escott

Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think

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I did not see the direction this article ultimately took coming. I've been feeling burned out at work. I've been thinking a lot about how I'm going to keep this going for another 15-20 years before I can retire. So, one might think this is going to be your typical business/career advice article. It starts out telling a story about an unnamed (but real) celebrity/hero then moves on to Darwin, Bach, and some others. Then it takes a turn with an account about a visit to a guru in India, Sri Nochur Venkataraman, and lands on the topic of Vanaprastha (loosely translated as "retiring into the forest"). Then it goes on to discuss corpse meditation done in many Theravada Buddhist monasteries.

 

Anyway, lots to think about. It's a fantastic read. 

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/07/work-peak-professional-decline/590650/

 

Edited by escott
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Sounds interesting. I'll read it this weekend.

 

This topic has been on my mind. Thankfully I already started thinking about this 20 years ago and took steps.

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Great article. Of course, as the author points out, not everyone can walk away from a very high paying job into a university professorship. :D

 

I would not recommend spiritual practice to anyone with worldly ambitions--- it does tend to undermine it. On the other hand, I highly recommend aging as a spiritual practice. I find that getting older highlights the impermanence of the world and the futility of accomplishment. And you don't even have to put in any effort!

 

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Nice article. 

 

The funny thing about the Western lifestyle is it dependent on people working until 65-70 years old which is very hard as outlined by the article. 

 

One thing that I recommend is at the beginning of your career is to save as much as you can and invest in index funds. Then you will be more independent of work than your peers. 

 

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I found this video to be helpful. 

 

Spoiler

 

 

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I received solid advice at some point that stuck.

For a long full life, cultivate three hobbies you deeply resonate and connect with...

 

One that promotes vitality and maintains health

One to recharge your batteries with joy and connection to life

One to make some money

 

Sometimes they cross over and interfeed.  And sometimes they fall away and are replaced... let them.

 

Life skill is developed over a life time... allow this.

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that's a big reason I appreciate what I do, its grown and evolved and changed enough to keep me interested.  and the pay goes up as that happens, too, which is a plus.  I hated back when I had to sit and hold the end of the fire hose and make the donuts, that was boring as shit and I wouldnt have lasted another 3 years doing it much less 10 or the...I dont really know how long it'll be until the math adds up.  I'm still too young to know that, right? (or does that mean I'm slacking on my financial planning :lol:

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Nice article - what it does not yet address is the difficulty of really beginning or moving forward with spiritual pursuit late in life.

 

It illustrates well a myriad of things that can be seen in a life over time.

And the significant difficulties presented and skims very lightly over the difficulty (to no fault of the article otherwise it would be a book). 

 

The difficulties in later life are immense - though it is true many aspects such as money may no longer be a burden (or they may be big scary burdens).

 

But the “crystallized” mind is often so like a brick that religion, beliefs and habituations are like lead walls.

Ears cannot (and refuse to) hear and eyes cannot see.

 

In any case - a breath of fresh air to the readers - lots of interesting and well presented info.

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Wonderful article. In my own case, I find my fluid intelligence petering down as I approach the mid-40s.

 

It is not unusual to look at others who have been my peers at earlier stages of life and speculate while comparing. I've given in to that on the rare occasion too in the past. 

 

The key really is spiritual practice and knowledge of the right kind. Not just "do x, y and z" methods to gain "A, B & C" qualities/siddhis/etc etc. A genuine inquiry into our true nature is required. Which will help separate the wheat (true nature) from the chaff (personality, labels, attributes, etc etc). It seems that transition across the various "ashrams" of life happen naturally if we have a genuine spiritual practice. It is easier to "let go". 

 

 

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On 6/30/2019 at 11:04 PM, Spotless said:

Nice article - what it does not yet address is the difficulty of really beginning or moving forward with spiritual pursuit late in life.

 

It illustrates well a myriad of things that can be seen in a life over time.

And the significant difficulties presented and skims very lightly over the difficulty (to no fault of the article otherwise it would be a book). 

 

The difficulties in later life are immense - though it is true many aspects such as money may no longer be a burden (or they may be big scary burdens).

 

But the “crystallized” mind is often so like a brick that religion, beliefs and habituations are like lead walls.

Ears cannot (and refuse to) hear and eyes cannot see.

 

In any case - a breath of fresh air to the readers - lots of interesting and well presented info.

You are too generous. But nice. :)

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On 6/29/2019 at 9:40 AM, forestofemptiness said:

 

I would not recommend spiritual practice to anyone with worldly ambitions--- it does tend to undermine it. On the other hand, I highly recommend aging as a spiritual practice. I find that getting older highlights the impermanence of the world and the futility of accomplishment. And you don't even have to put in any effort!

 

 

 

Yes, spiritual practice does seem to undermine worldly ambitions.  I think it's just a matter of "what we want" as we go through life.  I think we have to get through the illusion of worldly ambition to realize that the Truth we're seeking lies in our own self-realization.  And then it seems to become a process of elimination of the unnecessary things or relationships which do not further that cause.

 

19 hours ago, dwai said:

Wonderful article. In my own case, I find my fluid intelligence petering down as I approach the mid-40s.

 

 

 

 

Yes, I'm afraid mine has already reached a stage of maximum peterage.  I find myself, at 72, having to rely on a different intelligence; not an intelligence that requires memory, which I don't have.  But having command over the way we relate to the Here and Now, staying in consciousness as much as we're able - this concept keeps me functioning, and I can actually slide through life pretty well without memory.  Except for a few quick glimpses, I don't remember my childhood at all.

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I'm so thankful for this place on the internet. The Dao Bums always come through with insightful and comforting input. Here's some more details on where I find myself now. I'll be turning 50 next year, I still have a kid in preschool, I need to keep my income level as high or higher than it already is, and I have been a software developer my entire career (a field that requires constant retraining). So, you might say that I'm screwed on all accounts of ever attaining enlightenment. There will be no going off into the forest for me.

 

I'm not complaining, though, this is simply a challenge that I need to work through. I'm not one that gives up easily. The toughest part is that I've lost interest in running the rat race. When I look at what other people do within my company, like project management or product management (things I could easily shift to), it doesn't seem any more appealing so I just stay put. I still consider myself a creative person, but I'm not sure how true that is anymore. I never intended to write software for a living. I got a degree in Computer Engineering because I was interested in the electronics, but there was always more opportunities to do software. Now it seems like I've hit a wall, and according to the article I'm right on schedule.

 

Well, I guess I should just put my big boy pants on now and get back to work...

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52 minutes ago, escott said:

I'm so thankful for this place on the internet. The Dao Bums always come through with insightful and comforting input. Here's some more details on where I find myself now. I'll be turning 50 next year, I still have a kid in preschool, I need to keep my income level as high or higher than it already is, and I have been a software developer my entire career (a field that requires constant retraining).

I’m a software guy too. As I’m aging I find my ability to elicit interest in these “fields” to be very very hard. 

52 minutes ago, escott said:

So, you might say that I'm screwed on all accounts of ever attaining enlightenment. There will be no going off into the forest for me.

No need to go to the forest. I find that just becoming less attached (start with material stuff, then emotions, ideas, concepts and eventually relationships) helps.

 

Also, enlightenment doesn’t happen to the person. So you’re okay, imho :) 

 

52 minutes ago, escott said:

 

I'm not complaining, though, this is simply a challenge that I need to work through. I'm not one that gives up easily. The toughest part is that I've lost interest in running the rat race.

Let it not be a race. I find it useful to inquire, “how much is enough for me?” 

 

I find that if we live with total surrender, then something always works out. 

 

Its been that that way for me since as long as I can remember. Even in the darkest hours, when I sincerely pray for help, for direction and guidance, it appears.

 

I think it’s the same for all us. We just need the conviction that whatever happens does so for the it’s the way it is meant to be.

 

 

 

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It's a disaster, I can't imagine how many old people are living in pain, some in nursing homes being physically abused by the staff, or worse.   It is truly disgusting.

The destruction of the family, extended and nuclear was a disaster.

People kill themselves to earn plastic money, no longer backed by the gold standard, which is totally imaginary, and then buy things that they don't need, that aren't healthy for them, and are of extremely low quality mass produced ... for ridiculous prices, in order to keep up with their friends, who are all in ill health and are superficial and soulless anyway.

What insanity.

The laziness and stupidity is bred into you when young, you expect to have things too easily, and as a consequence it becomes much tougher.

Health is not something not optional and not something somebody else does to you, you must develop expertise.

