Monday, November 17, 2014

Getting older - being less frightened and happier is terrific but it does have downsides

Lucy Kellaway wrote an article in the FT entitled: "Losing fear can be liberating but dangerous." If you are a FT subscriber, here is the link. 

As usual, it is a hilarious and recounts how she spent most of her early work life in a state of worry and fear of being 'found out'.

She believes that the downside to this decreasing level of fear is...
it makes you both complacent and overconfident. These traits are more of a liability the higher up the ladder you go; if you are running a business and are scared of nothing, you are dangerous and should be removed from office at once before something bad happens.
I think she is bang on with her observation. There is nothing worse than watching an older person coasting on the perceived value of their accumulated experiences. Sure these can be invaluable, but times move on and it is vital to keep an objective view of your value.

At the same time as the FT article there was a paper in the Wharton blog suggested that the nature of happiness changed with age. Time and experiences becoming far more important than material possessions.

Bringing the two articles together - I guess you could say that the fear of health and financial problems replace the work related issues. 

So maybe there is some universal law that states that "fear remains constant throughout our lives but the reasons for it change".

As marketers we should always be interested in the emotional factors that appear to change with age. Most of the time I think that elaborate theories based on ageing and psychology are worthless but maybe these two examples illustrate that there are some things that provide us with marketing leverage when appealing to the older consumer. Dick Stroud

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