Last year I wrote this blog article when I turned 68. Tomorrow I will be 69. Another year under my belt. As we age we begin to repeat ourselves…so why not repeat the blog article with a few minor changes? Here it is! 🙂
It is a great day for me to address the topic of You Can Stay Forever Young. Tomorrow I’m 69 calendar years young…born on May 10, 1945 to Murray and Mary Gibson (Sister Sharon) into the community of Newport Station, Hants Country, Nova Scotia, Canada. (About 300 people). Here I now live and work full time from Johannesburg, South Africa. To get to what age really is I’d like to start with the subject of change. I’ve always found it is important to look at change as a positive influence in our lives. When we go through changes we usually have to learn new ways of doing, thinking, speaking and being. The understanding of the four stages of learning can help you see the benefits of change and it can keep you stay forever young. If you search back through your life and explore the process you went through while learning new things in your life, you will notice that you experienced these four stages of learning. Think about when you:
- learned to drive a car
- learned the skill of typing
- learned to use a computer
- learned to dance
- learned to change a diaper on a baby
- learned a new communication skill
- even learning to make love (LOL)
Firstly you started at stage 1 and that is where you did not even know that you really did not know i.e. unconsciously unskilled. Then you tried to drive a car with your limited experience. You suddenly realised you could not drive (stage 2). You were consciously unskilled. You felt very awkward, slow, stupid, etc. This is the stage many of us give up because of the discomfort. I mean, who wants to look and feel unskilled?
Now, if you persevered you eventually reached stage 3 – consciously skilled where you became quite happy with your driving and were conscious that you were getting skilled at it. You were alert and had an awareness of all your driving moves. (I practised on a dead end dirt road with a gravel pit at the end of the road in my uncle Reid Shanks’ old pick-up truck.) The truck was old and beat up so I couldn’t damage it! When we become consciously skilled there is a great feeling of achievement and it creates excitement. This is the result of advancing from the consciously unskilled stage to the consciously skilled stage. You experience the winning feeling of accomplishing and completing.
The final stage is the unconsciously skilled area of learning. This is where you are driving down the road and leaning down changing radio stations or the CD player and suddenly wonder who has been driving the car and whether or not cars have passed by. If you were not consciously driving, your unconscious must have been driving. The unconsciously skilled area is where you are so experienced at doing something that you do not have to think about it.
Now, by understanding these four stages of learning it makes it easier to comprehend why you may resist change in the consciously unskilled stage of learning something new. But the real benefit is that feeling of accomplishment, exhilaration, and achievement that comes to us when we conquer this stage and end up at the next stage. Accomplishing something new creates energy and energy creates spirit and spirit is youthfulness.
We all know someone in their late sixties, seventies or eighties who look as if they are ten to fifteen years younger than they really are. These people are always out participating in new adventures and activities uncommon to their age group. In my opinion, these people have found the fountain of youth. They are not afraid to venture through the awkward growth stage of learning something new. (Consciously Unskilled). They do it continually. They are not the people that say “been there, done that, got the T-shirt…life is a bore.” They look forward to every day.
For most people it is much easier to stay secure with the old and what is comfortable. However, when you begin to master that new venture, new challenge, new skill there is a great sense of achievement, that creates energy in turn creating spirit.
Talking about spirit, if you look into the eyes of these active elderly people you see spirit. They have found the fountain of youth and it is in their attitude of always learning, progressing and trying new things. It is about openness and a willingness to try and a willingness to fail and try again. Individuals, departments, companies, communities and countries, which are willing to accept and tackle change with vengeance, have spirit. Change is an opportunity to rejuvenate and grow. Opportunity can be found in change. So grab that opportunity to infuse a new energy into yourself and others around you. If you do this, you will always have the energy to continually develop your company and your selling, leading and learning skills and in turn helping you enjoy your business and personal life even more. By the way, it is important to never judge your age or someone else’s age by the date of their birth. Age can be measured in three ways:
- Calendar Years: That is how many years you have been on this earth. (Society has a tendency to think in calendar years.)
- Biological Years: Think of five people that are all the same age in calendar years. Example 50 years of age. None of them look exactly the same age. Some have grey hair, some don’t. Some have more wrinkles than others. Some have youthful bodies, some don’t. You can affect the age of your body. Marius Liebenberg, a friend and partner, has a guest house in Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa. A few years ago just before the ARGUS Cycle competition a 72 year old man showed up to stay overnight two days before the one day competition. He had just cycled 1200 kilometres from Durban to Cape Town! How old was his body? He was probably as fit as the average 36 year old. Therefore he was not 72.
- Psychological Years: Some 32 year olds are 104 years of age. You hear them say “There is nothing new, life’s a bore, I am getting old, there is no future, etc.” Then you have the 70 year old who says there is a lot that is new, life’s exciting and they are childlike and happy. This is the one that can have a major influence on your biological years and the way you treat yourself. Your psychological age is the most important one. Be open to change, adventure, growth, risk, learning, challenges, new ways, new places, new people, fun and excitement and you will stay forever young.
For me, at 69 calendar years of age, this is the day I commit to at least 2 blogs a week and in the next 90 days will launch a new book and move strongly into online marketing. Watch this space…it is time to inspire not retire!
I’m really excited about sharing, connecting and helping to build an even more meaningful prosperous joyful future for myself and as many others as possible. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. God willing, I’ll be speaking, writing and marketing at 100 calendar years of age. Have a forever young week!