La Divina Commedia (4) Creating the life and career you love in the Second Half of Life By Peter de Kuster with Falco Valkenburg Re-Writing Old Myths The Journey of Michelangelo Old Myth: Age. Perception versus Reality You are never too old to do something. Age obstacles are always due to the myth that age is somehow indicative of physical condition, mental acquity, wisdom, maturity and other necessary trait. Michelangelo found age a meaningless factor. He re-‐invented himself many times. From sculptor of for example the David to painter of the Sistine Chapel to the architect of the Dome of Saint Peter. And worked happily ever after until 9 days before his death in his late eighties.
Michelangelo worked until 9 days before his death. In his late eighties. If you want you can find your own role models who defied age and created a life and business they loved at a later age. Be inspired and learn about their strategies. Most of all learn about the stories they told themselves to remove your inner barrier of ‘age’. Old Myth: Money. A Story of Choice Money can transform a strenuous uphill climb of creating a love and work you love into a leisurely stroll. But you probably suspected that already. After all you’re reading this guide because you feel money is an obstacle to your Divina Commedia. Well. We have good news and bad news.
First the bad news: Money really does matter. A lot. No amount of great storytelling is going to change that. Money may not buy you happiness… but it sure helps. A lack of money can bring you unhappiness, both through physical deprivations – not having enough food, clothing or shelter – and psychological pain – not measuring up to standards of success. Let’s be honest. Money can buy you things, which in turn provide temporal joy if not happiness. It may not be able to buy you health, but it can get you the best medical care. It may not be able to buy you love, but it certaintly makes it easier to get dates. And although money may not automatically give you the life of your dreams, it does make the journey there a lot more manageable.
Michelangelo was a good businessman who earned a lot of money throughout his career. It bought him the financial freedom to create.
Now the good news. Of the twelve general mythes to your Divina Commedia , money is actually the easiest to overcome. Sound’s crazy. Most think the opposite is the case. That money is the toughest barrier. It’s not. Let us explain. Overcoming money obstacles is a matter of choice. After meeting our most rudimentary requirements for food, clothing and shelter, everything else we spend is by choice. And your money choices aren’t just about spending either. You’ve a great deal of control over your revenu stream as well. Granted, your control over your income isn’t total, as is with your expenses, but it’s greater than most initially believe. What do you do with the furniture which doesn’t fit in your new home? You sell it or you stall it?
Maybe you turned down freelance work because you didn’t want to work in the weekend. Could you work a parttime job aside. Savings in a bank account aren’t earning as much for you as say in a Apple stock – the pc you use every day remember? We don’t think you need to experience pain to overcome your money obstacles. But you will need to make choices. That’s why the important things to focus on now is that you really do have control over money. Turn your money decisions into conscious choices, not reflexive acts, and you’ll be in the right story to overcome your money obstacles.
Old Myth: Duration. Testdrives, Mentors and Shortcuts Today, instant gratification isn’t fast enough. We’re used to getting our shoes made while we wait, our packages delivered overnight to anywhere in the world. We pay at the pump. It’s no wonder then that so many people worry about how long it will take them to create a life and work they love. That’s particularly true for people whose Divina Commedia takes them in an entirely new direction. After all, if you’ve been a financial marketeer for twenty years and are planning to become a travel writer, it appears as if you need to go back to square one. And that would mean mean you’ll need at least several years, just to get to the level in your new field that you’ve already achieved on your current path. Any additional training just makes the time needed appear even more daunting. But there are a couple of things you probably not factoring into your time estimates. IT NEVER TAKES AS LONG AS YOU THINK To begin with, there are ways to shortcut . You make testdrives in your dreamjobs with mentors who are already successful in what you think is
your dreamjob. They can give you honest feedback as to whether you have what it takes for this kind of business and also give you directions as to shortcuts in developing your business.
In fact. You are more mature and wise today then you were when you started your first act. That maturity and wisdom will speed up your second career. It’s like the difference between a first trip into a city of Florence and a second. The first time you travel here you don’t know what to expect. Sure, you’ve read guidebooks but that’s no replacement for actually being there. The second trip you’ve learned what you like to do and are more relaxed about the experience. On your first trip you spend lots of time and money. By the second you use your resources much more efficiently.
Believe us: your Divina Commedia will not take as long as you think. We’re not saying it will happen overnight. It will probably not be the long ordeal you fear. It certainly won’t take you just as long to get as far as in your first career.
It’s difficult to determine ahead of time exactly how much time you’ll save by making testdrives in your dreamjobs. When you can enlist mentors like Michelangelo did in his time – especially when they are powerful individuals like de Medici – you may be able to trim the time you’ll need to invest dramatically. Ofcourse there are some situations that simply can’t be sped up. Your goal should be to make the time required manageable, not to make it disappear entirely. Give yourself a chance to enjoy the journey. You’re every right to pause, if not stop, to savor a cup of coffee in Gilli at Piazza della Reppublica in Florence. You’re on the path to the life of your dreams, so the scenery will be thrilling.
Old Myth: Physical Condition: Just Do It Do you think you’re too short, or your nose is too big, or you don’t have enough hair, or you weigh too much? If a certain physical condition isn’t required for your second career, yet you’re afraid your own physical condition will be an obstable, you have a body image problem. If a certain physical condition is required for your second career, and you don’t measure up, you have a body problem. We encourage everybody to do whatever you need to fix either of these obstacles. Once you’ve been able to start living the life of your dreams you will see that your attitude toward yourself changes. You start to feel good. You start to see yourself as a person of worth, a valuable individual, worthy of love and respect and admiration. Maybe your physical problem is all in your head.
Perhaps it came from some youth experience. We don’t know. What we do know is that once you change your life, the poor story you tell yourself that lies at the heart of your mistaken body image will be improved, and you’ll start to see yourself as a beautiful successful human being.
