How to Never Work Another Day in Your Life

Whenever I meet with a group of aspiring real estate entrepreneurs, I’ll typically ask them what some of their top goals are.

Most of the responses I get are things like …

  • Travel the world
  • Quit my job
  • Make $10,000 a month
  • Give more to charity
  • Lose weight
  • Get out of debt
  • Get back in shape

And … here’s one I get pretty often as well:

  • Retire!

What do you think?  Is that one of your goals also?  For many, it’s the ultimate goal.

But honestly, I cringe every time I hear it.  And I really don’t like it. As a goal.

Whenever someone tells me this, my first thought is usually: “Man, you need a new vocation!”

Tap Dance to Work

Warren Buffett was once asked in an interview to describe his typical day.  He said something like:

I wake up really excited each day … and tap dance to work.  When I arrive at my office … I see what I do as a blank canvass … and I’m Picasso getting to paint another masterpiece.”

Woah.

Think he’ll ever retire?

A Restaurant as Performance Art?

A reporter asked Ron Saich, the Founder of Panera Bread, what he does to “recharge”.  Here’s an excerpt from his response:

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“The fact is, I never feel the need to recharge because I rarely feel burned out. After three decades in the food industry, I can unreservedly declare that I still love what I do.”

Of course, I get tired. Eighty-hour work-weeks and way too many red-eye flights will wear anybody down. Nor am I immune to the stress that comes with running a public company for 22 years and shouldering responsibility for more than 70,000 Panera associates. But thankfully, I've never experienced the chronic exhaustion, inertia, frustration, and cynicism that come with a temporary slump or even classic burnout. Hence, I've never had reason to refresh my spirit and renew my spark.

The reason, I think, is that I view my work as a lifelong learning journey. I go to work to learn about how the world works. How humanity works. And what will work in the world.

The British author John le Carré once quipped, "The desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world." I couldn't agree more. I visit anywhere from 25 to 100 Panera cafes every month. And what I always find is a kind of real-time performance art—dynamic interactions between our front-line crews and constantly shifting casts of customers, with the overriding goal of ensuring that when customers exit our "stage," they are nourished in soul as well as body. The performances always differ. And I inevitably learn something new.

If you find meaning in your work and you go to work to learn about life, I doubt you'll ever have reason to recharge. The work itself will renew you.

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Wow!  Think he’ll ever retire?

I know the 80-hour a week thing might not be so appealing, but I just wanted you to at least get a sense of his ‘passion’ and ‘mission’.

So anyway, if one of your goals is also to ‘retire’, I say more power to you if that’s what really empowers you.

You might want to consider reframing that though.  Like instead of retirement, why not shoot for ‘Financial Freedom’.  And the opportunity to do what you really want to do.

You see, I believe the purpose of life is to “bring your passions into the world”.  That’s how you add value and light up the world.  That’s how you do things for the greater good.  That’s how you leave a legacy.

We all need something to look forward to, don’t we?  It’s the juice and essence of life.

Besides … what are you going to do in retirement, anyway?