When you have a toothache what action do you take? Probably you suspect that you have a cavity or lost filling. You then visit the dentist. What does the dentist do? Probably after extracting some discomfort and money from you, the dentist fills the bad tooth and the problem gets fixed.

 So, we have Problem >>> Cause >>> Remedy: to put the matter abstractly.

But this abstraction is also very powerful as it seems to capture, albeit at a high level, how each of us engages with a professional service provider: doctor, dentist, solicitor, tax accountant, financial planner, chiropractor - the list can go on.

 The schema is: Problem >>> Cause >>> Remedy

OK, then this helps explain something to me that I have been pondering for months.

Suppose a retired person, after a lifetime of busywork, sits at home wondering what to do. Travel, grandkids, charity, golf, charity golf. The list continues. Now suppose as a second step that the wondering turns to anxiety, to arguments with the domestic partner, disputes with children, and a lot of engagement with the internet to no purpose. Then I would say that – potentially I must add as everyone is different – this could be a problem.

So following our schema above, a problem has a cause; isn’t that true? What is this cause? I would say in many cases it’s the lack of meaning in that person’s life. Meaning was dealt to them when they worked as: come to work, strive, achieve. Now if meaning is absent then its absence could be the cause of the problem mentioned above. But has our society recognised this? I don’t think so.

It’s only once that our society recognises that there is - potentially - a problem with a cause here that we can hope to move to the curative stage of finding a remedy.

A coach can help to find the remedy but first the retired person needs to recognise that there is a problem with a cause and only then can a remedy be found.

 How can we educate society at large in these things?