Are you prepared for retirement? As a nation, our citizenry is getting older and older. At the turn of the century the average person lived less than three years after he retired. Now the average is more than five times that, and the typical 50-year-old of today will probably have twenty-plus years in retirement.

We are living longer, but, unfortunately, too many people are not preparing for longer life. There are several things we need to do. We need to be preparing more rigorously for a financially secure retirement. We also need to prepare ourselves from a health standpoint, and if we expect to maintain both physical and emotional health, mental preparation is essential to the enjoyment of our latter years.

To begin preparing I suggest that you learn the definition of two words: idleness and leisure.

My trusty 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary says that idleness is “abstinence from labor or employment; the state of doing nothing; aversion to labor; reluctance to be employed or to exertion, either of body or mind; sloth; sluggishness.” Idleness is often the effect of laziness and sometimes this word may be used for it.

Leisure is “freedom from occupation or business; vacant time; time free from employment or convenience of time.” There are few people today who would disagree with the fact that all of us need some leisure or time for ourselves to relax, enjoy life and literally do nothing. However, we need to explore carefully what the implications of too much leisure or idleness itself might bring.

An anonymous writer makes this observation: No one has a right to live in idleness and expect to live long and be happy. The ship anchored in the harbor rots faster than the ship crossing the ocean. A still pool of water stagnates more rapidly than a running stream. Our unused muscles atrophy much more rapidly than those in use. The unused cells in our brains deteriorate much faster than those which are continually exercised. Hence, to remain in good enough condition to enjoy our longer life we must remain active.

Insurance statistics clearly reveal that when people retire, unless they have new activities which will keep them busy doing something of value, their life span is substantially shortened, so enjoy some leisure time but be careful about idleness. Make sure you know the difference.


A talented author and speaker, Zig Ziglar has an appeal that transcends barriers of age, culture, and occupation. Since 1970, he has traveled over five million miles across the world delivering powerful life improvement messages, cultivating the energy of change. Since 1970, an extensive array of Ziglar audio, video, books, and training manuals have been utilized by small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, U.S. Government agencies, churches, school districts, prisons, and non-profit associations...

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