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Monday, July 15, 2024

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Cultivating Courage and Grit

This post is a duplication of our newsletter, The Weekly Reset, where we review a key theme each week. In the spotlight this week: Cultivating Courage and Grit. Is courage something you though that you would need in retirement?

A note from Johann

Cultivating Courage and Grit

It takes grit and determination

The popular notion of retirement might suggest that it means sitting down and doing a lot of pleasant mind wandering. You may think that having arrived at retirement, and for the fortunate ones living on a pension, all you have to do now is watch the sunset. It could be very relaxing if this was the reality of retirement. Instead, it becomes a series of challenges that can create anxiety and much to worry about. Repeated surveys suggest retirees worry about their finances, their health and their sense of lonely isolation among other major concerns and that it really is for many, not a walk in the park.

Those of you that are doing well at it and more or less thriving in retirement have what Forbes describes as “5 Characteristics of Grit” that sustain you in this process. These are:

Courage: pointing to how you manage your fear of failure and knowing that there is learning in defeat and in success.

Conscientiousness and high drive: it refers not only to the dependability element of conscientiousness but more on the element of strong achievement motivation.

Endurance to follow thought on long-term goals: some luck, and some latent talent counts toward the success of many well-known high achievers, but for the most part, their success relies on settings goals and getting plenty of practice in their given field. 

Resilience: which includes optimism, confidence and credibility. The ability to bounce back from failure with hardiness and grit.

Excellence vs Perfection: gritty people, it says, don’t seek perfection, but strive instead for excellence 

The findings of the Forbes research are intended to define what grit and perseverance are all about for wellbeing in life in general and not specifically  in retirement. At Reset, however, we have found that much of what makes for well-being in life after leaving full-time work is not about reaching a final destination and then switching off. Instead, because of the prospect of longevity in retirement, the personality attributes and skills required are not dissimilar to those required for life before retiring. 

While according to the experts, it is difficult to change personality once the pattern of your life is established; it is possible to change your behaviour. If you feel you may lack some characteristics that might make for a productive retirement, remember that you can push yourself to adapt your behaviour and still have the benefit of wellbeing later in life.


Click here to read the whole article on Forbes

Our top pick of the week:

What I Do When I Feel Like Giving Up

Image of hand hanging over edge of wall
Image as featured in original blog post

“Research from the University of Pennsylvania has shown that grit is the characteristic linked most closely to success. I could use some grit today.

Here’s what I try to remind myself of when I feel like giving up…

Your Mind is a Suggestion Engine

Consider every thought you have as a suggestion, not an order. Right now, my mind is suggesting that I feel tired. It is suggesting that I give up. It is suggesting that I take an easier path.

If I pause for a moment, however, I can discover new suggestions. My mind is also suggesting that I will feel very good about accomplishing this work once it is done. It is suggesting that I will respect the identity I am building when I stick to the schedule. It is suggesting that I have the ability to finish this task, even when I don’t feel like.

Remember, none of these suggestions are orders. They are merely options. I have the power to choose which option I follow.

Discomfort Is Temporary

Relative to the time in your normal day or week, nearly any habit you perform is over quickly.

You Will Never Regret Good Work Once It is Done

Sometimes, the simple act of showing up and having the courage to do the work, even in an average manner, is a victory worth celebrating.

This Is Life

Life is a constant balance between giving into the ease of distraction or overcoming the pain of discipline. 

So, what do I do when I feel like giving up? I show up.

Click here to read the whole article on the James Clear Blog

Our Spotlight video:

5 Ways to Courage and Grit

Every week we highlight a topic relevant to retirement and our third chapter of life. This week our spotlight was on courage and grit. Life after full-time work can throw up some unexpected challenges at the exact time that we expect to reap the rewards of many years of effort. For this reason, we are discussing the very useful traits of grit and courage, and how we can hone and develop them to stand us in better stead now, when we really need them most. 

Click play to watch our spotlight video of the week 

Spotlight of the week

Other highlights of the week:

The 7 Superpowers of Resilience

Sunset with people

Resilience: It means having the grit to get through tough times, feeling confident in yourself and your abilities, bouncing back from adversity, and being in control of stress so that you can move forward and thrive. It has big benefits,…

1. Master Your Emotions

The ability to control your emotions under pressure is absolutely key to resilience. 

2. Defuse Super Stress

When we resort to those long-held emotional reactions, we act habitually and often impulsively—and become stressed in the process. 

3. Blast Through Problems

Become a more flexible thinker.

4. Defeat Self-Doubt

Be deliberate in recognizing what you do well; keep track of your successes, even the tiny ones. 

5. Radiate Good Vibes

Positivity breeds positivity.

6. Connect Like a Champion

Adults with strong social networks are more confident, less prone to depression, and live longer, notes Shatté. 

7. Kill it with Courage

Lastly, realize that you’re human. It’s natural to focus more on mistakes and regrets, but they’re part of life.

Click here to read the article on MeQuilibrium

Weekly Poll

Did you see retirement as your destination or do your plans for this new life phase stretch into the long-term? 

A: Retirement itself is the goal. 

B: I have long-term plans that will keep me busy for decades.

C: My long term plans stretch beyond my life-span.

Click here to answer the question in our Facebook group

Last week’s poll: Is courage something you thought you’d need in retirement?

Last week’s finding: 

54% responded – Yes, I think I’ll need courage in retirement.

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Most Popular Post of the Week

How to Thrive in the Battle of Life

Click here to read the article on Academy of Ideas

Most Popular Quote of the Week

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill

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Quote by Winston Churchill

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Johann is the founding partner of Reset Retirement where we focus on assisting people with planning for the non-financial aspects of their lives after full-time work. He had a long career in executive search and leadership as the founding partner and chairman of Heidrick & Struggles in South Africa where he was the head of the company’s board practice.