Fortunately, many people in this stage of life have developed qualities that, to my mind, constitute true wealth. And though there is no guarantee that these traits will ensure a comfortable life ahead, forestall physical decline or dispel the health and long-term care crises that loom, there is little doubt that they can help those who possess them contend with critical challenges and generate a positive ripple effect.
It is not only economic poverty that poses risks; an impoverished spirit and negative outlook also make us fragile. The characteristics and behaviors possessed by the richest Americans I know form a protective armor that lets them weather life’s blows and rebound.
I’ve learned a great deal about the traits of 50+ people leading rich lives from my work here at Next Avenue.
1. They’ve mastered a lot of life lessons and they want to pass them on. So they look for opportunities to teach and mentor others.
2. They’ve pinpointed a few causes they really care about, work at developing deep insights about them and donate their time and energy to them in the belief that they can help change things for the better. They don’t worry about whether they’re impacting a single individual or the world.
3. They are grateful for what they have and take steps to share it.
4. They are seekers and doers who are enthusiastic participants in life — they are fully engaged in work, play and relationships.
5. They have a hunger to keep learning — information, skills, fresh practices — to foster brain health and become better equipped to stay employed and contribute to society in fresh ways.
6. They have an open heart, build communities around them, forge and cherish connections with people of all ages and help others create nourishing bonds.
7. They try to learn from their mistakes and take action to heal old wounds, smooth out past relationships and resolve regrets.
8. They think about life’s big questions, focus on being open-eyed and taking action to become more emotionally insightful.
9. They acknowledge difficulty but choose to believe in the possibility of positive outcomes and try to spread the happiness they cultivate.
10. They respect and take care of themselves. They are conscientious about making healthy food choices, exercising regularly and taking measures to reduce stress. They accept that they have a responsibility to cultivate physical and mental well-being and to protect and honor their bodies. Why? To make the most of their own lives and to ease the prospective future burdens on their loved ones.
part of an article in NEXTAVENUE by Donna Sapolin