life has been a laboratory of sorts, helping you to prepare for some grand good the likes of which might still not be clear to you.
As the philosophers say, the pattern of the universe (or, more specifically for your purposes, the pattern of your life) is right there, visible in everything you do. You have only to recognize how to work with your strengths and limitations, aptitudes and blind spots so as to transcend yourself.
Rather than living life as if looking through a rear view mirror, you boldly go where you've never gone before and eventually set and reach goals that in an earlier time might have seemed beyond your essence, yet on some level, perhaps were within you all along.
The two behaviors most likely to inhibit your ability to take bold, decisive moves are fear and anxiety. In her essay, Fear and Anxiety, Dr. Karen Horney offered a simple distinction between fear and anxiety. If a mother comes into her child's room, for example, and it appears that the child has stopped breathing, one could readily observe that a fearful response is warranted. Alternatively, if the mother were to break into a panic because the child has a small rash, the mother's response could be said to be an anxious reaction.
Dr. Horney explained that fear is an appropriate response when there is a visible, tangible signal or other significant cause for alarm. In viewing a situation, if others can understand why one might be fearful, they are more inclined to say that the fear is justified.
Anxiety, observed Dr. Horney, is based on more subjective, personal criteria. An anxious response to stimuli might be the result of unconscious association with past events. Independent observers would likely have difficulty in understanding why a mother might respond with panic to her child's rash.
Dr. Horney explained that to a person experiencing anxiety, the associated feeling of fear is just as real and present as to someone who, objectively, is confronted by a fearful situation. Thus, it is futile to attempt to "talk" someone out of a strong anxiety. Reasoning means little. The anxious person might well realize that his/her anxious response is an overreaction.
When contemplating your potential for great achievement, it's sobering to realize overreactions – anxieties – are more likely to hold you back, than tangible concerns – fears. This is so, because chances are you might not even be able to acknowledge that which you won't attempt when anxiety is associated with an event.
Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com
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