Are You Ready for Your Next Transition?
Life’s transitions come at you more often than you might think. And when you’re transitioning to retirement, you may be dealing with other life transitions simultaneously, such as becoming an empty nester or relocating. Author Bruce Feiler’s new book reveals interesting data points on various types of life transitions and how often they tend to occur. Based on 225 interviews with people from all walks of life, Feiler details the common types of transitions – Disruptors and Lifequakes – and examines how they arise, involuntarily, and voluntarily. Best of all, the second half of the book outlines valuable tools you can use to manage transitions effectively.
Bruce Feiler is a master storyteller and this book is a pleasure to read. Most important, it’s a Gamechanger. It’s a paradigm shift that will reframe how you view the transition into retirement life.
We talk with Bruce Feiler about:
- What inspired him to write Life Is In The Transitions
- Why we expect life to unfold in a linear fashion, yet it is inherently non-linear
- What surprised him in the data that emerged from the interviews
- How Disruptors become Lifequakes
- Why we resist transitions
- How creativity can be useful in transitions
- How this can be used in education, so it’s not always ‘learned the hard way’
- His advice for people transitioning to retirement, perhaps earlier than planned
Bruce Feiler is one of America’s most popular voices on contemporary life. He is the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers; the presenter of two prime-time series on PBS; and the inspiration for the drama Council of Dads on NBC. Bruce’s two Ted Talks have been viewed more than two million times. Employing a firsthand approach to his work, Bruce is known for living the experiences he writes about. His work combines timeless wisdom with timely knowledge turned into practical, positive messages that allow people to live with more meaning, passion, and joy. His new book, LIFE IS IN THE TRANSITIONS: Mastering Change at Any Age, describes his journey across America, collecting hundreds of life stories, exploring how we can navigate the growing number of life transitions with greater purpose and skill.
For more than a decade, Bruce has explored the intersection of families, relationships, health, and happiness. His book The Secrets of Happy Families collects best practices from some of the country’s most creative minds. The Council of Dads describes how, faced with one of life’s greatest challenges, he asked six friends to support his young daughters. The book was profiled in PEOPLE, USA Today, and Time and was the subject of a CNN documentary hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Since 2001, Bruce has been one of the country’s preeminent thinkers about the role of spirituality in contemporary life. Walking The Bible describes his 10,000-mile journey retracing the Five Books of Moses through the desert. The book spent a year and a half on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into fifteen languages.
Bruce Feiler has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and Gourmet, where he won three James Beard Awards. He is a frequent commentator on radio and television. A former circus clown, he has been the subject of a Jay Leno joke and a JEOPARDY! question, and his face appears on a postage stamp in the Grenadines.
A native of Savannah, Georgia, Bruce lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Linda Rottenberg, and their identical twin daughters.
On Life Transitions
“…there has not been a book on life transitions, a major book in 40 years. Like this is a concept that we have expelled from our culture. And a lot of what I’ve been believing for years is that we need to do is kind of re-understand and re-embrace the idea of a life transition as a meaningful way to get through a change in your life. And then, as I said, now, suddenly it’s urgent and everybody realizes, Oh my gosh, I’m going through this. I need help.”
On Involuntary and Voluntary Life Transitions
“So I went into it thinking that most of these transitions would be something happened to you, right? You got a diagnosis, you were laid off, you lost her limbs. You got cancer. Because a lot of the ones that inspired me were things that happened to me. It turns out that again, I was wrong. 53% of our life transitions are involuntary, but 47% are voluntary. And I’m guessing people who are listening to this conversation can relate to that right in retirement. They say, Finally, I’m going to make the change, right? I’m an empty nester now, right? I’ve either put the kids or mostly put the kids through college or I want to move, or I want to bike more or right. Open up an Airbnb or travel more, whatever these are, these are still like quakes. These are still big life changes, but we initiate them.”
On Disruptors & Lifequakes
“…we go through more changes of a wider variety of aspects of our lives over a much wider span in our lives than most people anticipate. So I tallied up all of the changes that people experience in their lives. And I came up with three dozen. So that’s one life change every 12 to 18 months, but most of these are small and most of these, we get them. So I call this a Disruptor – and I called it a Disruptor because I didn’t like the other language that was out there. The other language that is out there was things like stressor or crisis. But as I said, some of these are wonderful, like getting married is a disruptor, having a child is a disruptor, getting a pet can be a disruptor. Moving can be a disruptor, retiring can be a disruptor. And again, most of these we get through. So that’s one disruptor every 12, 18 months. And by the way, that’s more often than many people see a dentist, but one in 10 of those becomes a Lifequake and it’s a massive life change. So why is it? And so that’s three to five times in our lives. And by the way, the average length of time to navigate this is five years. So you think we go through three to five, they take four or five years. That’s 25 years. That’s half of our adult lives.”
For More on Bruce Feiler
Bruce Feiler’s website
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