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1.4. Phase 2: adulthood to maturity (20-40)

1.4.1. Introduction

This phase has been called the "rollercoaster" and the "high-speed low-wisdom" phase. It could also be called the "make or break" phase of your life. Your personality is established and your basic education is in place. You will leave home and are now in control of your own life. You will almost certainly choose a life partner / spouse and have children. This is also the phase when your income rises at the fastest rate - provided you follow the tried and tested "rules of the game". The "rules" are:

- Choose your career with care.

- Undertake one career and become accomplished at it.

- Undertake lifelong continuing education.

- Choose your life partner with care.

- Nurture your health and family life.

- Underspend.

- Insure your life only

- Take on debt, but with much thought.

- Do not bow to peer pressure.

1.4.2. Choose your career with care

Analyze your personality profile carefully (or have it done professionally), acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, and match them with your career. A career is an employee-position (e.g. a bank employee), a profession (e.g. a lawyer) or a business (e.g. manufacturing plastic products, including vuvuzelas). Because this is probably the most important decision of your life, and it will occupy you for 40+ years, it must resonate with your passion/s.

1.4.3. Undertake one career and become accomplished at it

Assuming you have discovered your passion, undertake one career and have as a goal to be the best at it. Because you are not able to manufacture more time, and because you have one quantity of energy, focus all your attention on your one career and be jealous of your time. In this phase of your life you will be tempted to coach rugby and serve on the school board; these deserving activities divert your attention. Put them off until phase three when you will have the time.

If you are an entrepreneur with your own business, you are by definition a risk-taker. Take risk only in this phase because you can make up losses, a luxury which you do not have later in life.

If your career is, for example, a bank employee, set your sights high because you can do exceptionally well financially as an employee. Remember the following:

- The job must accord with your abilities and personality.

- Do not for a moment think that you do not have risk; risk exists in that you can lose your employment.

- It is advisable to regard your job as a one-man (your) business and that your salary is the settlement of an invoice you issued to your employer for services rendered by you. This will make you serious about your job.

- Respect your owner-employer; s/he is the principal risk-taker in the business.

- Because you have to be at work in any case, work diligently, be punctual, go the extra mile, find solutions to problems, and be a team-player.

1.4.4. Undertake lifelong continuing education

Your education does not end with obtaining a first degree or diploma. Your career requires investment in all its aspects, in the form of formal (further degrees, diplomas) and non-formal education. The latter entails being a good listener of the opinions of others who are more experienced, reading and travel. Your goal should be to be the most informed of any person in the industry. General knowledge, gained from wide reading of non-fiction, makes you an engaging person, which is an essential ingredient of success in your business / job and your personal life.

Read only non-fiction in this phase (fiction can enjoyed when you have achieved your FSG), i.e. stay up to date with developments pertaining to your career and with your country and world developments. Observe and understand your world. Engage in dialectical interaction. This means debating, which must always be non-confrontational: stating a thesis (hypothesizing), listening to an offered anti­thesis, and synthesizing a new thesis. This is true open-minded learning and makes you an engaging conversationalist.

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