From strength to strength: Finding success, happiness and deep purpose in the second half of life

Arthur C. By Brooks, Portfolio, 2022

Arthur C. Brooks is a striver. As a young man, he was a skilled French horn player who was able to make a living as a classical musician. He later earned a PhD. And has run the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) for over a decade. He also became a fluent Catalan speaker, a columnist New York TimesAnd a father.

But Brooks is also a seeker. Raised an observant Protestant, he converted to Roman Catholicism as a teenager and has since explored various religious traditions during life lessons. He made a spiritual journey to India and developed a personal relationship with the Dalai Lama.

The combination of striver and explorer makes Brooks an interesting guide to the aging problem that kind of driven overchivers are reading this article. Aging is something that all of us sooner or later, if we are lucky. But business leaders will probably face problems long before their dot-com, for older societies and because of lower birth rates, executives around the world need to be accustomed to hiring and managing older employees.

The executives presiding over the gray workforce, and those who are gray themselves, or who can do worse than give hopeful and meaningful advice to deal with this phenomenon From strength to strength, Brooks’s short, heartfelt and delightfully enthusiastic book on the subject. As an aging striker, Brooks knows what you’re up against, and as an investigator, he provides useful guidance for finding a way forward.

His insights are sometimes obvious, yet you have to listen to them. The most important message in the book, though unexpected it may be, is that you are dying. You said you already know? Well, don’t do that. This does not mean that you should abandon your career and your long-term plans. But as we age সময় time decreases-we should allow a healthy awareness of mortality to influence our professional and personal preferences. And we must recognize that the obsessive focus on work can and cannot do for us.

Fortunately, the growing sense of nearness to the end can help us recognize the folly of sacrificing everything for wealth and dignity. Also, almost everyone who is blessed with the choice of life can benefit by paying attention to the author’s advice to find one’s “deep purpose” and remove what it does not serve. Imagine Marie Condo loosening up on your calendar.

Business leaders who embrace the author’s point of view can use it in two ways: to rein in their worst workloads and to help team members give the right weight to things outside of work that contribute much to a meaningful life (an effort that even improves productivity). .

Managers would also like to note the author’s comments about power and age. Brooks argues that in many ways our abilities begin to erode long before we really get old. He realized this when his skills in the French horn began to decline in his 20’s and then deteriorated so much that he decided to look for another job.

Yet, with age, we also gain power. Drawing on the work of British psychologist Raymond Cattle, who stated in 1971 that there are two types of human intelligence in a mixture that changes with age, Brooks writes: , And novel problem solving. We usually think of it as raw smart … “Inventors have a lot of fluid intelligence.”

Kettle’s second type of smart is “crystallized intelligence” or the ability to use a growing body of knowledge. In other words, Brooks writes, “When you are young, you have intelligence; When you grow old, you will have knowledge. ” Crystallized intelligence tends to increase with age and makes older people better historians and teachers. Brooks argues that high achievers will sooner or later abandon roles that rely heavily on analytical or quick thinking in favor of roles that harness their higher abilities to combine and apply what they know – and that helps young people.

People know this long ago; The author quotes the Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero, who believed that the elderly should “reduce their physical labor” and, at the same time, “increase their mental activity.” We should try to serve as much as possible. ”

For those aging like Brooks, the strategy is to play with these new strengths, leaving the energies dependent on the young. Following his own advice, he resigned as head of AEI in the mid-50’s and is now teaching at Harvard. And yet, he says, “I do not advise you to hate and reject the world; Living like a monk in a cave in the Himalayas. There is nothing bad or embarrassing about the material abundance of the world, and we deserve to enjoy it. “

Aging society and low birth rates mean that executives around the world need to be accustomed to hiring and managing older employees.

Instead of closing a bucket list, he decided that he would teach, reduce his demand, and focus on people. Like many who write about happiness, Brooks strongly advocates investing in human relationships — a potentially filled area for business leaders who may find shallow, transactional friendships easy to build but not deeper that take time and if one emerges from the workplace. There was no boss. Friendship is something that works, the author says, and I agree. It’s amazing that so few people are interested in doing that.

Brooks is outspoken about his Roman Catholic religion, which I find refreshing even if he quotes many more religious personalities for my taste. He practices his faith every day, but From strength to strength Reflects a healthy spiritual cosmopolitanism, including other religions and practices, including Buddhism and Hinduism. A few comparative books address the tendency of people to become more interested in spirituality as we age, and rarely still encourage it.

Brooks is an enthusiastic guide, but he asks a lot: that as you get older, you are living a tested life, you will embrace your newfound abilities instead of being angry at the ebb and flow of your old ones and you will stop the crazy tap. You hope the dance world will gain appreciation – if only because sooner or later the applause should stop. To make things easier, he summed up his philosophy in just seven words:

Use things.
Love people
Worship God.

Good advice, and even better, he leaves each of us to decide for ourselves the divine part. As an atheist I approve. Everyone has a deep purpose, with or without religion, and getting older can help you focus on it.

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