Episode #5: The Creativity Myth: Taking Creative Risks After Fifty

December 15, 2015 · 28:49
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Iris Shiraishi, took up Japanese Taiko drumming in her forties.  Now, in her early sixties, she’s taking artistic, creative and career risks she says she couldn’t have taken earlier in life.  

In this episode on Unretirement, we look at how creativity can be shaped by the expertise and skills that take a lifetime to develop.

Chris also talks with Richard Leider, an executive coach, best-selling author and founder of Inventure—the Purpose Company. Leider is the author or co-author of numerous books and the leading thinker behind Life Reimagined.

We’ll learn:

  • Why you may be more creative after fifty.
  • The shortcut to finding your purpose in life.
  • Why you don’t want to be a “former” anything in retirement.
  • The greatest regrets people have in life and how to act now so you can have fewer regrets.

Our listener question comes from Marcy.  She asks Chris:

“How can self-employed workers best save for retirement?”


Explore additional resources from this episode:


Richard Leider had written several bestselling books, among them:

The Power of Purpose: Find Meaning, Live Longer, Better by Richard Leider

Life Reimagined: Discovering Your New Life Possibilities by Richard Leider and Alan Webber

Work Reimagined: Uncover Your Calling Richard Leider and David Shapiro

Repacking Your Bags: Lighten Your Load for the Good Life by Richard Leider and David Shapiro

Claiming Your Place at the Fire: Living the Second Half of Your Life on Purpose by Richard Leider and David Shapiro


During our interview, Iris Shiraishi mentioned a few books that influenced her:  

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown

The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50 by Sarah Lawrence Lightfoot

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp


There are a number of terrific books on aging and creativity. Among them:

The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life by Gene D. Cohen

The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain by Gene D. Cohen

Old Masters and Young Geniuses: The Two Life Cycles of Artistic Creativity by David W. Galenson

Art Before Breakfast:  A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are, Danny Gregory


Websites that will spark a journey into creativity and aging:

Life Reimagined is a holistic approach to rethinking the opportunities in the second half of life. Richard Leider is the leading thinker behind this initiative.

Check out Iris Shiraishi’s website for videos of her performing and teaching taiko-based music.

Watch this fun three-minute video created by Aroha Philanthropies with a goal of inspiring us to think differently about aging.


Articles you might enjoy:

How Older Performers Are Helping Us Rethink Aging: If Rod Stewart and Keith Richards can, why not me? By Chris Farrell

Who Says Creativity Peters Out As You Age? Some artists reach their peak in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s by Chris Farrell

Finding Success, Well Past the Age of Wunderkind by Abby Ellin

Find Your Inner Artist, Healthy Aging

You Become Better with Age’ by Hilarie Sheets


Ask Chris your unretirement question or share your story:

If you have an unretirement question or a story for Chris, get in touch.  We are always looking for inspiring stories and try to answer as many listener questions as possible.

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This week we want to know:

How has your creativity changed as you’ve gotten older?  

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