The Speaker Said…
A few years ago I was in a motivational conference and the speaker kept repeating the phrase “If it’s going to be – it’s up to me”. I puzzled over that for a few days wondering if it was true. He seemed convinced that it was and said so forcefully and often. However, I concluded back there that many things in life, are not up to me and it didn’t really matter if I thought it was up to me or not. So, for example, if you purchase a Powerball ticket and believe you will win whatever the prize jackpot is this week, good luck because that’s exactly what you need. There is nothing you can do to increase your chances of winning given that it covered by the laws of statistics – except of course by buying more tickets but even that’s unlikely to help very much. As someone said on radio, because the odds of winning are so small, buying a ticket means you only very slightly increase your chances of winning. By the way a Jackpot means all of the millions of people who bought tickets last week lost. The reasons you lose are pretty obvious – you have one chance in 140 million or so of winning. I once contemplated buying a ticket and then discovered to play I had to choose 7 numbers. It seems obvious I could simply choose numbers 1 to 7 but that looked ridiculous. Yet, those numbers have an equal change as any other combination of numbers have of winning and 139,999,999 chances of losing.
It’s not just him.
This idea of you being able to make a difference in things is often championed by Superannuation firms as they try to get you to change to their scheme. They say “we will help you find the right number for your retirement” or any number of other phrases that suggest there is a right way to retire rich and only they have the secret. But the truth is, they don’t have any better idea of what the future holds than you do, and for many people the only way they can improve their financial situation in the future is to spend less money now. That task to most people, seems like an impossible ask. So even if it is up to you – the task is just too onerous.
Is it true?
Now I don’t remember who the speaker from the past was, but I do remember his phrase – “If it’s going to be – it’s up to me” to this day. And I think I have just proven to you that it’s not always correct. But are there times when it is correct for retired blokes and what are they?
Sometimes it is.
Well, if you are going to have improved relationships in retirement with your spouse or your kids or your neighbours or basically anybody, then that phrase has some truth in it. You have to begin a path to better communication and find a way to forgive or at least say sorry. If you don’t choose to go down that path then it’s most unlikely that things will get better. Sure there is some chance that the other person may find the courage to make things better, but the odds are probably somewhere near the odds of winning Powerball. Of course, if you do choose that path, then there is a chance things will get better – it may not be a big chance but there is still an opportunity and you will know you have done what you can. So there are times when if it is to be then it is up to me. In fact, I think in most cases, there are ways you can improve things in your relationship. You can find some suggestions here or here.
For most men coming face to face with the retirement black hole, the statement is almost always correct not only for relationships but I think for health and purpose in life. There are things you can do and if you do them then things can get a whole lot better. But, you need to take responsibility for your retirement. You need to find ways of making things better for your relationships and your health. You need to find constructive ways of using your precious time. You need to find out for sure what your life is all about before too much more time slips away.
Just Do IT and See.
So for retired blokes, or about to be retired blokes, the truth is “if it is to be, its up to me”. Therefore before you fall into the Hoel of “its too hard” do as much research as you can and find stuff not just to fill in your time but to add value to the world around you. Find things that make others happy and give the precious gift of your time and attention to others in your life or those less fortunate. You never know, you may just bring light into someone else darkness and in the process discover some for yourself.