“The moment you stop learning is the moment you start dying.”

That quotation, by Travis Towne, echoes a similar one by Albert Einstein.

Perhaps it’s my curious mind, but I’ve always felt similarly (though I don’t tend to coin famous sayings.) Learning counters the aging process; abandoning it nurtures decline.

So, I was thrilled April 22 to attend–once again, in person—the annual Summit of the Canadian Association of Rent to Own Professionals (see this post for more about CAROP), of which I was a founding member over 10 years ago.

(OK, you’re probably rolling your eyes at the things that raise my “thrill meter.” Believe me, there are many other things that also raise that meter. But, please read on . . .)

After a three-year covid hiatus, in which we had to do these events by Zoom, it was great, once again, to rub shoulders with my colleagues, chat with them informally during breaks, and be challenged by great speakers. I felt right at home. (Note: it was a hybrid event; those not able to attend in person in Toronto, joined virtually via Zoom.)

I do love such conferences, not only for the camaraderie, but also for the learning and inspiration they provide. They make me better at my craft; they keep me sharp, they feed my inquiring mind—and they keep me young (I think).

People more capable than I have stepped into key roles in CAROP (such as leading these events), but I’m still one of the directors, and one of those responsible for the success of such events. This Summit was a proud moment for all of us.

Consider our keynote speaker, Bruce Firestone, whose resume includes founder of the Ottawa Senators of the NHL, PhD in civil engineering and urban planning, faculty member and entrepreneur-in-residence at the University of Ottawa, real estate broker, coach to about 2500 entrepreneurs and investors across North America, author, and (I’m proud to add) a personal friend. Talk about a highly qualified and reputable source of knowledge and inspiration!

Other presenters included a highly successful rent-to-own colleague and coach, an online marketing guru, a lawyer specializing in rent-to-own, and an Ottawa lobbyist who jointly represented the Canadian Federation of Landlord Associations and CAROP in a formal submission to the Federal government regarding their entry into the rent-to-own market this year.

I had several roles. The first was to co-ordinate an introduction of the seven members of the CAROP board through individual presentations around seven rent-to-own themes, each followed by a response from another member of CAROP, thus introducing both the rent-to-own model and 14 CAROP members to the gathered assembly, and to those watching online.

My presentation was the last of the seven, on the challenges and rewards of rent 2 own. But, believe me, the biggest challenge was getting 14 entrepreneurs (they’re entrepreneurs, in part, because they’re highly independent) to do a joint presentation in 50 minutes! Talk about herding cats! But it came together and was a huge success.

I also gave a brief slide presentation on the history of CAROP, from the initial brainwave by one of our founding members (moi) to the marking of our tenth anniversary at this event.

Of course, the learning didn’t end with the formal presentations; many of us sat in the restaurant/lounge for hours, continuing our conversations around the themes of the day, still learning from one another.

Flying to Toronto and spending two nights in the Conference hotel (not to mention the sky-high taxi faire to and from the airport) isn’t cheap. But the rewards of learning make it absolutely worthwhile.

After 10 years of CAROP and nearly 12 years in this profession, there is still stuff I can learn, and I can use all the accompanying motivation and inspiration.

Your craft will be entirely different from mine. You may not have the same taste for conferences. You may have an altogether different learning style. Perhaps it’s reading books. Perhaps it’s attending online webinars. Perhaps it’s mastermind groups. Perhaps it’s formal classroom upgrading. Or something else.

But whatever your profession or trade, I’m sure it is always evolving, just like mine. And, unless one stays on top of it, one languishes.

And, dare I say, grows old?

I like the idea of staying young vs growing old.

How about you?

Top five best-selling self-help books of all time

(according to Project Bold Life)

  1. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
  2. The Alchemist – Louise L. Hay
  3. You Can Heal Your Life – Paulo Coelho
  4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
  5. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey