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Life lessons from those who really live

by Les Atchley
| June 6, 2010 9:00 PM

I recently wrote a letter to my clients recommending a Bob Buford book titled Finishing Well: What People Who "Really Live" Do Differently. It's a fascinating collection of interviews with 60 very interesting people who give their words of advice on how to approach and succeed in the second half of life-or what the author calls "Life II". Here's some of what I learned from the people he interviewed:

Do What's Good for Humanity

Dallas Willard, PhD Philosophy - University of Southern California

Willard was asked what people in their forties and fifties should do now to address their worry about what life will be like when they reach their sixties, seventies, and eighties. "Very simple; my prescription is that you should devote the rest of your life to doing those things which you know to be good and profitable for humanity, and that means especially for the human beings who live around you. You should devote yourself to advancing their well-being."

Live for Your Passion

Jay Bennett, JD - General Counsel for non-profit and for-profit organizations

Bennett said he has committed his life to helping others and offers this for the readers, "My advice is to make sure you die in battle. The key is to live intentionally, with passion, for a cause that's worthy of your life. And then die bloody. I plan to go down swinging. I want to die in battle."

Begin Something New

Laura Nash, PhD, Classics and Business - Harvard University

Nash was asked if women look at the last half of life in the same way men do. She said, "I notice when I interview people that women tend to answer questions differently than men, partly because they've delayed, they've juggled, they've subordinated career to family and family to self in ways that don't fall into neat patterns." She went on to explain, "And then many women I know at my age right now are just beginning careers."

Be Cheerful

John Castle, Retired General Counsel and Executive Vice President - EDS

Castle noticed in retirement that lots of older folks weren't aging well. "They became increasingly critical, judgmental, and bitter - a better word might be cranky. All sorts of influences can move you in one direction or the other. But I want to see myself... upbeat, positive, thoughtful, and cheerful. And I plan to be more intentional about that."

I hope these words of wisdom from a few of the interviewees will help you see the second half of your life in a different light. And if you're younger, you might be interested to hear what folks much older than you have to say on reflecting on their lives. It may just change your life.

Joining Rotary International changed ours. As members since 1989, the Atchley Financial team is committed to the primary goal of this remarkable organization, which is to "help make the world a better place." And professionally, though we're completely focused and dedicated to building your wealth, it's with the hope that you will use that wealth wisely - and do everything in your power to go out and help make the world a better place.

The Author

Les Atchley is the founder of Atchley Financial Group, a national wealth management firm headquartered in Coeur d'Alene that specializes in retirement, investment, and estate planning. He and his team of specialists help clients make intelligent decisions with their wealth in order to realize their goals and achieve financial independence. You can contact him directly at 208-664-1900 or learn more about the firm by visiting their website at AtchleyFinancial.com.

Securities and advisory services offered through National Planning Corporation (NPC), Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Atchley Financial Group, Inc. and NPC are separate and unrelated companies.

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