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Boomers, Escape From Your Bubble!

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7.    Focus on legacy and lifelong learning.

The nine pointers in this article are intertwined, inter-related and overlapping.  Returning to the first point, “Refuse to decline”, we can look further for insight into how we can maintain robust brain health well into old age.  What we do now has an effect on who we will be–cognitively–at 100.  Here’s what Daniel Pink (in DRiVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us) says about performance and cognition:

“The real pathway to enduring performance particularly for creative and conceptual tasks, are these three things: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Autonomy is self direction, mastery is our desire to get better and better at something that matters, purpose is our desire to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves. And those three building blocks are the building blocks that really lead to sustained, enduring motivation, particularly for the more complex conceptual, creative things that more and more of us are doing on the job.”

Dan has been our guest speaker in the UTD Expert Forum three times, and in February of 2010 he spoke of the Boomer challenge–of being 60 today, and how its qualitatively differently than being 60 in 1950 or1990. If you’re 60 today, maybe you have 25 or more good years left. People look back 25 years to when they were 35 and they say “That happened fast!” and may ask any or all of the following questions:

Are the next 25 years going to happen that fast?
And if they are, when am I going to do something that matters?
When am I going to leave a mark on the world?
What is my legacy going to be?
How am I going to be remembered?
When am I going to live my best life?
What is my purpose?
What contribution will I have made in my lifetime?

A dramatic quote from Pink will close this section: “When the cold front of demographics meets the warmer front of unrealized dreams, the result will be the thunderstorm of purpose, the likes of which the world has never seen.”

8.  Free yourself of the constraints of geography—go virtual.

In 1994, a year after I left my last corporate job I traveled to Sao Paulo, Brazil to present a newly created workshop to an innovative professional organization.  The title of the workshop was “The Virtual Corporation: New Strategies for a New Millennium and a Global Viewpoint.” The term “virtual corporation” came into general use in 1993, highlighted by articles in Business Week and Computerworld.  The book The Virtual Corporation by Davidow and Malone, published in 1992, defines a new kind of amorphous entity, “virtual companies…that have offices in many cities but no real physical headquarters and whose people live on the network.  …the organizations of the 21st century will be constantly reconfiguring themselves, because change is happening all the time and organizations that try to figure it out once and for all are wrong.” They envisioned  just a portion of the ultimate in connectedness we now take for granted—in business and in life. We could hardly imagine the enormous changes that would come in the 21st century and yet they reinforce these observations from the early 1990’s.

Why is the concept of the virtual corporation significant to Boomers in the second decade of the 21st century? The significance lies in the usefulness and the applicability of the concept.

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