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Authentic Conversations of Guts, Grit, and Gusto

Get Inspired

Authentic Conversations of Guts, Grit, and Gusto

Age Is Just a Number

Age Is Just a Number

Age is just a number. We can determine at any age to reverse our functional deterioration and live our best years now—with or without our genes’ cooperation. So while we need to admit we’re getting older, it’s our attitude about age that matters. Here’s my advice:

Stop fighting it.
Embrace it.
Own it.
Love it.

You might wonder how it’s possible to love the aging process, but really it all begins with attitude. I’m not asking you to love the limitations that aging might bring. My younger readers don’t yet know this, but it’s not fun having to stop for a breather while other, younger peers run on ahead of you. It’s not fun having to make more frequent trips to the bathroom. But my older readers can take heart because there’s good news: being chronologically gifted doesn’t mean you have to pretend to be young! Isn’t that a relief? Aren’t you glad to hear that it’s okay to be old—to act your age? And for younger readers, there’s good news, too. Being chronologically gifted means it’s okay to get older. You don’t have to cling to your youth as though there’s nothing left to look forward to once the gray hairs outnumber the colored ones. In fact, on that day, you’ll actually have more to enjoy about life than you can possibly imagine from where you are right now.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that older people can just aggressively tell the world, “I’m old…deal with it!” The world is going to move forward with or without us as we age. If we want to continue having a meaningful opportunity to participate in life, then we’re going to need a healthy mind and a healthy body. We won’t always be young, but we’ll always be growing. So let’s focus less on the number our age represents, and more on the fact that we’re continuously evolving— all the way to our last breath. This need for meaningful development is something that 20-year-olds and 80-year-olds have in common. In their own, age-appropriate ways, both groups are on their way to becoming a better version tomorrow of who they are today.

That’s right. No matter what our age is, we only thrive inasmuch as we continue growing into better, more well-rounded people. I use that word “better” in its basic qualitative sense. Each time we acquire a piece of knowledge or improve upon a skill that helps us deepen relationships, appreciate our experiences, and leave a more robust legacy, we’ve made ourselves better people than we were before. It doesn’t matter how small the change is as long as it’s a true change. Period.

And that’s the goal we have to keep before us if we hope to live a longer, more meaningful and rewarding life. That’s they way the chronologically gifted live. We have to get up each morning, asking ourselves what we think, say and do that will help us go to bed that night feeling good about ourselves.

Five Tips for Preserving Memory

Five Tips for Preserving Memory

Memory is just one of the brain’s many functions. Many people are concerned about losing their memory and developing dementia. While changes in memory occur throughout our lifetime, they become more noticeable as we age. But there are ways to manage the process and preserve memory functions. Here are five tips to help accomplish that goal:

  1. Strive to create new memory connections. This means seeking out more social interactions and opportunities to engage with people.
  2. Maintain a positive attitude. Recognize the brain has plasticity, so you can learn or re-learn skills throughout life. This requires commitment and practice.
  3. Mentally stimulate yourself. Whether through brain games, reading, or intellectual pursuits, these activities promote memory and cognitive functioning.
  4. Stay healthy. Exercise regularly and practice good nutrition to keep your brain healthy.
  5. Enjoy hobbies and other activities. Think about what you’ve lost interest in and find ways to replace or develop new pursuits.

Change the perception
So how can we extend our lives? Tune out the negative. Focus on the positive. Instead of using the word “old,” substitute “wise,” “mature,” “seasoned” and “experienced.” Think about it: in most cultures, elders are typically revered for their accumulation of knowledge and experience. Even those who haven’t accomplished much of special merit exhibit a time-tested combination of cultivated skills and experiential wisdom that rightly inspires humility in younger people (who do well to capitalize on their insights). So, almost by default, age demands more than a modicum of respect.

With the right information and mindset, people can learn how to approach one’s later years with optimism and determination, recognizing that no one ever has to lose their cultural edge. After all, people are living longer, healthier lives every day, all over the world. A huge part of why aging seems to come upon people suddenly and overwhelmingly is because people don’t take the steps early on that will give them the best possible chance of living long, healthy and meaningful lives.

Consider the aging process with a healthy mixture of acceptance and enthusiasm. This mind shift leads people to live happier (and often longer) lives. Known as the chronologically gifted, these people regard their age as a gift, the seal of a lifelong journey for which they are profoundly grateful. It’s a journey that began at birth and one they hope to continue through a personal legacy that immortalizes them in the memories of others. Facing their own mortality, the chronologically gifted are determined to live with significance, passion, and purpose in the here and now.

