Living in Florida requires me to learn about hurricanes. As many of us know, a hurricane in the Northern Hemisphere rotates in a counterclockwise direction. Also, if one was to look down on the hurricane from above, the area of the hurricane (traveling North) that can potentially do the most damage is the Northeastern quadrant. Here the winds are at their highest and most destructive as we all saw with Hurricane Irma.
Now let’s change gears a bit and look at our life. My Guatemalan friend, Oscar Garcia shared with me his view of life in a simple diagram and I have taken his idea and added to it.
Here ya go:
Our lives are divided up into four main quadrants. And let’s say for example that we believe we will live to be 100 years old. So, the first quadrant encompasses years 0 to 25 years of age. The second quadrant is from 25 to 50 years of age. The third quadrant is from 50 to 75 years of age and the fourth quadrant is from 75 to 100 years of age.
Each quadrant is characterized by a primary focus that people in that quadrant are striving to achieve. For instance, those people in quadrant one (age 0 to 25) are focused primarily on Learning. From learning to walk, years spent in school pursuing a degree and also learning about life and the skills needed for living. That is the focus of Quadrant one.
Quadrant two people (25 to 50) are primarily focused on Earning. People in this age quadrant have completed the majority of their schooling and are putting that knowledge to use in the workplace making money. This is the group that also begins to use their earnings to buy stuff like homes, cars as well as investing and saving. Earning money is the primary focus of people in this group.
I’ll come back to Quadrant three…
Quadrant four people (75 to 100) are Returning. They have lived a full life (good and bad) and are focused on returning their knowledge, their time, their assets to those they love and causes they care about. They value giving back and giving of themselves. These and the people of Quadrant four.
Now for the Quadrant three people. These people, (50 – 75 assuming the person lives to be 100) are potentially the most damaging…to themselves and potentially to others. The primary focus of people in this group is Yearning. They are in a season of reflection. They are looking at their lives with “new eyes” and beginning to deal with new challenges that many resist. They are beginning to experience the aches and pains of their aging bodies. They are beginning to suffer relationally as couples experience the “empty nest syndrome.” They are beginning to experience a workplace where they are no longer relevant and valuable. They are beginning to reap the rewards of good financial management or suffer the pains and anxiety of bad financial decisions from earlier years. The view ahead is sometimes overshadowed by a longing to go back and change the decisions they made years before. This is the primary focus of people in Quadrant three, the yearning to go back and have a “do over.” This is why this period has the potential to be so damaging.
So what is one to do?
First, is to realize that all people must go through all four quadrants. Don’t get hung up on the age ranges, they will change, but instead, try to understand and embrace the quadrant that you are in and try to make the most of it.
So if you are in Quadrant one. My advice to you is to learn! Learn everything you can learn about utilizing all of your skills and talents. Don’t waste these years! Go as far as you can go scholastically and immerse yourself in learning. Begin to explore ways people will pay for the knowledge and skills you naturally possess. Don’t worry about making mistakes! Make many of them now and learn from all of them!
Quadrant two people need to have a plan. Make sure your plan involves discipline. You are in your prime earning years and without discipline, our culture will rob you of your future and your finances by appealing to your short term desires! Find ways of investing your earnings. Millionaires are made by investments, not by savings!
Quadrant three people need to focus. They can’t change their past…but they still have time to impact their future. They need to accept where they might be in life and focus on what their next step needs to be. They need to make “smart choices” in all areas of life. They need to invest in things that will provide for them long term. That can range from investments to relationships and the community involvement. Take off the mask and let other’s see the real you.
Quadrant four people need to share. Share time. Share knowledge. Spend time with those you love. Share yourself and make it a point not to leave any question unanswered or conversation un-had. Ask good questions of those you love. Have meaningful conversations. Make it a point to make each moment of every day count.
You see, I’m currently living in Quadrant three. It’s tough. It seems like every day I’m trying to play catch up…or trying to keep up! But I’m determined not to give up. Tough is fine for now…giving up or giving in is not an option. Quadrant three “can be destructive.” It’s where the strongest winds are. These winds can do damage if you get in their way and are not prepared, or they can propel you forward…if you are correctly positioned and prepared.
Yep, hurricanes have taught me a lot recently. I certainly respect them and am aware of the damage they can do. But if you have a plan and take action at the appropriate time, chances are you’ll come out just fine…even if you’re on the Northeastern quadrant.