The Third Act

I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Ed Kelly recently who has developed The Third Act; a concept which challenges our ingrained assumptions in relation to career life-cycle structures.

We are hosting an event in early October where Ed is coming to Limerick to speak at a breakfast seminar to explain what The Third Act might mean for each of us as we plan our careers.

What is The Third Act?

This is my take on it but I am still learning about it.

It is a concept I find very interesting from a number of perspectives which I have outlined below.

The Third Act probably relates to us from early in our careers but realistically once you get to your mid 40’s it is something worth thinking about more seriously.

Life expectancy in Ireland has gone up by 10 years between 1974 and 2014 to 81 years of age. Even though we as a race are living longer healthier productive lives there is still in many quarters a perception that you are a “busted flush” once you get to your 60’s.

But that perception is counter-productive from a health and economical perspective in my view regardless of where you are in your life cycle.


We are living longer healthier lives so what are the possible implications?

  • Your ability to make a significant contribution can continue to rise well beyond 60/65 if you approach it in the right way.
  • A bye product of longer healthier living is the requirement to continue to earn an income to build up what you require to support yourself into the future. Needs must.
  • The world economy needs all the creativity, wisdom, expertise and positive energy that it can avail of for its continued development and survival.
  • The idea that work is a prison sentence and retirement is the release from prison does not reflect the view of majority of people I am dealing with. They are happy to change how they approach their working lives but looking for new challenges and development.
  • There are many examples of individuals and careers where age is not an issue or is even in many cases a positive seen as being equivalent to a good wine. E.g., Artists, Entrepreneurs even some politicians are not subject to restrictive timelines based on age.


What is clear to me is that there is a need to revise our thinking around career lifecycles and our assumptions about age, health, productivity and to plan accordingly. This is already happening but slowly in my view. It requires a change in mind set and I believe The Third Act may be a powerful contributor to this change.

If you are interested in finding out about The Third Act his website is

Let me know your thoughts.

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