References:
https://news.yale.edu/2002/07/29/thinking-positively-about-aging-extends-life-more-exercise-and-not-smoking
https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/psp-832261.pdf

10 Principles and Beliefs Adopted by the Chronologically Gifted

10 Principles and Beliefs Adopted by the Chronologically Gifted

What you are to be, you are now becoming. Here are 10 principles that when practiced, will lead to longer, happier, healthier, more fulfilled lives.

  1. Get rid of the phrase, “I’m too old for that.” Eliminate it from daily vocabulary and from all thinking. Instead of approaching old age as an imposition of new limitations, focus on opportunities to overcome challenges and acquire new skills.
  2. Find a reason for getting up in the morning. It’s important for everyone to figure out what makes him or her tick when others want to just give up. Write it down. Create a life mantra. Any time the difficulties of life threaten to overwhelm, let your inner sense of purpose be the reminder that life matters now.
  3. Connect with something bigger. In addition to daily pursuits and occasional travel, volunteer for a worthy cause. Plug in to a spiritual community. Meditate. Pray. Read thought-provoking books that address life’s “big questions.” Get in touch with a Higher Power.
  4. Look on the bright side. Embrace a positive style. Hardship is temporary. Victory is just around the corner. Find little reasons every day to be grateful for life—even in the face of negativity. Resolve to live mindfully and savor the best gifts that life has to offer. Focus on solutions, not problems.
  5. Get moving. No excuses. Pick a physical activity that brings true enjoyment and real passion, and do it—regularly. Take a lot of walks. Use the stairs. Bike to the store instead of driving. Plant and tend a garden in the backyard. Find ways to incorporate low-intensity exercise of all kinds (strength, balance and aerobic) into daily life to ward off the potentially debilitating effects of aging.
  6. Stay fueled. Eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer simple carbohydrates. Avoid processed foods. Drink lots of water and an occasional glass of red wine. Consume smaller portions. Don’t eat “on the go.” Put unhealthy foods out of sight and out of reach to purge temptations.
  7. Create personal Blue Zones. A home can be organized to facilitate good sleep, healthy eating habits and spiritual well-being. Get rid of excess technological “noise,” and create a space for meditation. Shed the clutter and add some greenery. Invest in comfortable pillows and light-blocking drapes for the bedroom. Display pictures of family and friends and souvenirs of treasured life experiences.
  8. Don’t do it alone. Connect with like-minded, loyal, authentic people who will help their loved ones reach their goals. Spend time with them regularly. Share their burdens and vice versa. Rejoice in victories together. Learn to forgive and reach out to estranged family members before it’s too late to be reconciled. Life is too short for grudges.
  9. Believe in yourself. Give credit where credit is due. Focus on becoming the best you can be. Remember, obstacles are only temporary setbacks that can be overcome.
  10. Seize the day. Live today as though it really matters. Don’t do anything to cause regret, and don’t let fear prevent the full experience of your life in the here and right now.
How to Live a Longer and More Fulfilling Life

How to Live a Longer and More Fulfilling Life

Scientific studies have proven people can live about seven years longer if they refuse to “buy in” to the common misconception that tells them that getting older has to mean life is over. According to research conducted by Becca Levy at Yale University’s School for Public Health, a pervasive (even subconscious) negative stereotype regarding aging has a demonstrable effect on long-term health outcomes. In the study, participants, all 50 and older, were separated into two groups. One group was exposed to subliminal, positive messages about aging, while the other group was not. The results were incredible: participants in the second group—people who were otherwise equal on health, educational and socioeconomic factors—showed greater declines in a variety of areas than their peers who were in the first group. These declines were evident in physiological symptoms, like shakier hands and poorer memory retention, higher rates of cardiac disease and more difficulty recovering from disability. There were also behavioral symptoms such as a greater propensity for unhealthy eating, a more sedentary lifestyle and an unwillingness to follow dosage instructions for age-related prescription medications. The net result? A median difference in survival rate of 7.5 years. That’s staggering!

Aging disruption
So how can we extend our lives? Tune out the negative. Focus on the positive. Instead of using the word “old,” substitute “wise,” “mature,” “seasoned” and “experienced.” Think about it: in most cultures, elders are typically revered for their accumulation of knowledge and experience. Even those who haven’t accomplished much of special merit exhibit a time-tested combination of cultivated skills and experiential wisdom that rightly inspires humility in younger people (who do well to capitalize on their insights). So, almost by default, age demands more than a modicum of respect.

