I am a musician. I spent the early years of my life and into adulthood trying to perfect the un-perfectible craft. I made it as far as college before fortune liberated me from having to chase the impossible when the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis made it impractical to continue to pursue a career in performance arts – saved by the bell, so to speak.
And yet, the notion of chasing that which can not be caught, as well as the attitude of an unhealthy commitment to excellence survived within me in my post-musician years. Luckily, as difficult as Real Estate is, it is truly nothing in comparison to the art and science of violin. Real Estate I can actually wrap my brain around, and it follows that I tend to be happier and more content now days…
I have to confess – I am writing this article more for my benefit than yours, though I trust you will find some amount of value in it for yourself. People often ask me how I find time to write as much as I do, and why I bother – Leo Kingston, whom you might have heard of and if you haven’t you should, asked me this very question last Friday. The truth is that as much as anything, writing is healing; putting my thoughts and experiences on paper for the benefit of readers is healing for me, and here’s why:
As any thinking individual, I ponder the question of self-worth. At a certain point in one’s life, defining the extent to which one’s being here impacts others in a positive way becomes a potent perspective. Sharing of ideas and passing on the skills is an essential element defining Ben Leybovich – the human being. This is why I love to talk about real estate, and this is why I write…it’s good for my soul!
But – Why Should Anyone Listen?
Which is essentially the same as asking – What does it take to be perceived as someone to be listened to?
Well, this is an interesting turn of events, isn’t it?
One minute I tell you that I write mostly for my own benefit, which would seem to imply that I really don’t care much if you or anyone wants to listen. And the next minute I show concern for the notion of having an audience and regard for what you think of me.
Being that I spent many years on stage as a performer, and still do from time to time, I am very aware of several realities which are equally applicable to playing the violin as they are to financial blogging, and they are this:
- If you have nothing to say, then get the hell off the stage. And,
- If you do not absolutely relish the attention; if you do not just love being the “hot s*$t”, then why are you there…?
Yes indeed – I enjoy the spotlight. Joshua Dorkin, a man who sees through the bull quicker than anyone I’ve ever met (aside for my wife), never misses an opportunity to remind me that I am a blogging prima donna – so help me God if I am lying, I’ve actually heard him speak these exact words…
Sure I am – you bet. I love the stage. I love the nervous energy right before I play the first note (either figuratively-speaking or in reality), and I love the process that goes into converting nervous lemons into heavenly lemonade. Yes – I love the exchange, I crave the attention, I “live” in the spotlight…(felt good to get that off my chest).
But, and this is kind of a big caveat, the audience are never stupid. The audience want honest and intellectually compelling substance, and thusly I circle back to the core concern:
What does it take in order for you to want to listen to me?
The Accepted Norm
There are two obvious conditions that come to mind relative an audience’s expectations:
- Presenter must know what he/she is talking about,
- Presenter must be able to express himself in an intelligent and easy to follow fashion.
Sure enough, the above are two of the pre-conditions to being afforded the privilege of public expression of thought. But, I’d like to share one other, which while less talked about is also profoundly true…
The Strad Magazine is the go-to definitive publication in the world of classical music; specifically stringed instruments. Though I no longer subscribe, I still have a collection from back in the day and I like to skim through the pages from time to time – takes me back…
One of the articles in the December 1997 issue was an interview with a man named Charles Beare. In 1997 Beare was 60 years-old, and by then had established himself as the world’s per-eminent authenticator of fine stringed instruments. Let me paint a picture for you:
Let’s say you go to a garage sale and for $30 pick up what looks like an old violin. You’ve heard stories that this things could be worth a fortune, so you take the violin to a local dealer. He tells you that it is indeed an instrument of considerable pedigree. But, there is no label inside and while obviously it possesses some value, he just can not definitively say exactly who made it and what it’s worth – it’s above his pay-grade, so to speak. This is a job for Beare in London.
Well, should Charles Beare see the violin and issue a certificate of authenticity (which is essentially nothing more than his opinion) stating that the violin in question is a Guarneri Del Gesu, then any insurance company in the land, any trader, any collector, and dealer, and any buyer will take his world, in which case you, my friend, will be an instant millionaire, many times over!
Now – how does a man arrive at a place in life whereby the world at large equates his opinion with fact, which is exactly the case? How does one become so knowledgeable and revered?
In so many words Beare was asked this exact question by the interviewer Anne Inglis, and this is an excerpt of his answer:
“…When I asked my father how long it would be before I really knew anything, he answered 10 years. For a 20-year-old this was quite depressing. Now, if somebody asked me how long it would be before anybody knows if you know anything, I would say 20 years because you need to be of a certain age before people will believe you…”
I trust you find this as profound as I do. Perception is key. It is not what I know, but what you believe that I know which will keep me in the arena of blogging…
I turned 39 on March 2nd. I don’t like birthdays. I don’t like to make a “deal” out of birthdays – no parties here please. You see, no matter how I try to dress it up, it’s still about getting older. Yep – I have the grey up-top. I no longer look the part of a baby, like my dear friend Brandon Turner. Stuff aches that I didn’t know existed – aches are how I know I’m living…
About the only conciliation is that I’ve managed to learn some stuff, and that you just might take me seriously enough to learn from me. This will keep me on stage, and I love it!
So, tell me – am I old enough at 39 to know anything? Do I look the part of someone who can be listened to and trusted?
P.S. I wrote near the opening that this article was to be mostly for my benefit, and it was. However, if you’ve ever wondered why I can come up with $100,000 for my next deal with one phone call and you can not, I just gave you the answer…dwell on it!