Purpose: Many senior citizens feel like they are missing something in their lives. Could it be real meaning and purpose? What if all the wisdom, insights, and great stories embedded in their minds and hearts don’t have to die with them, but are meant to be shared?

The Wisdom Project engages Seniors, enabling them to make a gift of their personal wisdom gained over six or more decades on this planet. What’s more, it’s done with others, building new relationships.

Gift of Wisdom: The Wisdom of the Ages is intended to be given to future generations, including grandchildren and unborn great grandchildren. And more — wisdom is the most important thing an older generation can transmit to younger people to preserve what’s worthwhile in our culture.

There are so many valuable insights to be shared from all of us on how to live our lives, how we think about our circumstances, and how to succeed in the face of adversity. You will have fun, make new friends and have a legacy to pass on to your family, friends and many others.

Value Created: For many seniors, their personal value is often ambiguous or nebulous. Many seniors “retire” (from French, which means  withdrawal, to pull back, to quit, to check out), leaving their “golden years” without meaning or purpose – just space that needs to be filled with “busyness” to fill the lonely time before one dies. Just the process of creating a wisdom gift is inspiring and enlightening. Research shows that seniors who have meaning and purpose in their lives live significantly longer — up to 10-15% longer.

Here’s some Feedback from a Senior Citizen who started a Wisdom Project

Dear Robert, 
I’m so Happy! I wanted to share with you — I’m on a roll! 
It’s been just a mere 36 hours since we had dinner and watched Marlene Dietrich sing “Lilly Marlene.”
The whole idea of giving my ideas, stories, and wisdom to my great grandchildren is almost enchanting.
I haven’t felt like this in a long time. It’s put me in a whole new frame of mind.
Y
ou really lit my candle(s).
I’ve written over 20 pages since I saw you Wednesday night. 
My inspired self has come back! Pretty good for an 85 year old gal.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And God thanks you too!
Lorraine

You can become a part of the Wisdom Project. Allow your gift of wisdom to live in on in your loved ones and others.

Outcomes: Various groups of seniors have the option of choosing what they want to produce as a result.
These are some of the options:

  1. Book: a hard copy book (i.e. hardback or paperback plus digital copy) of 75-250 pages, filled with wisdom. The advantage of a book is that personal publishing is easy and there is a hard copy to be handed down to future generations.
  2. Videos: individuals may want to deliver a personal message in a video format to future generations.
  3. Website: by creating a website, seniors have a “library” to share their ideas and insights with others around the world.
  4. High School Interaction: sharing wisdom with local students in interactive dialogue.
  5. Mentoring: by posting your wisdom, younger people who desire a mentor can review a senior person’s profile and wisdom, the request a mentor (should you volunteer to be a mentor).

Process: Starting a Wisdom Project is very easy.
Here are the Steps:

  1. Creating a Wisdom Team: Gather 5-10 seniors who want to engage in their personal Wisdom Project. Less than five people may not have the synergy and dedication to carry on. More than 10 can be a bit more difficult to manage. You can have more than one Wisdom Team operating simultaneously
  2. Project Management: Each Team should select a “project manager” to ensure the group is facilitated, stays on a schedule, and meets commitments. This role should be supported by “peer pressure” to ensure the facilitator is cherished in their often difficult role.
  3. Determine Outcome and Schedule: The project manager then has the group determine what “output” they want (i.e. book) and what schedule they want to set. The minimum amount of time to achieve this project should not be much less than six weeks. However, too long (more than a year) will also mean there is no sense of urgency, thus de-commitment.
  4. Create an Outline: If you are doing a book or video, start with a basic outline.

Here is the outline I used for my personal Wisdom Book:

Title: Be the Champion of Your Life — Transform Your Destiny!

Chapter ONE:  INSIGHTS & INSPIRATION

Chapter TWO:  THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY

Chapter THREE:   SUCCESS & FAILURE — THE REAL TRUTH

Chapter FOUR:  FORMATION OF CHARACTER — Who am I?

Chapter FIVE:  RESPONSE TO ADVERSITY

Chapter SIX:  THE CHAMPION WITHIN

Chapter SEVEN:  GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Chapter EIGHT: STORIES REMEMBERED

Not every person in the team has to have the same outline.

However, everyone should be aware of the each other’s outline; sharing ideas expands the possibility of finding  something useful — it’s called the “wisdom teams.”

You don’t have to stick to the outline, it just becomes a framework for ordering your ideas. As you get deeper into the project, the outline is likely to evolve.


Excerpt from AARP Magazine June 2018

The Keys to Healthy Living: Friendship and Purpose
Changes in Lifestyle and Outlook can affect Longevity

By Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO

Social connections are important to your health. People with close friends are more likely to get plenty of sleep, eat healthy foods, maintain peace of mind, and have less stress, engage in brain health activities, and take on new challenges or hobbies.

