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Does Life Truly Begin at 40? 6 Things I Realized at Age 39

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Does life begin at 40

They say life begins at forty, the age we aspire to start living the good life.  I am sure many people create bucket lists of things to accomplish before 40 – the milestone age.  Before my fortieth birthday I researched the recommended things I should do before I turn forty and here are some of the things I discovered on the list:

  • Swim with sharks
  • Get married
  • Dance naked in the rain
  • Learn to drive
  • Read the whole bible
  • Chat up a stranger in a bar
  • See your favorite band live
  • Put the bin out in one’s undies
  • Travel around the world

There are a few things on the ‘before you turn 40’ bucket list you probably have done, which became some of your best life experiences.

Bucket lists are well and good, and I love the fun ones the most. But what happens if life does not begin at forty?  When plans fall apart and you are left in limbo trying to restart your life again, what do you do?  Well, you create a new story.

When redundancy struck at 39, here are some of the life lessons I learnt when I emerged from my pity party:

1. Life Is Happening Now

One of the greatest lessons I learnt during that time of reflection was this famous quote credited to Allen Saunders “life happens when you are busy making other plans.”  I learnt the hard way that you cannot wait for your life to be perfect before you start living your dreams.  Life is happening now, and you should embrace all that life has to offer you in the present – not wait for the future before you start to ‘live’.  

2. Explore Your Talent

Whether you are 20, 30 or 55, life is happening right now, so putting off what you can with your talent until you reach your milestone age may not serve you well. I learnt many lessons during that time of unemployment and the greatest one was to never limit my talent to a job description or what people say you can or can’t do. There are limitless opportunities waiting for you and your talent, if you can take the bold step to venture out of your comfort zone.

“Don’t put your life on hold so that you can dwell on the unfairness of past hurts.” – Nick Vujicic

3. You Have A Choice

One of the most common excuses we hear when people fall into trouble is “I did not have a choice.”  There is always a choice, and there is always another way. The question is not whether we have a choice but if we are willing to explore the options presented to us at the time.  If we have not trained our minds to distinguish between positive and negative information, most likely the wrong choice will be embraced as emotions get the better of us.  

There are so many factors that contribute to the choices we make, finances being one of the key contributors. When I decided that money was a tool and not my end goal, my eyes were opened to many more opportunities in life.

4. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

It is so easy to confine our abilities to our comfort zone especially if we have been in the same employment or business for many years.  I understand that starting a business may not be for everyone, but packaging the components of our passion is the prerequisite for living a fulfilled life. How would you feel if you were able to merge what you love with your work and make it your lifestyle? Just think of how great and fulfilling that would be. When you decide to explore that talent within you, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish with what you have.

5. Do What You Are Passionate About

This is a quote I created for myself, “your genius zone is the place of your passion, purpose and profit.” Are you doing what you are passionate about or have you resigned yourself to a regular way of life?  After my epiphany at 39, I realised that if I wanted to live a fulfilled life I have to package my passion and find the best way to get paid for it. This thought could make the difference in your life to save you from a life of drudgery and give birth to the solutions that the world needs.    

6. Opportunities Are Waiting

Stephen C Hogan advised “most people miss great opportunities because of the misperception of time. Don’t wait! The time will never be just right.”  We think we have all the time in the world to do the things we would love to do, so we put them off until the perfect time.  Opportunities are waiting right now, and if you package your passion, you will be able to embrace them sooner rather than later.

You may think you do not have the time or resources to embrace these new opportunities – not true.  The problem is a lack of priorities – not focusing on the things we want the most in life and making them part of our daily goals and tasks.

“Decide what you want, and then act as if it were impossible to fail.” – Brian Tracy

Now that I have crossed the great threshold of forty, my perception on life begins at forty has changed.  I realize there is no perfect age to accomplish any goal. If I had the chance to advise my younger self, I would tell her to discover and explore the potency of her passion on a daily basis.

I will encourage her to maximise every opportunity that comes her way.  I will also teach her how to be aware of the dominant components of her passion, so she matches them to the right opportunities when they appear. Life is right now, right here – make the most of it.  

What are you doing to live a more fulfilled life? Leave your thoughts below!

Temi Koleowo is passionate about helping individuals, and businesses alike discover their superpowers (aka their inner strengths and uniqueness) and turn them into viable products and services. She is the author of the book many are raving about ‘Package Your Passion’ – which helps people turn their limitless potential into amazing opportunities. Temi maximizes her strengths by helping people discover, develop and deploy their passion and talent to live their best lives everyday by doing what they love.  You can find out more about her and the program at www.packagemypassion.co.uk.

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The 3 Types of Confidence You Need to Know and Understand

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the different types of confidence
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We’ve all heard it before, confidence is everything. Those that seem to have it, have it all. They, themselves, are not necessarily perfect human beings, but they seemingly have the charisma to attract whatever they want in life. (more…)

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3 Simple Tips to Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence for Better Relationships

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how to build better relationships
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Relationships are challenging. They make you examine yourself from all angles, and that can be triggering. For example, have you ever had a friend or significant other say something that sparked an argument instantly—only to find out you misheard what they said in the first place? (more…)

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If You Want to Avoid Failure Once and for All, Ask Yourself These 4 Questions

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how to avoid failure
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You just invested in yourself and in your business. You are taking massive action but the results are just not clicking yet. While everyone is making 10X, 20X, and even 100X ROI on their initial investment, you have made $0 return. Failure is starting to overcast your bright shining positive attitude and you are feeling the pain and shame of it. (more…)

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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work

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willpower
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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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