In life, we start out simply absorbing our surroundings and those who live in them. As we grow, we begin to question these phenomena. Once the questioning starts, it continues for the remainder of our lives. There are always more questions than answers.

Recently I attended a chat about Alternative Energy and its effect on the Earth, in times of global warming. The presenter started by laying out his curriculum vitae. He certainly has been a widely travelled and successful “business man in many countries. He closed the discussion on his life by saying, “I have realised all my dreams and ambitions, I am completely self-actualised”.

This statement shocked me to the core. In my opinion, if I ever reach this stage I have either lost my imagination, or am dead. I say this because, in my opinion, without a goal or purpose to life, life itself, has no value.  This, apparent, absence of purpose was the initiating kick which resulted in the production of our book “The Next Step: Planning the Road through Retirement”.

As a retired soldier I kept an eye on the lives of my peers. I found that a significant number of them reached the age of 60-65, retired and, within a couple of years, had departed this mortal coil. Investigation indicated that there was no direct contribution to these premature deaths and I eventually decided they were due to a loss of purpose – they had nothing further to live for!

Somewhere out there is a statistic which states that if you reach the age of 60 there is a 72% chance of living to the age of 83. This is a direct result of changing eating and exercise habits, combined with advances in medical knowledge and the array of medications available.

To me, the presence of a purpose is what gets me out of bed each morning. When I retired, we invested our pension in a coffee shop. After 9 years, we had seen one profitable year and were some R 3.6 million poorer. We closed the shop, reviewed the situation and came to the conclusion that we needed to supplement our savings with a business.

This time, things would be different, we would get our business to work for us, rather than we work for the business. We had contacts in the hospitality industry and a good reputation for the quality of our business while it was operating. We were asked if we would bake cakes for a coffee shop which had found its baking efforts to be unprofitable. We agreed and started making cakes for sale.

It has taken us 18 months to realise our (original) monthly revenue target every week! We work daily to deliver almost 100 items weekly, and do all the work ourselves. We now work every day meeting the “sweet tooth” needs of our customers. Because the business keeps us occupied most days we are restricting our customer base to ensure we do not reach “burn out”.

You must have a purpose to your life, which you enjoy, is productive, forces you to exercise self- discipline and allows you to measure and record your daily performance. The performance measurement shows you how valuable you and your abilities are in your society, your guide to your self-worth.

Try it and see the difference in yourself, I promise you will!!!!!

In closing, NEVER do anything you don’t enjoy, whatever you choose must generate pleasure.