BufFini 05-8-149


What People Who REALLY Live Do Differently!



Bob Buford

Integrity Publishers, 2004, 296 pp., ISBN 1-59145-110-8


Bob Buford is founder of Leadership Network and the author of HalfTime and other books.  For this book he interviewed 120 extremely capable, high profile leaders.  He included names you would recognize, such as Peter Drucker, Roger Staubach, and Harold Stukes – for advice on living the second half of life, or Life II, as he calls it.  Many of these are people of faith.  I noted they all seemed to be highly energetic, disciplined, incurably positive, and highly influential with other people.


The most important thing about our time in history will not be technology but “for the first time...substantial...numbers of people have choices.  For the first time, they will have to manage themselves.” (Peter Drucker, Introduction)


“Odds are, you’ll live a whole adult lifetime that wasn’t available to your parents and grandparents.” Buford’s primary quest is what forty-five-year-olds need to learn to finish well.  He wanted to “find the pioneers, the pathfinders, the leaders ahead of us in this new territory.”  (Introduction) 


“The hard thing is to pray for God’s will to be done in your life, that you’ll know it when it comes, and that you’ll be strong enough to go out and follow it.” (Tom Luce, 7)


“I have no problem with money, power, fame, or status—as long as they’re treated as resources, rather than as goals in themselves.  But that’s precisely the problem for most people.” (Tom Morris, 9)


“People with a hopeful, forward-looking, confident attitude will find that things are different in their lives.  They’re upbeat, they’re more physically fit, they’re generally happier.”  “Knowing God and believing that there is a plan and purpose for our lives should fill us with joy.”  (Dallas Willard, 12,13)


 “Devote the rest of your life to doing those things which you know to be good and profitable for humanity, and that means especially for the human beings who live around you.” (Dallas Willard, 13)


“I think the critical difference between success and significance is that success has more to do with outcomes I’m in charge of, while significance has more to do with outcomes I’m not in charge of.  The beautiful thing about significance is that we resign the outcomes to God, and we let a power beyond ourselves take care of them.  Success is focused on my action, my control, my outcomes, whereas significance is found in a much larger context.  I’m not running that conte3xt, and the step of surrender is crucial because surrender allows me to release the outcome.” (Dallas Willard, 18)


“I didn’t retire; I’ve just redeployed.  For me, that’s what it means to finish well.”  “What really changed was that it went from being about me to being about others.” (Wally Hawley, 28)


“The most satisfying thing for me is the relationships.” (Jay Bennett, 32)


“I was really drawn toward the light when I began practicing the spiritual disciplines, starting each day a little more slowly, and making a clear space in my life to hear the voice of God.”  “Finishing well is a continuous process of becoming a better vessel for God’s purposes.” (Jay Bennett, 34, 35)


How do you figure out what God’s telling you?  “I listen.  Most of us are so noisy we can’t hear God’s will.”  “I listen.”  (Wilson Goode, 43)


Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is essential.  When you know who you are, you can be comfortable making decisions about what you want to do and where.  “One has to learn what to say no to.” (Peter Drucker, 47)


“Really great answers tend to close things down, while really great questions open things up.  So my basic approach to life is to collect really great questions.” (Dan Sullivan, 47)


“In order to restore some vitality and excitement in your life you must have a higher purpose.  You’ve got to pour yourself into a larger, overriding goal that will occupy your time and talents.” (Dan Sullivan, 48)


Creative retirement.  Retire from everything you dislike doing and focus on what you love doing.  (Dan Sullivan, 50)


The “core” is “the immovable center of who you really are.  It’s the equipment your Creator has issued to you—the mental, physical, and emotional tools you’ve got to work with, as well as your experiences and deepest passions.” (51)


Two things have to come together “The first is discovering that secret sauce, and the special part about you that God created....  The second is deciding how to sue it: Toward what end? Toward making the world a better place?  Toward something with a much larger purpose?” (Margie Blanchard)


“I define significance as using your knowledge and experience to add value to the lives of others.” (65)


“If you were at the end of your life, looking back at where you are now, what would have to have happened for you to feel good personally and professionally about your life?” (Bob Buford, 67)


Driven people think it’s all up to them.  Called people understand that life and work are gifts of God’s grace.  (Ken Blanchard, 72)


Get under God’s agenda and out from under your own.  Success is all about getting; significance is about giving back.  (Ken Blanchard, 73)


It is hard to discover what is going to be most important and fulfilling in the future.  Ferret out the one or two recurring themes that have satisfied in your life stages. (Margie Blanchard, 75)


The coffee-cup slogan of the book: It’s all about relationships!” (80)


“The most meaningful work is that which involved helping other people.”  “Sharing your wealth through charitable giving and philanthropy is important, but sharing your knowledge is every bit as important.  It’s the opposite of ‘fame and fortune,’ but it has lasting significance.  I’ve often said, ‘The fruit of my work grows on other people’s trees.’” (Armand Nicholi, 82)


Joy has more to do with being in alignment with your task or assignment from God, and being in a right relationship with him and your significant others, than with your sense of personal gratification or happiness. (Armand Nicholi, 83)


