Personal Development

The 5 Types of Investors Who Resist Learning (& How They Can Change Their Ways)

Expertise: Business Management, Commercial Real Estate, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Personal Development, Real Estate Investing Basics
126 Articles Written

It always amazes me how some people refuse to learn and change their lives. Sure, they might attend seminars, but they never change their habits. Some already know it all and don’t need to learn. Others don’t learn because they just don’t care enough.

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The truth is that we should all be learning — our whole lives long.

Here’s my definition of learning: learning is the acquisition of facts (knowledge), the interpretation of those facts (understanding), and the application of that to our lives (wisdom).

Knowledge and understanding without applying them to our lives is worthless, especially as real estate entrepreneurs where we can’t afford to sit at home thinking about things; we need to actually DO things.

We definitely need to apply what we learn to be successful.

But there are certain types of people who resist learning. If you’re one of them, pay attention. Because if you’re not learning, you’re not growing, expanding your comfort zone and becoming a better person.

5 Types of People Who Resist Learning

#1: The Newbie

The newbie lacks experience. They say to themselves, “Nothing will happen. I can handle it.” They feel that ignorance is bliss. They don’t know what they don’t know.

Related: Overwhelmed by Info? Here’s How to Focus Your Learning for Maximum Business Impact

When we’re first starting out in real estate, whether it’s wholesaling, flipping, landlording or commercial property, we’re all newbies. We all lack experience. But not all newbies resist change.

The difference with wise newbies is that they not only educate themselves, but also ask others for help. They surround themselves with more experienced people and listen to them.

#2: The Fool

I know it’s a bit harsh to call this kind of person a fool, but it’s the most fitting. The fool doesn’t do the things they know they should because they just don’t care enough. They have not adequately answered the “Why” question.

The “Why” question is, “Why do I want to be a successful real estate investor?” They say they want to be a millionaire, but they don’t want it badly enough.

So they lie to themselves.

The truth is, fools say they want things, but they really don’t want it badly enough. They say they do, but they never take any action. They procrastinate. They take another seminar. They come up with excuses.

#3: The Mocker

Oh, the mocker. I see them in forums all the time. Someone puts out some good information and they lay into them. They mock their opinion, belittle their experience, and offer nothing useful in return.

The Mocker drips with arrogance and feels they don’t need to learn because they already know everything. They don’t need to listen to anyone because they know more than anybody else. And lastly, they don’t need to change their lives in any way because they’re already perfect.

Not only is the mocker immune to learning because of their arrogance, but even worse, they try to bring down everyone else around them.

I have learned that if you have a mocker around you, it is best to part ways with that person as soon as possible. Mockers are very difficult to change, and it’s best to try not to. Instead, surround yourself with others who encourage and support you.

Step #4: The Comfortable

Many of us are comfortable in our lives: we have a good job, a nice house and cars, family and friends.

It is REALLY difficult to learn and change when we’re comfortable. And why should we? We already have a pretty good life.

But then we say we want to quit our job. Do we really?

We may say to ourselves that we want to be a full-time investor, but we don’t really take action because we really don’t want change: we actually like our life just the way it is.

We crave comfort and resist change.

Step #5: The Busy

I remember seeing a photo of two people desperately trying to push a cart with square wheels. A friend offers them some wheels, but they’re too busy trying to roll their square-wheeled cart that they don’t pay attention.

The Busy person is caught up in the same snare: they have too much to do all of the time, and they never have a moment to think or do anything else.

How is the Busy person ever going to learn anything, change their habits, and develop the discipline to change their lives? It’s impossible to do.

The Busy person needs to set priorities and say NO to things to free up time to focus on the things that really matter.

5 Steps To Be More Open to Learning

Step #1: Recognize the Problem

The first step in not being a person who resists learning is to recognize that you might be one. It requires a certain amount of humility to acknowledge that you’re a Fool or a Mocker.

Step #2: Answer the “Why” Question

The second step is to really develop your “Why” question. Answering this question is SO important if you want to change anything in your life.

  • Why do you want to own 20 rental properties?
  • Why do you want to flip houses?
  • Who do you want 100+ apartment building units?

If your answer is “I want to be a millionaire,” then this is not be strong enough to see you through the challenges that lie ahead. It has to be more personal than that. It has to be something really meaningful for you.

If you had 20 rental properties, which would generate $5,000 per month of income for you, what would that mean for you and your family? How would your day be different? How would your life be different? What difference would all of this make to you?

Related: 3 Real Estate Lessons I Learned from Playing Professional Soccer

How badly do you really want it?

