Wisdom for Life Stages, Seasons, and Decades that Many People Go Through

Want to make a difference in the world? How can people find their unique and best contribution? There’s wisdom in undertsanding and knowing the seasons of life that are marked by the decades of our chronological age. I first heard these words of wisdom from Stan Endicott (co-author of Improv Leadership and co-founder of Slingshot Group)—

Stan says, ‘In your 20’s you discover who you are, in your 30’s you do it, in your 40’s you get really good at it, in your 50’s you train up and teach others how to do what you’ve done and in your 60’s you’re the wise old sage and you it’s then time to reinvent yourself.

That’s not to say that I haven’t heard about the seasons of life somewhere along the way earlier in my life, but it didn’t register and resonate for me until I heard it at our inaugural Thirty.Network gathering. Stan also tweeted—

How to Get the Most out of Life in Every Season

Recently, I heard about the decades and the seasons of life from Andy Wood in a Saddleback Church weekend message, as he cited Jon Tyson (author of The Intentional Father) and Harold Bullock (Wisdom of Decades)—

  • teens: prepping & preparing
  • 20s: training
  • 30s: building
  • 40s: mastering & enduring
  • 50s: harvesting & leading
  • 60s: guiding
  • 70s: imparting
  • 80s: savoring
  • 90s: preparing for death

And you can hear it directly from the original source, Harold Bullock, unpacking the Challenge of the 20s, from the Wisdom in the Decades—Maximizing Opportunity and Minimizing Pain—conference series, that can be purchased online for 75% off. Well worth the investment!

A Couple Other Renditions

Author John Maxwell in Make Today Count sunmarizes the 3 phases of life most succinctly: learn, earn, return.

Author Jon Acuff has popularized the notion of decades in his book, Start: “We spend our 20s learning, 30s editing, 40s mastering, 50s harvesting and 60s guiding.”

Executive mentor Bobb Biehl (author of Decade by Decade) declares that life is surprisingly predictable, based on his experiences over 40 years with 5,000 people. Biehl has these focus keywords for each decade of one’s life:

  • children – security
  • Teens – self
  • 20s – survival
  • 30s – success
  • 40s – significance and struggle
  • 50s – stride
  • 60s – strategic
  • 70s – succession
  • 80s – slippery
  • 90s – sleep

I’ve heard Biehl is a master of one-word focus keywords and asking the right questions, among other things. This Bobb Biehl interview on EdTalks is loaded with insights—

Wisdom about Decades on Twitter too

Living with regrets from your twenties or thirties?

For twentysomethings in that adulting season, this article has a lot of wisdom for a road map to a ‘successful’ life, depending on how you define success. But for many people, we’ve taken a wrong turn, and failed to take the time and opportunities of our 20s or 30s (or later) to live well, for whatever reason (from trauma, abuse, addiction, failures, what not). Here’s the great news: Life is not over! You can start anew. I did. It’s never too late. As long as you have breath and life, you can begin a new season and humbly ask for help, learn to get well, and find life to be meaningful and wonderful.

Related Articles Out There Elsewhere

Here’s a bunch of other articles to help you get the most out of life and I believe you’re smart enough to pick up the pattern as you read through these. I wish you live out the best version of yourself in the days and decades ahead.–the-potential-of-the-40s–50/

A lot of the advice comes from life experiences. And, here’s what one study with research data has to say:

The researchers gathered data from nearly 50,000 subjects and found a very clear picture showing that each cognitive skill they were testing peaked at a different age. For example, raw speed in processing information appears to peak around age 18 or 19, then immediately starts to decline. Meanwhile, short-term memory continues to improve until around age 25, when it levels off and then begins to drop around age 35.

For the ability to evaluate other people’s emotional states, the peak occurred much later, in the 40s or 50s.

Photo by zero take on Unsplash