Breaking Boundaries

What are you going to do when it's your turn?
What are you going to do when it’s your turn?

Last week I appeared on BNN as a guest to talk about Victory Lap Retirement. You can see the interview here.

BNN was doing a piece on “Why Canadians Are Putting off Retirement – and The Challenges They Face” and it looks like our book Victory Lap Retirement struck quite a nerve. You can see a review of the book here and here.

Blame It On Godin

It was the first time I have ever been on T.V. and while there, getting ready to go on I remembered something that Seth Godin had written that had stuck in my mind. Seth has a habit of doing that, sticking stuff in my head.  On the cover of his book “Poke The Box” were the following words: “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” Thinking about those words and preparing to go on T.V. for the first time made me smile. To be honest Seth helped me get on this journey that I’m currently taking and as a result I’m trying many things for the first time.  Call it synchronicity, law of attraction or whatever but Seth has the power to make me think and has changed my worldview for the better.

About a year ago I attended an event here in Toronto where Seth was the featured speaker and at the event they gave everyone a new book written by him called ‘What To Do When It’s Your Turn?” and boy did that book ever have an impact on my life. I thought about that book title for a long time and finally came to realize that because I had achieved financial independence or Findependence as Jonathan likes to call it, I had earned a turn to do whatever I wanted to and why would I ever waste my turn and just retire like everyone else. My turn is exciting and I’m learning and being exposed to new things all the time and best of all I get to help a lot of people in the process. Life is pretty good right now!

There Is A Big Difference Between Living And Existing

The last couple of years prior to starting my own Victory Lap I guess you could say I was living pretty much on autopilot. I was following the same old dull routines and was focused on only getting through the next day, week or month. I was surviving, I sure as hell was not thriving and I started to bore myself as well as the Contessa, truth be told. Life is not meant to be like this and it’s important to understand that people are not born to just pay bills and die. Thankfully because of the influence of writers like Seth Godin and Ernie Zelenski author of “How To Retire Happy Wild and Free” and “The Joy Of Not Working” I was able to awaken from the stupor I was in and start living again.

The danger we all face is that we fall victim to a routine way of living and the reason I was able to turn things around for myself was luckily getting my hands on the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. The book is all about self-awareness and after reading it I sadly realized that my life had become one big routine developed over the years and I was essentially living the same day over 364 times a year. How sad is that? Because I was routine bound I really didn’t have to engage my mind, as there were no new experiences to engage in. How did I ever allow that to happen and waste some of the best years of my life? Because I wasn’t paying attention I wasn’t thinking, I just let things happen and as a result  I was stuck in a stupor. I was a dead head. But luckily I woke up when I began writing VLR with Jonathan and saved myself.

Thinking back on it, it’s easy to develop bad habits that will rob you of some of the best things that life has to offer. How many of us go to the same restaurants, order the same things off the menu, and spend our weekends following the same patterns. Toronto’s a big city with lots going on, but it’s invisible when you are stuck in your self-imposed routines. Stop playing it safe, take some risks and live life large because it’s the only life you will ever have.

That’s why VLR is such a wonderful concept. We are able to design a wonderful lifestyle for ourselves and continue to experience new things all the time.

I will leave you with this short video by Jed Jenkins, who came to the realization that routine is the enemy of time and as a result of his awakening quit his job and instead took a thousand mile bike trip from Oregon to Patagonia.

Something to think about the next time you find yourself sitting on the couch watching some mindless T.V.

I was lucky to finally wake up.

How about you?

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10 thoughts on “Breaking Boundaries

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Seth, thanks for the poke! Jonathan and I have another art project in mind where we will help kids learn about how to get a good start in life and achieve financial independence. Why they don’t teach this stuff in school is puzzling but we plan on trying to help fix it.

      • Larry Cuozzo Reply

        Hi Mike,

        Many of us do try to teach this stuff to high school kids. I’ve been doing it as a business studies teacher for almost 26 years in the Toronto District School Board with some success. The truth is some of the students get it and really enjoy learning about the relationship between investing, saving and spending. However, many, if not most, are not there yet. It’s just too far away for the typical 16 or 17 year old to care about. I think a better target group would be students who are within a year or two of finishing college/university. That’s a fantastic age to get them when their minds are ready to absorb the topics and turn their knowledge into action.

        • Mike Drak Post authorReply

          Larry we are both on the same page. Jonathan and I plan to write a book on FI and how kids can get a good start in life right out of the gate. The plan is to go to the universities and colleges and offer to talk to students about the new book. I can go to sleep at knowing that at least we tried and the work is out there. It’s funny though, when you offer to do something basically for free a lot of people look at you with suspicion. I just don’t get that.
          To you and all the others out there trying to teach this stuff to students I just want to say I admire you and your dedication. Please don’t ever give up trying. Our kids need teachers like you!

  1. Frank Reply

    Cool interview and interesting concept.

    One of the interesting debates is if financial independence should be a condition to start your victory lap. If you are a driven person you will generate some active income following your passion during your victory lap years, so traditional definitions of financial independence might delay your exit from the corporate world for longer than necessary.

    And you are right, most financial independence books cover the numerical part of the process, but not many focus on the emotional side of the transition, i.e. dealing with a new phase of freedom, creativity and lack of recurrent paycheck protection or corporate identity. That’s a very interesting topic and the heart of transitioning from the doing versus the being, and finally truly learn about yourself.

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      You are right in that FI does not need to be a condition of starting a victory lap but it’s a lot easier (less worrisome) if you have the safety net of FI under you. The emotional side of the transition is the hard part but also the best part once you get through and find yourself again. I think we lose who we are when adapting to the corporate world and in VL we have an opportunity to get back in touch with who we always were. I know it sounds a little weird but it’s so true and that is when you really start living again.

  2. Frank Reply

    I need no convincing about that! I am quite close to starting the transition, and the emotional headwind is stronger than the financial one.

    Thanks Mike, keep up the good work.

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Thanks Frank and good luck with the transition. Once you get through it you will be in exactly where I am now. I just can’t wipe the smile off my face! This is how life is supposed to be lived!

  3. Larry Cuozzo Reply

    Holy crap Mike, I just read your article in the Financial Post and watched your video with Catherine Murray and the whole time I’m thinking “Is this guy reading my mind?”

    You’ve seriously got me thinking. My wife and I are both 26 years in to teaching careers in Toronto. But I don’t know, we’re still in our 40’s with 2 kids at home. I need to think on this for a good while.

    Thanks for opening my mind. Loved the video too.

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Thanks for the kind comments Larry. Please don’t rush into anything but start making a plan now. Learn from our mistakes as well as our successes. Join our VLR community and continue to learn more. You will get there one day, your way and when you do you will be smiling just like I am now!

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