Personal Development

Most Top Investors Fail Before They Succeed: Here’s Why You Should, Too

Expertise: Personal Development, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate Investing Basics, Business Management
42 Articles Written
failure-before-success

“Failure is success in progress” – Albert Einstein

Last week I spoke with a new investor I met on BiggerPockets—a young guy who had just put together his first million dollar flip with several other investors. With the analysis done and everything looking good, they were outbid at the last minute. Just like that, it was over. All of the work lost. Back to square one.

He asked me what he could have done to keep it together and ensure it didn’t happen again. My advice? Significantly overpay for properties. That’s how you win bids. If you want to win in investing, however, you have to get comfortable with failing.

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

All of us have heard stories about the infamous “legendary deal.” What we don’t hear about are all of the failures along the way. Those aren’t as interesting. As a real estate agent working with investors and an investor myself, I can tell you one thing about successful investors: They expect to lose. They embrace losing. They see it as a necessary step to success.

In fact, many top real estate agents and investors have teams of people making thousands of calls a day looking for properties. They know they don’t have enough hours in the day to fail the number of times required to find the deals they want. They have to hire other people to fail for them. And even when you’re really good, you’ll still fail.

Related: How to Use a Fear of Failure to Empower Action (in 4 Simple Steps!)

Famous Failure Examples

James Dyson made 5,127 prototypes of the bag-less cyclonic vacuum cleaner before he had one that was successful. Henry Ford, who said, “Failure is simply an opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently,” went out of business five times before successfully creating the Ford Motor Company. Ty Cobb, the best hitter ever in MLB history, missed the ball 64% of the time. Kobe Bryant, one of the best NBA players of all time, just made NBA history with the most missed shots of any player.

“If you do the work, you get rewarded. There are no shortcuts in life. I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot… and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

Expect to Fail

If you expect to fail, you will save yourself a lot of time and effort. We have no control over the market or what’s happening around us. We are simply players in the system. Investors who are afraid of small failures try to make make bad deals work and overpay for properties. They win the battles but ultimately lose the war. Good investors drum up hundreds if not thousands of deals and lose almost all of them. It’s the few they win that sets them apart and gets them to where they want to be. If you want higher success, you will have higher failure. It’s the only way, really.

Related: 6 Empowering Strategies to Conquer a Paralyzing Fear of Failure

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho

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Brett Lee is a licensed Real Estate Broker in Portland Oregon where he helps people achieve a better future so they can do the things that truly make them happy. Brett is also a buy-and-hold invest...
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    Curt Smith Rental Property Investor from Clarkston, GA
    Replied about 5 years ago
    LOL I liked your failure stories. Maybe you skipped Thomas Edison’s 10k light bulb failures story on purpose. I really like the Michael Jordan story!
    Casey Murray Investor from San Diego, CA
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Great and inspiring post. Everything is hard before it becomes easier.
    Kelly Grant Wholesaler from Wichita, Kansas
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Great message, and so very true! Never get tricked into being ashamed of yourself; it’s crippling.
    Don Alberts from Frankfort, Illinois
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Another good lesson. I expect to learn (fail), getting closer to my Winning. Thanks and have a Winning day. Keep sharing. Don