The lies we tell ourselves

by Allan Nation

Robert Kiyosaki, author of the Rich Dad book series, said excuses are lies that we tell ourselves.

He said the biggest lie is that we don't have time to a do the things we want or need to do.As long as there is one person on earth who has accomplished what you want to accomplish that person proves the lie in your excuse. This is because no one has more than 24 hours in a day.

In previous articles, I and other SGF writers, have talked about time that is worth $500 an hour and time that is worth only $5 an hour so I won't go into that. What I would like to discuss with you is the time remaining in your life after 50.

Part of the depression most men feel when they hit 50 is the realization that time is running out. Statistically, after 50 we have more yesterdays than tomorrows.

Quite often this realization turns into panic and panicked people do stupid things.

However, again, statistically speaking, time is not short. We still have at least 25 years of tomorrows.

To put this in perspective think how much you have accomplished in your life since you were 25.

Now consider how much you have accomplished since you were 40.

The improvement has been pretty dramatic hasn't it? The big speed up in your forties was because you were getting smarter and were on the rising side of the learning curve.

At 50, you are even smarter.

In fact, the 50s have been described as a person's "power years." Power in this instance being defined as the knowledge of how to get things done.

The problem is that due to the testosterone decline we all experience in our 50s, just when we've finally got it figured out we often lose the energy and the desire "to do" to cash in on what we know.

There is probably not a man alive who at some time in his early 50s hasn't sat down and tried to figure out if he could retire and just live on what he has accumulated so far.

Others think that by chunking everything and trying something new their old energy will be rekindled. What they discover is that this is akin to starting over in the first grade.

It is okay to go to graduate school at 50, but we don't want to go back to the first grade.

You want to keep what you already have and then add more to it.

However at 50 adding more starts with taking time off.

What most men need at 50 more than anything else is a long vacation. By long vacation, I mean at least four consecutive weeks.

I guarantee you this will help clear your head and can keep you from making a terrible mistake. The truth is that for most of us the job we have at 50 is probably the highest paid job we are ever going to have and we need to be darned careful about giving it up.

If you have to put your ranch into suspended animation for a month, do it. If you have to sell all your animals to take a long vacation, do it.

What happens to most men is that they get so wrapped up in their work in their forties that they forget that they need some personal down time. Many work themselves into total physical and emotional exhaustion.

I see so many guys who have brought their businesses right to the edge of greatness during their forties but suddenly lose interest in it at 50. Some even start to hate it.

This creates what I call the "dump and run" syndrome. They will dump the ranch on their wives, their unprepared children or on equally an unprepared ranch hand and just split. Others put it up for sale at fire sale prices.

I have long thought that the best time to buy a business cheap is when the owner/operator hits 50. They don't call us "middle-aged crazy" for nothing. I am not being critical. I have been there and have felt all of these feelings.

At age 56 I have been through the dark tunnel and am coming out the other side and you will too. The key thing is not to make any long-term decisions until you have taken that vacation.

If you are like most men, you will find that by the third week doing nothing will start to drive you crazier that working 18 hours a day. Suddenly, a life of leisure won't look nearly as attractive as it did.

What you will also learn is that giving yourself some down time is an important part of keeping your energy and enthusiasm for your work high. Now, rather than needing four weeks straight you can just take a week off four times a year.


Now back to that 25 years of life stretching ahead of you. I like to read the biographies of really wealthy self-made people. A common theme is that while you can become a millionaire at virtually any age, most billionaires are created after age 65.

Read the Forbes 400 list of America's wealthiest people. You can count on one hand the number of people on the list who are under 60.

A common theme I have found in these biographies is that these older men kept their enthusiasm and energy high by continuing to take risks.

They weren't willing to just sit on their bundle and molder away. They kept putting it out there.

A major difference between men and women is that men need to take risks. We need the testosterone jolt of wining to feel alive.

I read that we have something like a risk muscle in us and that if we don't exercise it we lose our capacity for taking risks and become fearful.

At 70, Bud Williams plays the commodity markets every day.

Gordon Hazard at 80 is into the stock market.

Warren Buffett is the richest man in America and yet in his late 70s still takes a chance on buying new businesses.

None of these men need the money. They do it because the risk involved keeps them mentally sharp and makes them feel good.

I believe that most of the depression men over 50 feel can be traced back to the fact that they have stopped taking risks in their lives. They have stopped playing offense. The point of the game has shifted from trying to win to trying not to lose.

At 50, this is like trying to run the clock out with a whole quarter left to play. It doesn't make good football strategy and it doesn't make good financial strategy either.

Personally, I plan to play a full 13 minutes of offense and then wind up with a final two minute drill that will knock your socks off.

Twenty-five years is too long a time to waste. Let's take lots of vacations but let's keep on keeping on.

by The Stockman Grass Farmer

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