Step #3: Focus on What Really Matters

If you’re the Busy person, you need to slow down and think about what you really want. Sit down and write down what’s really important in your life. Then set priorities and goals.

From that point forward, anything that does not directly contribute to your goals will have to be eliminated.

If you want to quit your job in three years by becoming a full-time real estate investor, then that may mean that you SAY NO to that promotion which will pay more but will also mean 12-hour days.

Would a promotion feed your ego? Sure. But how much will it further your three-year plan? It wouldn’t. In fact, it would set you back.

What other things will you need to say NO to?

#4: Expand Your Comfort Zone

If you’re the Comfortable person, do Step #2 first. Only if you’ve answered that question to the point where your current (comfortable) situation appears unacceptable to you will you do anything different in your life.

Once you’ve made that choice, you will need to proactively look for ways to expand your comfort zone. The best way to do that is to take calculated risks and to do things you’ve never done before. This will put you in a semi-permanent state of discomfort which is where you need to learn to operate in.

Comfortable = Stagnant Comfort Zone = You Get What You’ve Always Gotten

Uncomfortable = Growing Comfort Zone = Achieve Great Things

#5: Always Keep Learning

The key take-away from all of this is to be always keep learning.

I’m always impressed with highly successful people who are still attending seminars and have mentors of their own. These people are not arrogant despite of their accomplishments, but instead still acknowledge that there is more to learn.

With an air of humility and an attitude of “always keep learning,” we can truly accomplish great things.

What’s your attitude towards Learning and Change? What are you doing well? What can you do better?

Leave a comment below — and let’s all learn from one another’s experiences!

Michael Blank is a leading authority on apartment building investing in the United States. He’s passionate about helping others become financially free in 3-5 years by investing in apartment building deals with a special focus on raising money. Through his investment company, he controls over $30MM in performing multifamily assets all over the United States and has raised over $8MM. In addition to his own investing activities, he’s helped students purchase over 2,000 units valued at over $87MM. He’s the author of the best-selling book Financial Freedom With Real Estate Investing and the host of the popular Apartment Building Investing podcast Apartment Building Investing podcast.

    Frankie Woods Investor from Albuquerque, NM
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great article! Learning is always relevant! Those who aren’t learning are getting left behind.
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thanks Frankie …!
    Josh McNicoll from Kansas City, Missouri
    Replied over 4 years ago
    “Learning is the acquisition of facts (knowledge), the interpretation of those facts (understanding), and the application of that to our lives (wisdom).” I think that your definition of learning really covers all the bases, Michael. For me, it’s great to be reminded that the last component of learning is the “application” of the knowledge and understanding to our lives. It is easy for me to read a book about investing or attend a seminar–what is hard, as you say, is then actually changing. I think the main reason for this is that change not only requires humility but it takes a gargantuan amount of DISCIPLINE as well. Discipline to follow a budget, investing in set criteria and not losing focus, or whatever else. Great post and much thanks. -Josh
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    It’s frustrating to read a book or attend a seminar and not APPLY what you learned. Like you said, hard to do.
    Jonathan Roylance from Centerville, Utah
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Excellent analysis of those who will learn vs those who will not. I am progressively moving from Not Knowing What I Don’t Know to Knowing What I Know. Working hard to land my first deal, and am very optimistic about the positive changes it will bring in my family’s life.
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    You’re on the right track, Jonathan … thanks for reading!
    Gary O
    Replied over 4 years ago
    When you’re right,you’re right. Very masterfully written. I wont pretend that both sides of this didn’t have something for me to learn from. But I would much rather get a wake up from a velvet hammer that allows me to look at both sides of myself than just cursed for having a bad habit or praised for following a lead.
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thanks Gary …
    Replied over 4 years ago
    As Confucius said, “true wisdom is knowing what you don’t know.” My 25-year career in sales required me to have a good understanding of franchise law relative to a real estate product. I remember being in a meeting during my first year listening to a very successful real estate investor using terms that went beyond my required scope of knowledge (e.g., IRR, MIRR, Cap Rates, etc…). I responded with an intelligent nod that conveyed my absolute understanding of the subject being discussed, which effectively concealed my ignorance. “Knowing what you don’t know” is the first step to improving your worth and having a genuine impact on your personal and professional life. I became an expert in these areas, which contributed to a long and successful sales career. It also afforded me the confidence to start a commercial and multifamily real estate company. It all started with a clear understanding of “what I didn’t know.” I love your definition of learning, especially how the knowledge and understanding is applied to our lives. Great article!
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thanks Randy …! Your comment about the silent nod to conceal your ignorance reminds me of the phrase “Better to stay silent to let them think you’re a fool than opening your mouth and proving them right!” -;)