First, life during the ‘retirement years’ needs to be free of the stresses we experienced during our working life.  Second, the tasks we undertake during these years need to be meaningful work that benefits other people, or (and this is critical) another person.  And, third, it needs to be fun.” (Armand Nicholi, 84)


“Fun is like a green light on your control panel.  It tells you that you’re in the right zone.” (84)


Completion of Maslow’s Pyramid per Buford (Note that he puts a level above Maslow’ top level): (86)



       Doing Needs

       Having Needs


“More often than not, money and achievement are cul-de-sacs or dead ends, and represent temptations and obstacles. (87)


I tried not to let myself get trapped emotionally or financially in the organization.  Even when you guard against it, the power and the self-image you feel in top leadership can become almost addictive.  (Dick DeVos, 96)


“When you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing, it’s like writing with the wrong hand.  You can do it, and after awhile you can get pretty good at it, but it’s always awkward.  But when you find the sweet spot—what you were created to do—it’s like putting the pen back in the hand where it belongs.” (Tom Wilson, 104)


“What keeps most of us from focusing on the things that matter is all the things that don’t matter but add cost, particularly the cost of our most precious asset—time.” (106)


“Build a life, not a resume.” (Tom Tierney, 111)


Create a “stop doing” list.  (Jim Collins, (115)


“One of the great opportunities of Life II is to be a cheerleader for a younger person, or even a peer—to bless their plans, to give them legitimacy.” (119)


“Nobody remembers the halftime score; where you stand at the end of the game is what really matters.”  “Significance happens when we enable those around us to discover their own significance.” (Earl Palmer, 122)


Why people in the Bible didn’t finish well  “The thinking that surfaced over and over was a failure, not in their knowledge of Scripture but in failing to apply Scripture in their lives.”  “There has to be somebody to ask the significant questions, to hold us accountable.”  “If you stop learning today, you’ll stop growing tomorrow.”  “Your career is what you’re paid to do; your calling is what you’re made to do.” (Howard Hendricks, 124, 125)


Repurposing.  Adopting a new purpose through which you can still express your core values and employ your native skills.  (130)


What’s in the box?  What is central to your life at this point?  If there is room for only one thing in the box, what is it?  Identifying what’s in the box frames everything. (130-31)


“It’s about changed lives.”  (Ali Hanna, 136)


“I ask myself, What am I supposed to do today?  And what will contribute the most benefit from what I’m supposed to do today?”   “Lord, I can’t do anything about yesterday, and tomorrow may not come.  Let me be your man today.”  (Vester Hughes, 141)


“What gets me up each morning is the whole prospect of building something that will last beyond my own life.” (Larry Allums, 148)


“Once you know your core, you need to find the context that brings forth the best from your unique gifts and abilities.” (159)


“If your ambition is X and along the way you discover that where you really belong is Y or Z, then it’s not smart to keep bucking for X.” (Jim Collins, 160)


In business, it’s all about the bottom line; in politics, it’s all about power and who’s in charge; and in academia, it’s all about process and organization.  (Jim Collins, 160)  [What is it all about in church?  in missions? dlm]


At “Level 5 Leadership”, the top performers are (1) genuinely humble and (2) fully devoted to the mission.” (Jim Collins, 164)


Unless you create your own context, you have to find an organizational form that brings forth the best in you. (165)


Two final questions:

1.      What did you do about Jesus? 

2.      What did you do with what I gave you to work with? (171)


Bob Roberts is planting churches around the world. (176-79)


As opposed to quitting and finding a separate ministry, one option is to find a significant ministry within the work you are already doing.  (of Mike Ullman, 203)


“What I’m most intrigued by is the degree to which, step by step, Solomon accommodated himself to the culture around him, to the point that he ended up walking away from God.  And I ask myself, How much can we accommodate ourselves to the culture and the people we love and are trying to influence?  Solomon ...indulged in the same excesses they did, and he became little different from those outside the covenant.” (Dennis Beausejour, 208) [Church leaders seeking to identify with the culture—to be relevant—may find this a good caution. dlm]


“Finishing well to me primarily means that I want, more than anything, to be found obedient and faithful.” (Dennis Beausejour, 209)


“The parts of the brain that are focused on the things we love remain resilient and vibrant into late old age.  (Ralph Kirshbaum, 220)


His role models, Peter Drucker and Billy Graham, are “still relevant in their thinking, their conversations, and in the way they live.  They’re not thinking in the past.”  “Peter is constantly priming his mind with current events and topics of interest, and he has an uncanny way of relating those things to what has occurred in history.  He puts today’s topics into a context of what’s gone on before.” (Bill Pollard, 234-35)


A paradox: “On one hand, modern medicine gives us more years, a much longer life.  But on the other hand, American culture puts so much stress on youth, not becoming obsolete, being innovative, and always being up on the latest technology, that it makes old age seem irrelevant much sooner.  We live longer, but we’re made to feel obsolete much sooner, which is unfortunate.” (Os Guinness, 246)


“We can retire from our jobs, but we can never retire from our calling.” (Os Guinness, 247)


“The pathfinders show us what can be done.  In many and diverse ways they show us that the final stage of life goes beyond success to significance and surrender.  Beyond self-actualization to self-transcendence.” (252)