Running Out the Clock

Posted on July 6, 2023

I’ll aim this message primarily toward those of you who are, let’s say, age 55 and older. Actually, it could apply to you regardless of your mileage. But the point I want to make is particularly germane if you’re past the midpoint of your life.

Let’s begin with this reality: As people get older, they take fewer chances.

Why is that?

  • To begin with, our brains change. When we’re young our actions are guided more by the brain’s emotional and reactive amygdala. Risk-taking behavior peaks in late adolescence. As we mature into adulthood and the prefrontal cortex develops fully, we become more risk averse.
  • Another biological fact is that we lose firepower as the years pass. Our energy level and stamina begin to fade. Taking chances is a power drain, so we’re less inclined to stretch ourselves with big ambitions.
  • Over time our lives tend to mellow, becoming more stabilized and routinized. We get comfortable. Ambition relaxes, complacency sneaks in, and we “settle” rather than take on new challenges.

Let me encourage you to fight those inclinations.

Too often we start drifting, living a repetitive day-to-day ordinariness where weeks and months go by with little to show for the time spent. We’re no longer scoring--we’re just running out the clock!

Like Pink Floyd sings in “Time”:

“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day,
Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.”

Wouldn’t you like to bring a little magic into your personal world?

Raise the stakes. Stretch yourself. Break out of your habit patterns and chase a dream you’ve been denying. It will energize you and probably add years to your life.

Maybe you’ve been telling yourself that you’re just “waiting for the right time.” Really? Make now the right time!

Take a new chance.

“The only time you run out of chances is when you stop taking them.”

—Alexander Pope


Price Pritchett is one of the foremost experts on fast-growth strategies and breakthrough performance. His firm—PRITCHETT, LP—is recognized worldwide for its thought leadership on mergers, corporate culture, change management, and accelerated achievement. These writings define the behaviors and individual mindset underlying fast growth and innovation.


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