Peter Drucker is one of my heroes. Soon I will be adding him to the gallery of Thought Leaders. Here are his Ten Principles as described by Bob Buford. These have been pivotal for me over the years. Some of these have resonated more strongly than others at different times in my life.

  1. Find out who you are.
  2. Reposition yourself for full effectiveness and fulfillment.
  3. Find your existential core.
  4. Make your life your endgame.
  5. Planning doesn’t work.
  6. Know your values.
  7. Define what finishing well means to you.
  8. Know the difference between harvesting and planting.
  9. Good intentions aren’t enough; define the results you want.
  10. Recognize the downside to “no longer learning, no longer growing.”

Right now #4 is at the top of the list.

Make your life your endgame.

“The only worthy goal is to make a meaningful life out of an ordinary one, Drucker declared. He recommends setting one’s sights on achievements that really matter, that will make a difference in the world, and to set them far enough ahead of current achievements that the journey will be demanding but worth the effort…”

However, instead of feeling happily challenged by this call to action, I was irritated. I experienced some cognitive dissonance. I used to resonate with this, especially setting goals that will make a difference in the world and along the way require a fair amount of effort. As I moved into the second half of my life this rang a lot of bells, got me thinking about the future. I would set goals and rack up a list of achievements. After all, who wants to be ordinary?

Now, in the third third of my life—I do!

An ordinary day can be incredibly rich in meaning. Ordinary life offers whole vistas of meaning. At the same time, goals need to be downsized to match diminished resources.

This got me thinking. Perhaps I need to reflect on each of the Ten Principles. How can these be described in ways that are more resonant with the third third of life, the evening not the afternoon?  Maybe it’s time to compose the Ten Principles for Finding Meaning in the Evening of Life from Peter Drucker and Peggy Flynn.

Here goes #4:

“The only worthy goal is to immerse oneself in life and love each and every day. Having realistic, achievable goals, both short and long-term, is vital to one’s health on every level. Savoring the ordinary blesses a world that can always use a blessing. Small has a beauty all its own.”