My most unfavourite word: Retirement.

My most unfavourite word:  Retirement.

It’s not so much the definition of the word (Wikipedia tells us “Retirement is the point where a person stops employment completely”) but the connotation that the retiree stops.

Without a plan for doing after retirement, there is a real danger (and plenty of evidence) that the retiree quickly lapses into a phase of their life that is non-productive, aging and generally, negative. On the other hand, people with a plan to do after retirement, enters a phase of renewal and excitement and takes up new challenges.

There are countless example where people who have been totally consumed by their business or their career, find there is a yawning chasm of nothingness in their retirement; people who have been great contributors and innovators, suddenly feel that they are of limited use.

This is incredibly sad, because they have so much to offer. Indeed, everyone has much to offer – it’s just a matter of channelling energies in a new direction.

Throughout life, nothing meaningful happens inside the zone of comfort. Anytime we have learned something new, either in business, career or in outside activities, we first have had to accept the challenge of learning – which usually carries with it, an element of discomfort.

The idea of discomfort is sometimes difficult for those who have reached a stage in their lives where “comfort” is a right – and the right thing to be feeling comfortable. It is often used as a phrase for those who, while not being wealthy, do not have to worry about their financial well-being; they are seen as being “comfortable”.

Those who do not fall into this trap have formed a habit throughout their lives of seeking out new interests and challenging themselves on a regular basis. Those people see the phase of “retirement” not as one in which they will lay back and vegetate, but one which will provide extra time to be used to take on new and exciting challenges.

Hinduism proposes that this fourth phase is one of solitude and devotion, but the majority of us in the western world do not practise Hinduism and, as much as Sannyasa may have great meaning and positive attributes for Hindus, we could perhaps seek another fourth phase; one more pertinent to our way of living. This could be the phase of “giving back”; wherein we show our appreciation for having reached a stage where we can use life experiences for the benefit of younger generations.

Many westerners actually practise this, however it would be a great thing for this to be more widely accepted as a cultural practise, so that “retirement” as we know it, was phased out and replaced by “giving back”.

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What John Matthew believes about small business

That the owner has risked many things that others take for granted;

That there is no guaranteed income or reward for the considerable effort that is required;

That often, the family home is on the line to support the business and its constituents;

That there is a dignity and self-respect that is earned;

That entire communities would be better places if there was an increased appreciation and respect for small business.

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