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Life’s Four Phases

Life's Phases

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” -Helen Keller

Life has four phases. From age 1 through 20, most people are discovering, observing, forming opinions, stumbling, falling and learning, and hopefully retaining. From age 21 to 45, people implement and live off and improve on experiences gotten during two decades plus and chart a known decidedly solid (or conversely shaky) path, as they build on those foundations for a better quality of life. From age 46 to 65, people live off plans set earlier, the golden years, reinforced, enjoyed, and are satisfied that their legacy will outlive them. From age 66 to 80, the golden years continue to be savored as family branches draw out far out.

After 80 especially, these are bonus years and serve as a period to look back and either appreciate, or regret one’s life. This period of reflection and the conclusions drawn therefrom can make a difference on how many bonus years we would or would not have. If we missed the first quarter, the likelihood of making up in the second quarter becomes slim or difficult; not impossible though, but onerous. If we got the first and second quarters right, then we might not retire into frustration, want, dependency, misery, or poverty. The first quarter determines how well the second quarter would turn out to be. It is very important for parents to ensure the first quarter is successful. It is largely parental responsibility. The first, and more importantly, second quarter are therefore very critical in determining the type of legacy we leave for our progeny and for posterity. Once anyone misses any quarter, playing catch up turns to become a near permanent pursuit, draining energy, time, resources, and rarely succeeding. We must guard against this trap, especially if our parents got the first quarter right for us. For societies wherein talent and hard work are not readily recognized and compensated adequately, these equations change dramatically.

The core message here is that most people do not plan to fail, but they just fail to plan. Within the society in which we live, with the ebb and flow of countless and sometimes conflicting forces, albeit having a relatively level playing field, good plans serve as road maps to goal attainment. Procrastinators and analysts often fall prey to the law of diminishing intent and diminishing returns as protracted analysis leads instead to prolonged paralysis and inertia. These pitfalls must be avoided. This state of being is exacerbated for those who are too steeped in uni-linear belief systems, dogmatic practices and closed mindedness, rendering them unwilling to embrace change and seize on new opportunities. This bubble mentality is one of the main causes of failure, or a less-than-satisfactory or successful life. Another term for it is comfort zone. Only brave hearts burst out of their comfort zone, seize opportunities, and act on them. This explains why only a small minority sits atop the pyramid of life with a comfortable lifestyle, while the increasingly larger majority have a life and remain at the crowded wider bottom, the uncomfortable zone, or as it is often misguidedly called, the comfort zone.

P.S. “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something else. It is about your outlook towards life. You can either regret or rejoice.” -Anonymous

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About the Author:

Joseph Fomunung is a seasoned entrepreneur and Senior Marketing Director with World Financial Group, Inc. He helps everyday families build a solid financial foundation by educating them on tried and true financial concepts (not taught in schools) that create wealth while protecting their income, effectively ending legacies of poverty, perpetual debt and financial struggle. He lives in Houston, TX with his wife, Theresia, and can be reached at sabumsr@yahoo.com.