I get to talk to a lot of people that are approaching retirement age, but feel they must delay “making the jump” because they are trapped by their habits of consumption. I can’t tell you how many have told me the equivalent of, “As soon as we downsize the house, pay off the credit cards and get the cars and boat paid for, we are going to retire and enjoy life.” These people are usually sincere in their wishes, but they aren’t willing to change their habits and years later are still mumbling and walking the same unhappy treadmill. Even though they know, and the science says agrees that trying to purchase happiness through acquiring more possessions is a fools errand, they can’t shake their years of conditioning.
I was recently finished the book, “The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance”, by Steven Koter (interesting and kind of mind-blowing read) and this paragraph caught my eye:
“Scientists who study human motivation have lately learned that after basic survival needs have been met, the combination of autonomy (the desire to direct your own life), mastery (the desire to learn, explore, and be creative), and purpose (the desire to matter, to contribute to the world) are our most powerful intrinsic drivers—the three things that motivate us most.”
While, if you are a troubled person, retirement won’t solve all of your problems, it certainly gives you more freedom, more options and the time to devote to making a contribution. Why does our conditioning, and maybe fear of change and the unknown, keep many people sabotaging their future and their happiness?
As one of the masters, Lucius Annaeus Seneca said from 2,000 years ago, “It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.”