- Changing the World One Small Act at a Time – Brad Aronson Retirement Wisdom 26:58
When people first dream of their Retirement, their thoughts are of having the time to do all the things they want to do. But eventually, many discover that a secret to a fulfilling life in Retirement is doing things for others. Our guest shares his experience and stories of others who volunteer their time to help other people, in ways both big and small. As it turns out, the small things often turn out to be big things.
Brad Aronson joins us from Philadelphia.
Brad Aronson is the author of Humankind: Changing the World One Small Act at a Time. He invests in start-up tech companies, and is passionate about serving at-risk youth. He serves on the boards of mentoring program Big Brothers Big Sisters and Hopeworks, a nonprofit that provides tech training and jobs to urban youth. He teaches entrepreneurship to inner city teens, and has every student start their own company, which has led to many adventures in business.
Previously, he founded a tech company in his bedroom that was eventually purchased by Microsoft. He also co-authored Advertising on the Internet (John Wiley). Brad lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with his wife and their son.
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On Seeing the Positive
“…a kid is driving with his grandfather and the kid says Oh my goodness, we have another red light! And the grandfather says how come you’re always complaining about the red lights and you never celebrate the green ones? And it made me think I don’t celebrate the green lights. And I feel like as a society, we often bond over complaints: The weather stinks. The Phillies are having a bad season. Whatever it is, that’s a way that we bond. If instead we looked at the positive our lives would be so much better. A key example is gratitude journals. There’s scientific research that if every day you write down three things that you’re grateful for in a book, you will be happier. Science has proven this again and again. And that’s because taking the time to remember and thinking about what we’re grateful for, obviously it’s going to help us be happier. Because we’re like many people naturally looking at the negative and on the news. We just see the negative all the time. And that’s why I love going to good news websites online because I want to celebrate the best of humanity, not just the things that are going on that are disasters.”
“First it’s a wonderful thing to do as a volunteer and work with other volunteers. It gives you purpose. It’s exciting. It’s engaging and I think the first thing I’d say is have patience. I hear from a lot of people: Oh, I reached out to a nonprofit. They didn’t call me back. Most nonprofits are stretched extremely thin, but there’s many of them, so you can reach out to a few. And and be patient and be persistent. Don’t give up. I’d also say a lot of times I hear people think that their skills aren’t translatable. So I’ve talked to people who said I’d love to mentor and be a Big Brother or a Big Sister, but I don’t know how I will relate to the kids because I have such a different upbringing. I’m deeply involved with Big Brothers & Big Sisters. You need to have love and you need to encourage them. Just try it. If you’re going to be there for someone ,you can you can be there for someone because what they need is love. And what they need is someone who’s going to pay attention, who’s going to care, who’s going to be enthusiastic about what they’re doing, be real with them and give them real advice. Start small because you don’t know if you’re actually going to enjoy it until you start.”
About Retirement Wisdom
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Joe is the author of Win the Retirement Game: How to Outsmart the 9 Forces Trying to Steal Your Joy launching on August 9th.
Intro and Outro voiceovers by Ross Huguet.