With the right information and mindset, people can learn how to approach one’s later years with optimism and determination, recognizing that no one ever has to lose their cultural edge. After all, people are living longer, healthier lives every day, all over the world. A huge part of why aging seems to come upon people suddenly and overwhelmingly is because people don’t take the steps early on that will give them the best possible chance of living long, healthy and meaningful lives.

Consider the aging process with a healthy mixture of acceptance and enthusiasm. This mind shift leads people to live meaningful (and often longer) lives. Known as the chronologically gifted, these people regard their age as a gift, the seal of a lifelong journey for which they are profoundly grateful. It’s a journey that began at birth and one they hope to continue through a personal legacy that immortalizes them in the memories of others. Facing their own mortality, the chronologically gifted are determined to live with significance, passion, and purpose in the here and now.

References:
https://news.yale.edu/2002/07/29/thinking-positively-about-aging-extends-life-more-exercise-and-not-smoking
https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/psp-832261.pdf

Have You Created Your Legacy?

Have You Created Your Legacy?

What exactly is a legacy? It’s your story that communicates how you want to be remembered. It covers your life’s events, your contributions to family and society, your ideas, advice and wisdom accumulated over a lifetime that you want to be a “forever” memory for people… not only friends and family members but for others who can benefit from your story as well. For many, leaving a legacy is a part of the human condition, a desire for immortality. When crafting your legacy, here are three questions to answer: How do I want to be remembered? What is the greatest gift or message I have to share with others? How can others benefit from what I share? Remember, legacy is about what matters most. It’s about life lessons and how to overcome loss, disappointment, tragedy and trauma. It’s about inspiring others by providing hope, encouragement, and gratitude for a life well-lived. Create and share your legacy. You can do it!

Tackling Trauma and Adversity

Tackling Trauma and Adversity

As a Holocaust survivor, I understand what trauma is and how to cherish the moment I’m in and enjoy it, in spite of it and because of it. As a young girl, I spent four years in a Nazi holding camp during WWII. I saw starvation, cruelty, disease and death daily. As a result I learned to be detached, but more importantly, I learned to believe in myself, to see what I had, not what I didn’t have. While everyone experiences loss, sadness, disappointment, it’s how we respond to those events that matters. I made the decision at an early age not to become a victim. I adopted a mindset of gratitude in the face of adversity. I learned to make decisions in the present and live life with no regrets. When we surround ourselves with positive people and focus on what’s good in our lives, we lessen the impact of trauma and adversity. In this way, we learn to take charge of our destiny and live the life we want to live. You can do it!

Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance

Many of us live harried, “always-on” lives as we juggle multiple roles and responsibilities. It’s reminiscent of the expression, “I’m running as fast as I can.” When we’re so busy trying to fit everything in, often we forget to stop and smell the roses. In the process, we tend to overlook and postpone what’s really important. Remember, living a full life means we need to plan family time—time to engage, create traditions and memories as well as share fun adventures. If we wait until “someday,” that day may never come. That’s why it’s important to be mindful of today. Participate in all life has to offer daily. Stay in the moment. Make the choices that will enable you to live the life you want with no regrets. You can do it!

Disrupt Aging

Disrupt Aging

It’s time to break the mold and disrupt the traditional concept of the aging process and model. Spend time in front of the mirror. Fall in love with yourself all over again, but not in a narcissistic way. Join the ranks of the those who want to live long and well, otherwise known as the “chronologically gifted.” These are individuals who have a healthy sense of self-love—one that makes them feel confident in their own skin—wrinkles and all.
Adopt a new perspective. Consider the mantra: “I’m not just getting older; I’m getting wiser.” Let the features that reveal age be the ones that are reminiscent of the wisdom and maturity collected throughout a life time. Admire, appreciate and like the person looking back at you in the mirror because that’s the person who still has a lot to offer the world.

Remember, everyone gets older, so aging is not an option. But how people age is a choice. People have far more power over how they age than society conditions them to believe. Anyone can become chronologically gifted. Just decide you don’t just want to live longer, you want to live better—beginning right here, right now. This is what we call disrupt aging.

Take comfort in knowing that everything you do from this point on takes you one step closer to living the kind of mindful, joyful, seize-the-day life you were designed to enjoy. Let that belief become a springboard for deeper engagement with the life inside of you—the timeless part of you that is desperate to express itself, despite the best efforts of an age-fearing culture to suppress it. You can do it!