Loneliness is the new smoking – according to one researcher, it is equally as bad for you as inhaling 15 cigarettes a day. Studies show that loneliness can shave eight years off life expectancy, that it has a big negative effect on quality of life , and that it’s the single largest predictor of dissatisfaction with health care.

The Mortality risk for loneliness is greater than that of obesity. Social isolation of older adults is associated with an estimated $6.7 billion in additional Medicare spending annually.

Having a purpose in life is important to health as we get older and is a key factor in aging successfully. A sense of purpose for many is more important than making money, and it’s associated with a wide range of better health outcomes including reduced risk of mortality, stroke, heart attack and Alzheimer’s disease.

People with a sense of purpose also get better sleep, have fewer nights of hospital admission and go to the doctor less often. And they are more likely to take care of their health-to eat healthier, exercise more, avoid abusing drugs and alcohol, and seek out better preventive health services.

Evidence also shows that optimism about aging has an impact on our health, adding 7.5 years to our lives. Those ‘with an upbeat view of aging are more likely to fully recover from a severe disability, have a larger hippocampus (apart of the brain that affects memory), show less anatomical evidence of Alzheimer’s on an MRI, and have up to an 80 percent lower risk of a cardiovascular event.


EXAMPLE: To see an example of my personal Wisdom Project book, you can download Be the Champion of Your Life.This will give you an idea of what one might look like. Be creative and bold when you design yours.



  1. Using Quotes: You can use quotes from my book if you like, (just be sure to credit the authors – it’s the right thing to do). Also, be careful not to sell the book – give away all copies. As soon as you use other people’s work to make a profit, you may need a quoted author’s permission. Copyrights generally run out after 75 years. You can generally use 300 words from someone else (with attribution) without copyright infringement of living authors.
  2. Decide how to organize wisdom: One easy way to organize the wisdom quotes is to arrange into two areas:
    • Your Personal wisdom – thought and advice that are yours alone or your parents or other family members
    • Universal wisdom — wisdom you gather from others across history. These could include people like Aristotle, Christ, ancient philosophers, heroes, or any others.
    • Be sure you find a way to share this wisdom with others in your group who might also want to integrate your findings into their books too. One way to share this research is to use a tool like “DROPBOX” which saves your research onto your computer as well as other member of the team who also install DROPBOX on their computers.
  3. Start your research and writing: As you write your own wisdom, or find wisdom of others you want to include in the book, translate (type) written notes into digital format early on.
  4. Organize you material: When I write a book, I use an ever-expanding outline. That means that a one-page outline starts getting larger and more detailed as I think about what goes into each chapter and I start adding the content. As the chapter evolves, the design of the chapter may ever-evolve as more refinement is added. Each chapter is saved as a separate document file. Each chapter should be no more than 10-15 pages to keep things manageable. One way to organize chapters is to use a flip chart – each chapter is a flip chart page. I put post-it notes on the page with key issues and ideas, moving them around to reflect the structure of the emerging chapter.
  5. Team Meeting: Meet with your team regularly to share ideas, insights, solve problems, and compare progress. Having others contribute to your project enables you to know when others are having problems like yours so you can solve them together, or to keep things moving when schedules get behind. It’s important to keep progress moving in a somewhat synchronized way so that the team gets to the publication stage at about the same time so that each teammate can help others get through self-publishing.
  6. Self-Publishing: Early in the project a self-publishing company should be chosen and all members use the same one to make it easier to move through this stage. There are many to choose from, such as Hay House, Lulu, etc. Each has its own unique format and templates, pricing, etc. You may be able to get better publication pricing with a group rate than by working individually.
  7. Resources: Others have addressed the Wisdom Project from different perspectives. Take a look at alternative formats. (Google for more information on the items below)
    • Book: Wisdom by Andrew Zuckerman – Many famous people contributed a page or two of their wisdom, including Jane Goodall, Burt Bacharach, Ted Kennedy, Buzz Aldrin, Clint Eastwood, Willie Nelson, Judi Dench, and many others.
      Book: The Wisdom of Thomas Alva Edison by Thomas Edison (published by Citadel Press)
    • Video: Hawaii Wisdom Project (You Tube) — Feature length documentary. Hawaii’s leaders were asked two questions: what challenges are you facing today and what advice would you give someone starting out?
    • PowerPoint: Words of Wisdom Project by Gull Lake Community Schools — Many adolescents lack effective mentorship. The Words of Wisdom Project searched for role models to emulate. Famous and important people around the world were sought for positive impact advice.

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Thank You and Good Luck!

Robert Porter Lynch

www.ICLInstitute.org