What does age have to do with it?

Business Leader Post, June 18, 2014

Thomas D. Davidow, Ed.D.

A friend of mine told me recently about a man who made millions of dollars every year and knew that that it was unlikely that he could ever spend it all during his lifetime. Yet he was constantly in fear of losing it all and could never enjoy or be happy with what he had. He even understood that his fear of being poor was not based in reality, but in having grown up in a very depressed household. 

The take away from this man's story is that we all struggle with the uncertainties of life.  None of us know what is around the corner.  Consequently, our uncertainties trigger the "boogey men" in our lives.

We all have life goals and struggle mightily with achieving them. Some of those goals are quantifiable, such as monetary success, and some are qualitative, such as the internal satisfaction of a job well done.  Some quantifiable goals, once achieved, might also satisfy the qualitative goals. But most qualitative goals are so subjective that achieving or completing them can be illusory, especially since most of us are hard on ourselves.  

Like the wealthy man who will never stop worrying about money, we all reach a stage of life where we begin to understand that we have gone as far as we can in adjusting to our histories and to the issues that plague us.  That wealthy man can't change his story.  Neither can most of us. What we can do, however, is look back at how we have handled all the previous uncertainties and adversities in our lives and realize that we have survived.

The trick is to trust yourself and to take the risk of giving yourself the confidence to believe that if you have managed adversity time and again, then you will handle it again tomorrow. Another way of saying it is that if you believe that everything always works out for the best, and if things are still bleak, that's because it's not yet over.