When someone shares with you that you have an incurable disease, is it one of the first things you want to know how your life is going to change?
Educator Bruce Kramer, in a memoir he wrote with journalist Cathy Wurzer after receiving a diagnosis in 2010 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, observed: “I know that I am dying. But this is not new knowledge, and it is not ALS. It has always been like this. The disease only changes the circumstances and the speed. "
In other words, we all face a death sentence, but we don't know when it will take effect. This is the reality. But often a specific diagnosis is needed to change our behavior. What happens if we think about this differently?
Get rid of the wishlist. The wish list generally represents the things we want to do one day, and when each activity or experience is done, we mark it. There seems to be little distinction between a wish list and that weekend task list. Those lists should really be made, whether we want to make them or not.
Let's not turn our desires into tasks. Instead, you can create a list of experiences. What are the traits or behaviors that you want more or less? Do you want to explore more, interact more, work more? Do you want to reduce screen time, be less nervous about politics? Once you know the things you want to add and which to eliminate, you can decide what to do to incorporate them, based on your resources. The beauty of this approach is that you should never be disappointed. You recalibrate the list as you learn more about yourself, so everything is an experiment.
One of our clients was afraid of money, so they never allowed themselves to use it. They were anxious savers who regularly looked at their investments and wondered if they would have enough. The challenge for them was to save them less. While we were working with the words they would use to describe themselves, one of them said "adventurous." Well, to be adventurous, you may have to create some adventures. They began to test experiences in small ways, and over the years that have matured in their description. Is there a misalignment between who you are or want to be and how you act? Reflecting on this can lead to a significant change.
This reflection is difficult due to illness with our lives. Disease is something we cannot control, so it is a great obstacle to "alleviate" the discomfort we feel about our lives despite our influence on them. As Kramer says in "We know how this ends: Living while dying", we believe that "the disease is easily managed by the right life, the right belief, the right partners, the right jobs, the right nationality, the right possessions, dreams correct. " But things go against our desires all the time in our "right" lives. The way we handle these setbacks ultimately determines the quality of our lives.
Here is a predictable future setback. If you have done everything you thought you should do saving money for your retirement, saving a little of your income every month and investing wisely, you may feel a great betrayal in the next correction of the stock market. It's not fair: you followed the rules and suddenly you have less money than you had. Your reaction is probably a reflection of your illness. There is nothing wrong with being disappointed with your investments, but if you have several years to withdraw and save money, you should celebrate market corrections instead of dying for them. In a perfect world, markets remain cheap every year you are saving and grow dramatically within a few years of having to spend the money. The disease comes in because your monetary insecurity emerges and you become anxious about your future.
If you have risked your retirement by investing inappropriately so that a recession affects you dramatically, then you had a different type of illness. Greed may be a word too strong, but it may have had at least part of your illness. Now is the time to blame. You say you didn't realize the risk you were taking. Most likely, this was not the problem. The disease may actually have come from feeling that things were too good to be true but not wanting to interrupt them. If you have less money, you may need to adjust your plans. These adjustments are more difficult when too much life was suspended to prepare for uncertain futures. Achieving the right balance between today and tomorrow can help the disease.
Kramer and Wurzer quote the poet Rainer Maria Rilke: “Now do not look for the answers, which cannot be given to you because you could not live them. And the point is, live everything. Live the questions now. Maybe then, gradually, without realizing it, I will live the answer for a distant day.
Don't wait to find out when it's time to make the changes you can make long before you have all the answers.
Ross Levin is the executive director and founder of Accredited Investors Wealth Management in Edina.