65 and Sinking At Work?


Are you struggling with the principle of diminishing capacity? Brian Ray shares what he's learned as he approaches the 70-year mark.

Coping with the principle of diminishing capacity

For those of us who are chronologically advanced, we are discovering that we cannot work as long and hard as we used to. 

I used to laugh when my dad needed naps.  I smiled when he had is pajamas on by 8 p.m.  Now that I am still working and about to cross the 70-year mark, I find I need more rest.

The principle of diminishing capacity

My dad and I used to discuss how to cope with remaining active with less and less energy.  We came up with the Principle of Diminishing Capacity.  It helped us both balance our decreasing physical and mental endurance and the demands and interests of day-to-day living. 

On one side of the equation, it is important to keep on keeping on.  When my capacity begins to wane, I try to push through it. When I lift a weight to a point where I cannot do another repetition, carefully try to push one more.  Otherwise I atrophy. 

On the other side, do not push too hard and break something.  I really have to pay attention to what my body and mind is telling me.  Be on the alert.  Better to be safe than sorry. 

Three examples come to mind:

1. I started playing tennis again.  I started slowly with an instructor, until finally I thought I was ready for playing doubles in a round robin tournament.  I hurt my foot, and have not played for two months.  I should have dropped out of the tourney after the first hour.

2. For several years I have been flying to a client for half-day meetings once a quarter.  This year I am finding that I am exhausted the day after I return.  The travel plus the intensity of the meetings leaves me drained.  To accommodate my diminished capacity, I fly in earlier the day before, and I don’t book any meetings the day after the trip.

3. Most of my career has been helping organizations recruit leaders for the right roles.  I would network, review resumes, interview and more.  Now I do not have the time and energy to do all those tasks, BUT I provide advice to my clients on what to do.  I am switching from service to advice and counsel. 

Good stewardship

Be a faithful steward of all that the Lord gives me.   However, don’t worry about what He doesn’t give me, because I have no responsibility for things the Lord does not give me.


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