Life-long Learning

Life-long Learning

While there’s no “magical” way to halt or reverse the aging process, there are ways to embrace it. Start by admitting that you’re getting older. Stop fighting it. Own it. Love it. Adopt a positive attitude. The world is going to move forward with or without you. Where some people get hung up is with the misconception that as they age, they have to fit in with the younger generation. This simply isn’t true. A more helpful attitude is, “I may not be young anymore, but I’m still capable of growing and I will continue my process of evolving until the end of my life.” Each time an individual acquires a piece of knowledge or improves upon a skill that helps them deepen their relationships, appreciate their past and current experiences, and leave a more robust legacy, that’s a change that matters.

The Art of Negotiation

The Art of Negotiation

While there’s no “magical” way to halt or reverse the aging process, there are ways to embrace it. Start by admitting that you’re getting older. Stop fighting it. Own it. Love it. Adopt a positive attitude. The world is going to move forward with or without you. Where some people get hung up is with the misconception that as they age, they have to fit in with the younger generation. This simply isn’t true. A more helpful attitude is, “I may not be young anymore, but I’m still capable of growing and I will continue my process of evolving until the end of my life.” Each time an individual acquires a piece of knowledge or improves upon a skill that helps them deepen their relationships, appreciate their past and current experiences, and leave a more robust legacy, that’s a change that matters.

The Role of Attitude on the Aging Process

The Role of Attitude on the Aging Process

While there’s no “magical” way to halt or reverse the aging process, there are ways to embrace it. Start by admitting that you’re getting older. Stop fighting it. Own it. Love it. Adopt a positive attitude. The world is going to move forward with or without you. Where some people get hung up is with the misconception that as they age, they have to fit in with the younger generation. This simply isn’t true. A more helpful attitude is, “I may not be young anymore, but I’m still capable of growing and I will continue my process of evolving until the end of my life.” Each time an individual acquires a piece of knowledge or improves upon a skill that helps them deepen their relationships, appreciate their past and current experiences, and leave a more robust legacy, that’s a change that matters.

Celebrate World Kindness Day: The Power of Kindness

Celebrate World Kindness Day: The Power of Kindness

Kindness is considered to be an essential and integral part in the quest of Tikkun Olam (repair the world). Performing acts of kindness, in other words, the mindful practice of engaging in positive affirming behavior with another, friend or stranger, has a powerful rewarding impact in your life and those around you. Kindness is expressed in many different ways—a smile, a kind word, landing a hand to someone in need, empowering the voiceless. All make a difference in the world around us and contribute to our personal ‘natural high’—a gift that keeps on giving in pursuit of Tikkun Olam.

Don’t Let Feeling Blue Get You Down

Don’t Let Feeling Blue Get You Down

Everyone experiences sadness, grief and disappointment in life. It’s part of the human condition. When we let those feelings overcome us, it impacts the quality of our relationships and our enjoyment of life. Fortunately, there are ways to move past it. Here’s how:

1.    Focus on possibilities. It’s what you can do that matters.

2.    Adopt a positive attitude. Let go of grief, anger, resentment and anxiety.

3.    Get moving and stay fueled. The little difference can have a big impact.

4.    Volunteer and give-back to society. Giving is always more powerful and lasting than receiving.

5.    Become an active member of a community. Whether it’s a spiritual, religious, or special interest group, connections matter and have a positive impact on your state of mind.

6.    Meditate. It can help you find peace of mind, reduce tension and let go of stress.

7.    Stay in the moment. Let go of the past. Don’t worry about the future.

8.    Recognize there is no such thing as failure. One door closes, another opens.

9.    Face the elephant in the room. Address what’s gnawing at you.

10.    Practice gratitude. Not only does it improve your physical and emotional well-being, it increases your energy and makes you feel more connected to others.

The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room

Not infrequently, everyone, whether in personal or business situations, finds themselves facing potentially uncomfortable and untenable situations with peers, supervisors, subordinates, family, and friends. When the tendency is to avoid dealing with them, it’s commonly referred to as the “elephant in the room.” It means there is an obvious, obstacle, or challenge or that people are uncomfortable addressing. In many situations—personal or professional—the ‘elephant’ characterizes a pesky pachyderm that most of us cannot afford to disregard. Why? Because it:
• Distracts us from productive, creative work
• Delays our ability to move forward
• Drains our energy
• Damages the morale of everyone around us, ourselves included
• Doesn’t clean up after itself.
Avoidance in dealing with the elephant can prevent us from achieving the growth and success we strive to attain. Take a look around. Is there an elephant you need to address? Doing it sooner than later restores peace and tranquility to your life.

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