"Refire - an attitude of embracing the years ahead with enthusiasm rather than apathy" - Morton Shaevitz"
How many times have you heard about or even known people who retire and die within a short time? It's more common than you think. Humans are wired to face challenges and grow. As with plants, without the right "nutrients", humans slowly weaken and die. We need a sense of purpose. We want to be important to someone else. We want to leave our imprint on the world. We need to grow every day. We need to feed the mind, body, and soul. How are you doing with your growth? I was given the privledge of reading Blanchard and Shaevitz's new book Refire! Don't Retire and loved it. Start thinking about it now because there will come a day when you may need to Refire!
I have an incredible aunt with a zest for life who is in her late 70's. She retired as a neonatal specialist nurse years ago but continues to do research, teach seminars, and publish papers. She doesn't stop there. She learned Reflexology. She traveled to Thailand and banged drums with natives on a retreat. She travels with a thirst for learning. Aunt Mary is who I thought of when I first heard the title of Blanchard and Shaevitz's new book. Refire! Don't Retire: Make The Rest Of Your Life The Best Of Your Life. Aunt Mary is a poster child for this great read. Age doesn't mean that we can, or should, show down. Life is full and we all need to think about what we can do to make our lives satisfying and meaningful.
Refire! Don't Retire is written in the comfortable storytelling fashion that only Ken Blanchard can tell. The book is an easy and relaxing read about a middle aged couple, Larry and Janice Sparks, who are in a funk in their lives. They meet Dr. Jeffrey who carries them on an adventure throughout the book meeting different people and learning each step of the way how they can approach life with "more gusto". The book really got me thinking about how I can approach life differently and make changes that bring inner peace and a satisfaction with life.
The early pages of the book offer a great picture of what Blanchard and Shaevitz want us to remember. We should "Approach life with gusto. It's to see each day as an opportunity for adventure and learning. It's to infuse passion and zest into every area of your life - emotional, intellectually, physical, and spiritual. Heart, head, body and soul." They continue to illustrate how achievements and money aren't truly what make people happy. It helps for awhile, but eventually people crave more. Cravings include happiness, significance, generosity, service, and loving relationships. You can't argue with that!
There are four life areas that Dr. Jeffrey leads the Sparks through within the pages of our book:
- Refire Emotionally. Love and strong relationships are important. We need to reconnect with others and let people know that we care. Ask them how you can help them and focus on making the world a better place. Do something different. Jump out of your comfort zone and out of your rut. Be more spontaneous and be ready to get up and go to try new things. Don't be a "stick in the mud" as my Mom used to say and just do it! I lovingly refer to my husband as "Last Minute Mike". He's always wants to do things at the last minute with friends or to just go somewhere with no planning or advanced notice. I'm more of a planner and always putting a halt to "Last Minute Mike" adventures. Reading this area in the book made me do some self discovery. I need to be more "last minute" and spontaneous. I need to Refire Emotionally"!
- Refire Intellectually. Intellectual growth is a key to the fountain of youth. You need to partner intellectual grow with emotional growth. It keeps your mind sharp, gives you purpose, presents challenges, and prevents you from becoming a zombie. Learn something new every day. Afraid of technology? Face it and take a class or have your kids show you the ropes. Always wanted to learn to speak French? Start now and get those brain muscles firing away.
- Refire Physically. You are as old as you feel and if you don't physically take care of yourself, you will age really fast!. Take care of your body. Set goals to be active. Hide the cookies and eat healthier. You will find that your mind is sharper, your emotions are healthy, and your attitude will be jumping off the scale.
- Refire Spiritually. Blanchard and Shaevitz wind our journey down by showing a glimpse of strain between the spiritual beliefs of Larry and Janice. Larry has life long strong spiritual beliefs while Janice only knows that there are "higher powers" in the world bigger than her. Eventually after some soul searching they agree that there are higher powers and that they need to respect the individual beliefs of others without prejudice. They learn how critical refiring spiritually is to the overall satisfaction in their lives.
Our lessons are further reinforced at the end of each chapter. Each chapter includes a Code of Conduct for living out each of the life areas. We are also given Pause, Reflect, Take Action suggestions. Some sample suggestions include; Be aware, Be Forgiving, Be Playful, Be Friendly, Be Open to Learn. These are wonderful reflecting points to ponder after each chapter and really bring new meaning to the story that we were included in.
I really admire my Aunt Mary and how she continues to learn and Refire in several aspects of her life. You can't just stand idle in life. YOU need to take control of your growth. Think of the 4 points above as your fertilizer to keep you nourished and growing. Incorporate them into your life now so that you stand strong with gusto as you grow down the path of life.