Is your second career a physical impossibility? Physical condition is the one barrier that potentially could be insurmountable. Certain second careers, by their very nature require specific physical characteristics. Like flexible arms and fingers with a long reach for massage. On the other hand, some dreams may be very difficult, due to physical obstacles, but aren’t necessarily impossible. For example just because you’re overweight, or balding, doesn’t mean you can’t go on a stage to inspire people. Not only could you change your condition but alternatively you could pursue opportunities to reach out with your story to people with the same obstacle. People have an innate sense about where to draw the line between what’s impossible and what’s difficult, but possible. If you’ve gotten this far in the travel guide of Florence with a goal that’s a physical impossibility, it means one of three things. Perhaps you don’t really want to succeed at your second career, and as a result, have chosen a goal you know can’t be
reached. Maybe you’re in deep denial about your own physical limitations. Or, it could be that you really haven’t done a good job of getting past inner obstacles and telling yourself a story which will give you the energy and determination you need to pursue your dream. If you discover that there are options to overcome physical barriers don’t create new problems for you, that’s great. Throw out the ice cream and head over to the gym. If, however, your efforts to overcome your physical obstacles will create or increase money or duration barriers, don’t worry. You can tackle those as well. If you want your dream so much that you’re ready to change your physical characteristics, you’ve clearly got the determination to overcome anything.
Old Myth: Consent and support. How much do you need? Amazing how people remain hungry for other’s approval, no matter their age or level of success. Unless you truly need another’s consent or support in order for your second career to succeed – say you need a partner to pick up the slack with
child care – getting it isn’t essential. Sure, it would be nice if everyone you care about, and everyone whose opinion you value, agreed with everything you were doing and was pulling for you to succeed. Unfortunately, human relations aren’t that simple or straight forward. People who love you may, because they honestly disagree with you, or because it fills some psychological need in them, refuse to support your efforts. Support is nice, it is not a requirement. Michelangelo’s family was ashamed of his choice to become an sculptor which was not highly valued in their social circles. If you let nonessential consent and support deter you from your Divina Commedia, you’ve no one to blame but yourself. This is your life, not theirs. Do you want to be happy and live the life of your dreams? If so, you’ve to stand up for yourself and go for it. You want to lead your life, the one that resonates deep within you, not the life others think you should lead.
Old Myth: Education is Overrated The importance of formal education is overrated. Perhaps because we are too far removed from the time when Michelangelo learned everything on the job from his mentors/rolemodels/heroes who went before him and were successful. Do we need a degree to be a successful entrepreneur? No we don’t.
We are not saying a theoretical background and historical knowledge aren’t helpful to launching your Divina Commedia, only that they are not as important as practical experience. To a large extent the need for education isn’t itself an obstacle, but the cause of other obstacles, particularly money and duration. You’ll have greater success at trying to mitigate rather than working to eliminate, education obstacles. Do all you can to minimize how much education you need or to discover shortcuts. Then, spend the bulk of your time working at eliminating any resulting money and duration obstacles. Old Myth: Timing and Location: Create Your Own Legend Do you believe there is a best time for you to lauch your second career? Maybe you’re a professional with a working partner and two children in high school and you’re thinking about starting a business. But you’re hesistant because you don’t think now is the right time. You’re waiting for the stars in the sky in Florence to all line up perfectly. You will think that will happen in six years when your children are both out of school and your partner will be ready for retirement.
Perhaps you think there’s only one place from where you can start your new life. It could be that you’re a consultant living in the Netherlands whose dream is to write. You think you cannot achieve your Divina Commedia because the only place where writers can have inspiration for their art and being noticed is in Italy. You’re divorced and share custody of your children, making a move problematic. Both reactions sound reasonable and mature. But if you take this approach to your second career, you’ll probably never succeed. Why? Because you’re not taking responsibility for your own success. There are better, but no best times Thinking the timing isn’t right for launching a Divina Commedia is very common… and it’s always an internal rather than external barrier. Yes, there could be better times than the present to change your life. Perhaps it would be easier to make a transition when your children are out of college. Maybe things will be smoother financially if you work three years for a boss and save some money before you start a business. It seems to make sense to wait for the best possible moment to launch your Divina Commedia.
But that moment doesn’t exist. There is no best moment. Yes, there may be better times. In fact, there will always be better times. … and that’s the problem. If you’re waiting for your kids to graduate, why not wait for them to get jobs, or to get their own apartments, or to get married, or to buy their own house, or to have their own kids? Waiting for the economy to rise sounds like a good idea. How high must it get for it to be high enough? The economy could always go higher and that would make your second career even easier. And, if it has a setback while you’re waiting, well, it will bounce again.
If you start waiting for a better time, you’re apt to keep on waiting. Wait on the possibility of improved circumstances, and you’ll wait forever. There will always be a better time to launch your second career. But there will never be a best time to do it, and there is never a bad time to follow your dream. By all means do what you reasonably can to make raising the curtain as easy and painless as possible. If that means waiting until you get your bonus before leaving your job or delaying a relocation until your five year
old goes away to study, that’s fine. Just don’t look for a perfect moment. At some point, in order to launch your Divina Commedia and live the life of your dreams, you need to step out from the wings. Sure it’s a risk when you finally hit your mark and the stage lights go up. But if you don’t take that risk, you lose your chance at happiness.
We all know of people who have been waiting for a perfect opportunity to come around, and who have, in the process, frittered away their lives. It may be the graying woman, always waiting for the perfect man, who now feels love has passed her by. It could be the ambitious coworker whose always been waiting for the right time to strike out on her own but never has. We don’t want you to be someone who is always waiting for your ‘real life’ to begin. We want you to live that dream life.