Books That Changed My Life

Books That Changed My LifeI have always been a firmer believer that most of the answers that we are looking for have already been written about. The trick is finding out where that information is hidden and one of the purposes of this site is to share helpful information sources with each other so that we can all benefit. I’m also a big believer in the power of role models, people who have proven successful at what I want to do. It’s much easier to see how another person accomplished some goal and then just copy what they did. Odds are if you do that you will be successful as well.

It Started About Five Years Ago

About five years ago my job was having a negative effect both on my health and my personal well-being. I knew I had to make some changes so I could become happy again but I really had no idea about what to do. Was retiring my only alternative? And if I did retire, to what would I be retiring? I didn’t have a clue at that point so I began a search for answers and read every retirement book that I could get my hands on.  Most of them were limited to the financial aspects of retirement. But then I was lucky to get my hands on a copy of Ernie Zelinski’s book “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom that You Won’t Get from Your Financial Advisor. This is a must read for anyone considering retirement.

You won’t find the usual focus on numbers in Zelinski’s book because it deals with the emotional side of retirement, which was what I was looking for.

As Ernie writes “People who spend all their time and energy on building a huge nest egg often forget how to live happily in their working lives.  They compromise their health, they neglect their friends, and they don’t develop interests outside of work. Once they retire they realize that no amount of money can buy excellent health, great friends, or the ability to enjoy leisure activities. Sadly they wind up even less happy in retirement than they were in their working lives.”

Awareness Is The First Step In Changing Our Lives For The Better

Ernie’s book helped dispel some of the retirement myths that I had been led to believe over the years.

Retirement Myth # 1 – The more you save for retirement the better off you will be. (False) Financial planning fails without life planning, you need to have a firm handle on what you are actually saving for. You need to know what type of lifestyle that you want in retirement.

Retirement Myth #2 – Retirement will be the answer to all your problems. (False) Even in retirement you have to get up each day and

find something to do. I can’t say how many times I re-read this particular book but each time I picked it up I discovered some new insights. It made me do a great deal of thinking and self reflection and influenced my work on Victory Lap Retirement.

It made me realize that my health was much more important than making money and that the corporate job that I was in was slowly killing my body, mind, and spirit.

It made me realize that over the years I had gotten away from who I actually was. I remembered laughing a lot more. I missed that.

It made me realize that I had to be careful not to waste my time because no matter how much money you have you can’t buy more time.

When You Know You Are Ready “Just Do It!”

Everyone needs to take the time to sit back, think about what you need to do in order to create a fulfilling lifestyle, and plan long term. Most people have no clue as to what they will do in retirement a period that could last just as long as their working lives. It’s important to realize that once you achieve financial independence you are not working for a living anymore, your mission is now to find the path towards creating a great life. Don’t sit back and let retirement happen to you, make it happen – your way – live an intentional life and become the person you truly are. We all need to take complete responsibility for our retirement lives.

It’s important that you invest your time and energy into the things that matter to you in order to increase your overall happiness. You need to know exactly what it is that you want. You need to do some soul searching and really understand what your needs and wants are. What you want out of life and once you do that then go after it with everything you got. Remember you only have one shot at this.

I will leave you with a quote from another book written by Ernie Zelinski “The Joy of Not Working.”

“You’re a winner when you have a zest for life. You’re a winner when you wake up every morning excited about the day. You’re a winner when you enjoy what you’re doing. And you’re a winner when you pretty well know what you want to do with the rest of your life.”  Thanks for helping me wake up Mr Zelinski!

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