And correct understanding of money as well ... see rich dad poor dad.

Downsizing your vanity is a good long-term direction ... meanwhile keep going to work and pretend you are like everyone else.

Except at home you are frugal wise and experienced.

Cultivate wise life choices and learn to like them.

Learn to dislike the taste of the fraudulent consumerism, in which people live miserably but have saccharin smiles.

In Asia I have seen 90 year olds in great shape working all day and night.

In the West ... people are old and dumb at 50, it's just too much for those born with silver spoons in their mouths.

If you are willing to work and are not chosey there is always some kind of work, or way to live.

The wolves are everywhere so you must be wise.

Spiritual practice is also not options, and not some happy huggy thing, do it diligently.

Certainly it is worth trying to be guided by God, through law of attraction and such philosophies they are worth trying seriously.

And if not ... perhaps life will be more painful than necessary.
Many just stare at their phones and don't notice one way or the other.

But great men have lived on this planet.

Personally I worked very hard paid of my mortgage on my not-excessive apartment and now rent out two rooms, and I could live forever on the income as I live lightly.   I force myself to do difficult things frequently, on maintenance, on banking, on spirituality, on this and that ... because I know that they day I am too afraid to do difficult things will be the beginning of a nosedive.   I must keep sharp, stay fit healthy alert, and well maintained, as much as it is possible.

And why not, that is simply a good life.

 

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@rideforever I don't disagree with much of what you said. It's just that I made my bed and now i have to sleep in it (until I wake up).

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9 hours ago, escott said:

.So, you might say that I'm screwed on all accounts of ever attaining enlightenment. There will be no going off into the forest for me.

 

 

 

 

…..and yet, you are hanging out in a forum that has much to do with enlightenment. :)

 

If your life is chuck full of activity, that is the path of Karma Yoga.  One can achieve enlightenment via this route.  The challenge is to do everything in front of you as mindfully as you can - and develop that sense of awareness where you realize that you're not really who you appear to be.  Silence the mind; to learn this can take years.  You have the opportunity every single day of being an enlightened human being, of transcending your "normal mortal" viewpoint, and being in the awareness of the communal awareness of everyone who has the ability to transcend.  Enlightenment is just to be able to do this better and better.  And the most vital part of enlightenment is not to read all you can possibly get your hands on, but to actually pare down those parts of you that no longer serve a purpose.  Things like your judgment-meter, the resident cynic, the boastful man, the overbearing spouse, the egomaniacal dweller within our own little universes.  Until one trains the mind to think as we want it to think, it will be only trial and error for a long time - but so worthy to aspire to.   Once our vision is at a higher place on the hill, away from judgment or cynicism, we will notice that our life circumstances will now reflect more of a simplicity, a balance; whereas before, one may be manifesting their own chaos without ever realizing that they're the ones doing it.  

 

Energy follows thought.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/5/2019 at 8:01 PM, manitou said:

…..and yet, you are hanging out in a forum that has much to do with enlightenment. :)

 

"I’m not giving up on implausible dreams"

 

This song has always resonated with me, I know the lyrics by heart - The Enemy Within by Rush (Part I of Fear).

 

Things crawl in the darkness
That imagination spins
Needles at your nerve ends
Crawl like spiders on your skin

 

Pounding in your temples
And a surge of adrenaline
Every muscle tense —
To fence
The enemy within

 

I’m not giving in
To security under pressure
I’m not missing out
On the promise of adventure
I’m not giving up
on implausible dreams —
Experience to extremes —
Experience to extremes

 

Suspicious-looking stranger
Flashes you a dangerous grin
Shadows across your window —
Was it only trees in the wind?

 

Every breath a static charge —
A tongue that tastes like tin
Steely-eyed outside —
To hide
The enemy within…

 

To you — is it movement or is it action?
Is it contact or just reaction?
And you — revolution or just resistance?
Is it living, or just existence?
Yeah, you — it takes a little more persistence
To get up and go the distance…

 

Source: https://www.rush.com/songs/the-enemy-within/

 

Edited by escott
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What great lyrics.  A snapshot of fears brought on by our thoughts.  But thoughts that are eradicated as soon as the Oneness is recognized.

 

I'm still waiting for that suspicious-looking stranger flashing me a dangerous grin  :ph34r:

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