Death By Golf: Why Retirement Is a Bankrupt Industrial Age Idea

Retirement was invented by Otto von Bismarck in 1889 to get old people off the machines and out of the way. But exhaustive research now shows it’s not what it’s cracked up to be.

A 90-year study of 1,528 Americans called The Longevity Project shoots holes in the retirement dream. Turns out goofing off for the last thirty years of our lives is a really bad idea. The idea that work is leading you to an early grave is a myth. This massive study proved what some of us have been saying for years now.


Know where you’re going.

People with the most focused long-term paths in the study were the least likely to die young. Looking at the participants in the study who were in their 70s, those that had not retired were looking at much longer lives than their golfing counterparts: “The continually productive men and women lived much longer than their laid-back comrades.”

Also, those who moved from job to job without a clear progression were less likely to have long lives than those who went deep and long in a focused direction with their business lives. We call this commitment to the long term, “conation”.

Conate, You’ll Live Longer.

Conation is the most important business word you’ve never heard, but is central to a long life. We define conation as, “Committed Movement in a Purposeful Direction.”

=“It wasn’t the happiest or the most relaxed older participants who lived the longest,”= the authors write, =“It was those who were most engaged in pursuing their goals.”=

Knowing where you’re going, and being committed and focused to get there (conation), is going to make you live longer.

Conation—Committed Movement in a Purposeful Direction.

Live With Purpose, Not Just to Play.

This study doesn’t mean you need to go to work for 90 years. It means you need to rethink going out to pasture at 65 to play golf. Amusement isn’t the goal. Think of the Latin roots of that word—“a” means “without”, and “muse” means “to think”.

Amusement—something you do without your brain.

Make Meaning

A commitment to a life of retirement leisure is a great way to die sooner. You don’t have to go to work; you just need to figure out how to continue to Make Meaning, even if you’re done making money.
Retirement is a bankrupt Industrial Age idea. Live a life of significance your whole life, not just the first two thirds of it.

Conate. You’ll live longer.

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