I was given a book by Peter Carvell called Silver Wolf. It is a ‘Guide to The Third Act of your Life.
I am not sure that I had come to mind as the best recipient of this book because I have silver hair or because I need to do something about my life or if I am seen as someone already following Peter’s call for action.
It connects interestingly with the latest unemployment figures which suggest that somehow young people, women and the elderly are all suffering more and more from the job losses, i.e. only middle aged (which nowadays seems to mean 35 to 45) males have jobs.
Peter Carvell presents some pretty sensible challenges to the over 50’s: keep fit, do something useful, manage your money and plan a way to enjoy life. It is clearly directed at men but he is getting lots of women answering the call too, and, well, is anything he says not also appropriate to young people and the middle aged, in fact everyone? And hello government, you don’t solve a deep progressive problem simply by cutting it up into bits and trying to manage all the little pieces.
The only solution is to think differently, and Peter Carvell is proposing a different way of thinking. I want to rephrase his 3 core questions to see how much they apply to everyone, and maybe you start age 6 years old?
1. What is important in your life?
2. What great things have you done?
3. What great things can you do next?
That’s the whole brain review, don’t get too rational over it, it can’t be reduced to itemised, neutrino sized responses.
Now we have the game plan, the core values, here are the technical questions:
1. What do you want for yourself?
2. How’s things with family and friends?
3. Where do you want to live?
4. How much work do you want to do?
5. What do you want to learn?
6. What pleasures do you want to enjoy?
7. Do you have enough money?
8. What values do you hold dear?
9. Can you change to be a better person?
10. Are you ready for change?
The crazy thing is that this is a great list for reviewing life for everyone, although maybe 6 year olds may not get much say about where they are allowed to live. And if you have read my books or articles about how we use reason and intuition and creative thinking in good and not so good ways, you will know that I would encourage a multi-minded approach to answering these questions.
If you don’t use a multi-minded approach then you are going to get high-jacked by some whole brain sentiments which take over just for simplicity’s sake (maybe you want to live as a hermit?) or you get sucked into reasoning and logic which says without money you can’t do anything, which is so far from the truth as to be a complete joke. Just look at the stories of great achievers and mostly they achieved before they got rich!
So, between me and Peter Carvell, this looks like a Universal formula for happiness! 😉
Seriously, when things get tough the answer for us, as individuals, is to look inside ourselves and ask what we want, what we can get, and how we can be what we want to be without being tracked down the traditional pathways which might have seemed OK in the 20th Century but which are totally inappropriate in the 21st Century. We have to think, think about our thinking and then think about how we think about our thinking! A diary comes in useful to do this! Write, but also draw!
If only my school had taught me Chinese!
The spoken language and the caligraphy.
And Government? How would we advise the President?
1. Get your reasoning right: Almost everything talks about getting people into jobs! Hey, there are not enough jobs. This is a total waste of time. 0/10 for reasoning for politicians and their civil servant yes men of no common sense!
2. Get your reasoning right: Only add up numbers which actually can be added up! Getting people back to ‘full time work’ cannot make sense when it means different things to different people. It means 70 hours a week plus commuting to some, and 120 hours a week housekeeping for others. Juggling classifications of people who are on invalidity benefits, or self employed, or on maternity leave, or job seekers also in education, or whatever, if the figures you make up don’t really make sense forget making up the figures and get the people who make them up to do a real job of work.
3. Get your feelings in gear. People want a good life more than they want a job. Pushing through Government policies which push mothers back to work to have their children looked after by grandparents who could be in work anyway and perhaps would rather be in work and have their own children looking after their own children, so what kind of stupid idea is that?
Pushing people into education for jobs when you have no idea what kind of jobs are going to be going even in 5 years time is just crazy. Your feelings should be saying that happy people create their own gainful employment, useful, productive, relevant.
Government money management is in a mess, but not because not enough people are in work.
4. Get creative: Sack half the civil service and get the rest working on improving the infrastructure. Universal, lifelong, free education, on line and in self managed learning groups. Forget trying to count learning as if it comes in micrometer sized pieces. It doesn’t. Build roads that will last for 100 years not 100 days. Build houses that need no heating, build travel networks that allow easy cheap travel for us and our visitors.
Encourage everyone to be a Silver Wolf and not a Sheep in Wolf’s clothing.
If you don’t do this, then just get out, now. You are the wrong person for the job.