The 3 Stages of Life

Who is Sandy MacKay?

I help Canadians achieve financial freedom through real estate.

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What stage of life are you in?

If you’re like me, you grew up thinking that retirement was one of the ultimate goals in life.

Retirement meant freedom. And until retirement there was either school or work in the way of that freedom.

For nearly 30 years of my life that was how I thought life was. There wasn’t a choice around it. It just was.

Most people think of life in 3 general stages.

  1. Education Stage = First 20-30 years
  2. Working Stage = Middle 30-40 years
  3. Retirement Stage = Final 20-30 years

If you had to choose a stage out of those 3 I’m sure it would be very simple for you to choose one. You’d probably choose the working stage.

To think about life in these 3 stages is traditional, common thinking. It’s also poisonous thinking.

Yes poisonous.

And it’s not going away anytime soon.

Thinking in this traditional way is stealing your joy, your growth and your opportunities.

The Problem

Separating these stages of life is extremely dangerous to your mindset.

If the learning stage is when you get your education, that means you need to live off that first 20-30 years of education for the rest of your life.

If the working stage is when you make your money and contribute, then that means you’re not contributing in the other stages. That won’t equal happiness.

And maybe the most dangerous…If the retirement stage is when you get to be free and enjoy life, then what the heck do your first 60 years look like? Why would you want to wait to have fun in life at 60+ when you could do it in your 30s, 40s and 50s?

Traditional thinking like this is poisonous.

The Solution

Live purposefully in all 3 stages every day. Purposefully being the key word.

Without making it purposeful, you’re at high risk of falling back into traditional thinking.

You may have heard of the Be, Do Have principle.

The Be Do Have principle suggests that if we move our focus from what we have (or don’t have) to who we want to be, and align our actions with that state of being, then in time we will achieve our haves.

Most people think you need to have and then you’ll become. We say things like, “If only I had enough money then I could invest.” or “It’s easy for them, they have ____.”

Joy and happiness does not come from having something. If it did then everyone with lots of money would be happy, and we know this isn’t true. Having is only a small piece of the puzzle.

This principle blends in well with traditional thinking.

Be = learning stage
Do = working stage
Have = retirement stage

I’m not saying I don’t agree with the Be Do Have principle. Quite the opposite.

You need to work on being, doing and having everyday.

Learning, working and retiring/playing everyday.

When you make time in your daily schedule for learning, working and playing then life becomes more joyful and fulfilling. Everyday.

Thriving Thinking

Learning, working and playing everyday is thriving thinking.

It won’t always be in equal proportions everyday, although if you looked at a year in your life it should equal approximately the same amount of time for each.

If you aren’t making time for learning everyday, then you’re falling behind.

If you aren’t making time for working/earning everyday then you’re falling behind.

If you aren’t making time for retiring/playing everyday then you’re falling behind.

Each stage compliments each other and overall will make for a complete life.

One of the ways I realized this lately in my life, was that when I make more time for playing in my schedule, it makes me much happier in the learning and working parts of my life.

Without playing regularly, I’ll become more stressed and tired in my learning and working stages.

So I urge you to audit your typical schedule right now.

Where in your schedule are you making time for learning?

Where in your schedule are you making time for working/earning?

Where in your schedule are you making time for retiring/playing?

Here’s what this looks like for me most days:

Beginning 3rd of the day = Learning

  • 2-3 hours every learning/growing
  • Exercise, reading, journaling, visualization, meditation, affirmations/incantations, thinking
  • Always in active learning mode throughout the day

Middle 3rd of the day = Earning/Working

  • Growing businesses, money, people

Final 3rd of the day = Playing/Retiring

  • Schedule fun things here

That’s just a typical day for me. Yours could look much different.

Ultimately, you want to find more and more ways to include all 3 of the categories into each aspect of your life.

Your working stage should include plenty of learning and playing for example.

Each stage compliments each other. Each is critical to a joyful life.

Make sure you’re making time for them all.

Until next week! ✌🏻

– Sandy Mackay