Two Monks Lost in Corporate Communist Canada

(img: jessica syrena)

Many of you know that we were both "stuck" in corporate Canada to varying degrees as we started to build our real estate portfolios and our real estate brokerage.

Literally, for years I would walk around like I was sleep walking as I strolled through rows of blue/grey cubicle walls.

Although we both had always spoken of wonderful ideas for new businesses we felt trapped in our 9-5 ruts.

And it was difficult to break out of it because the pay was so good.

Golden handcuffs if you will.

It was a "guilty pleasure" to consider changing course and doing what I really wanted to do. I always told myself that I had "responsibilities" to provide for my family.

Reflecting back on it all somehow I think I got lost.

I'm not sure where but I took a major wrong turn somewhere.

As a young adult in University, I had these big dreams of helping people, changing the world, making a difference!

And now I was making good money but it was spent on leather shoes, dress shirts, and watches - used as some sort of "corporate armour."

Many people reading this may hate what I'm going to say next but it holds true for me...

I felt like I was living in a communist country while working in Corporate Canada.

You really couldn't challenge the boss. You really couldn't put out your own creative corporate messages without getting press releases screened and approved "from above." And you had to "conform" to be just like every other corporate citizen in the organization or risk a trip to Human Resources for some sort of assessment.

The only saving grace was that I got to leave and go home at night.

Please don't misunderstand me. Corporate Canada has given me a lot.  It taught me about discipline, routine, and good habits. It taught me about responsibility and the importance of systems. And some of the leaders of the organizations I worked in, will remain lifelong friends.

It just seemed for me, the structure of the corporate organization that had served me well for some years would never allow me to continue growing throughout my lifetime.

And the expressions on the faces of older executives seemed to confirm my suspicions.

Everyone seemed pissed off and stressed out.

Maybe that realization was a hidden driver behind our real estate investing - I'm not sure.

But real estate was one of the "money making ideas" we had that we actually acted upon that would "get us out of here."

Real estate is not the only idea of course. There are a million business models that may be better suited for you.

In the book Vagabonding, by Rolf Potts, there's a story of two monks who have made vows to never leave their monastery but keep telling each other that one day they will go out and see the world.

Knowing full well that they couldn't leave, they kept putting off their plans until "next summer" and then "to the next summer." Never actually accomplishing their goals.

After the story of the two monks, Rolf Potts has this paragraph in his book, page 12:

"Most of us, of course, have never taken such vows - but we choose to live like monks anyway, rooting ourselves to a home or a career and using the future as a kind of phony ritual that justifies the present. In this way, we end up spending (as Thoreau put it) "the best part of one's life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it."  We'd love to drop all and explore the world outside, we tell ourselves, but the time never seems right. Thus, given an unlimited amount of choices, we make none.  Settling into our lives, we get so obsessed with holding on to our domestic certainties that we forget why we desired them in the first place."

This article isn't a call for you to get up a buy two income properties and to then quit your job.

I know many people who have pulled away from the "hand that feeds them" too early and destroyed their self-confidence because their "investing career" didn't produce buckets of cash as quickly as anticipated.

What this is ... is a reminder that there are other people like you out here. Other people who want to break their self-imposed shackles. And some that have gone ahead of you and done it.

You are not alone.

Keep reading, keep saving, keep investing, keep building.

It may seem like slow progress at first but each little step you take towards personal independence will pay off.

Stay focused. Stay disciplined. Don't get frustrated and give up - it's too easy to do that.

Find people that are doing what you want to be doing. Go and hang out with them. Listen to their language, watch their actions, examine their results.

And one day you'll wake up realizing that all those little steps have taken you to an entirely new world. One where you're the boss.

It's like getting a travel Visa to a new world.

And then you can leave Communist Corporate Canada for good 🙂

Until next time friends ... Your Life. Your Terms.

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0 comments on “Two Monks Lost in Corporate Communist Canada”

  1. The both of you always continue to impress me with your hard work, dedication and motivating stories. I may not comment on every single one, but I've read then all and sometimes read them a 2nd or 3rd time to make sure the message sinks in.

    It's truly appreciated from me and my entire family... You're a blessing.



  2. Hey Gary, thanks for sharing that ... it's people like you that make us want to keep going and growing together! Seriously. Thank you.

  3. Your story resonated with me. Having been in a 'Golden' career for 13 years I am now on my own as a self employed professional. My investing is a recent shift, I have 3 rental condos - that are rented and cover most of the costs. I think the same 'golden - handcuffs' exists - in a different fashion for those of us who are self-employed and investing. I know I stress if there is not enough work on the horizon and that sometimes stops me from traveling / getting away. "What if someone should call while I'm away, or my delay in responding causes me to lose that client"? My journey is to have faith in abundance and know that work always turns up and truly....what is enough? Thank you for a thought provoking article.

  4. Hey Tom and Nick,
    Love your inspirational stories...thankfully I am at the point now where I don't have to report to a job 9-5. Been there done that, and I can tell you that Real Estate investing over the last several years has allowed me to live a lifestyle that is a LOT less stressful than doing the corporate grind day in and day out.
    Keep up the great work and thanks for inspiring me and others!

  5. Dear Tom and Nick,

    Initially I was thinking to read your same your old story once again but suddenly my enthusiasm went to sky as I was reading the two monks story. It is true and amazing at the same time as I was reflecting or relating to my life. I hope to reach my new world and thanks for sharing.

    Do the best,


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