Practice seemed to be going OK — or so I thought.
We were running around doing the standard beat-each-other-into-a-pulp drills with a little bit of basketball thrown in every now and then. This was how our practices went. They were challenging, they were difficult, they were strenuous, and they were demanding. Most of the time, you were just trying to not quit. Every once in a while, you got to shoot a basketball.
Apparently today more of those shots missed than the coach was happy with (I didn’t even notice, as I was just trying to stay alive). Next thing I knew, I heard that familiar whistle-when-you-weren’t-
This time, it didn’t come. Just long, awkward, semi-intimidating silence. Eventually, everyone looked up and made eye contact with the coach. Unsure if he was waiting for us to say something or if we were supposed to wait for him, we stayed in this unusual standoff for an uncomfortable period of time. He was staring at us blankly, almost as if he wasn’t sure how to say what he was thinking. We had never seen this before and didn’t know what it meant, but we were pretty sure it wasn’t good. Finally, after what seemed like forever, he spoke.
“How many of you want to be better shooters?” he asked.
The entire team, me included, raised our hands. He stared at each of us, making eye contact individually. It felt like a really long time before he made his way down the entire line to look at each member of the team. Too long. So long that I was no longer sweating, and the gym was starting to feel cold. His gaze was intense, issuing a challenge and daring us to take him up on it. We had no idea what was going on, but he had our attention.
“Now how many of you stayed late yesterday to practice shooting?”
Whoa. You’ve never seen so many eyes drop to the floor in perfect unison like that before. Two of us were left to raise our hands. Me, and the scrappiest player on the team. I remembered the night before staying late to shoot on one basket while he shot on the other, neither of us wanting to leave before the other.
The coach just stared at the group of us. There were no bouncing basketballs, no squeaking shoes, no swishing nets, and no clapping hands. It was eerily silent, and every player was left to marinate on the simple, profound statement the coach had just made. Every single one of us had just said we wanted to be a better shooter, but only two of us were able to raise our hands when asked if we were taking steps to make that happen. It was a powerful moment. Just you, your thoughts, your past actions to stand on, and the raw understanding that your actions speak louder about you than your words.
What Does Success Really Cost?
I’ve never forgotten that day. I’ll remember it forever. The coach didn’t have to say anything more. He blew the whistle, and we all began running. We understood why — we had been cheating ourselves, and in doing so, cheating the team.
Now, I left practice that day and was really bothered by that whole situation.
As I thought, “Of course everyone wants to be a better shooter. Who wouldn’t?” I was quickly countered by the argument, “Well, if they wanted to be better shooters, they would be working on it, right?” Back and forth my thoughts went. It was a very unsettling moment for me. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t just a matter of semantics — it was a matter of sacrifice.
If you want something, you will work, strive, sacrifice, push, sweat, bleed, or otherwise act in a way that costs you something to achieve it.
If you would like to have something, you will open up your hands and take it if someone gives it to you.
And this, friends, is how life works.
This is the message our coach was trying to send. Everyone on the team would like to be a better shooter. If the magic shooter fairy were to descend from the rafters and touch us with her three pointer wand, we would gladly accept the ability to shoot better. No one was going to say no or avoid improved shooting if it was offered to us for free.
But how many were willing to do something that cost them to get there?
When we were practicing, that was the “team” time. We had to be focused, we had to push ourselves, we had to work hard. When practiced ended, that was “our” time. We were free to live our lives as we chose. It was clear to the coach that what most were choosing was to put comfort first. We said we wanted to be the best, but our after-practice actions didn’t support that. Very few were committed to the process of becoming better, improving ourselves, or sacrificing comfort now in order to achieve something worthwhile later. The coach knew this, and he wasn’t happy about it.
I’m about to share something that is sad but true for almost every single person reading this. I don’t care if it makes you uncomfortable. I don’t care if it’s hard to accept.
Most of you will never have a coach that is more committed to your own success than you are. What you have is you. Just you.
And this isn’t unfair. No one is supposed to love your own life more than you do. The world doesn’t owe you anything. If you’ve been saying you want to achieve something but not doing anything to accomplish it, the world is perfectly fine to let you go ahead and continue doing that. You could be living your life every day thinking that you really want success. That you really want to build wealth. That you really want to earn passive income, learn to flip houses, and pass an empire on to future generations. But you’re not going above and beyond to achieve that.
You aren’t pushing yourself to grow. You are waiting — waiting for that magic landlord fairly to come touch you and make the whole thing easier, more comfortable, or less scary. Waiting for the perfect opportunity or deal or partner to find you in the sea of other people who are just waiting. To bestow upon you that deal you keep reading about that someone else found. It’s time to take a good, hard look in the mirror. It’s time to admit that maybe this whole time you’ve been telling yourself you really want to be an investor, you were wrong. The truth was, you would like to be an investor. You don’t really want it.
The Secret to Success People Don’t Tell You
Here is the secret that successful people understand about success. Success changes you. It changes who you are at your core beliefs. More specifically, it’s the journey to success that changes you. And that is why successful people love chasing success so much. It forces you to grow, it weeds out the worst habits you have. It exposes self-limiting beliefs and forces you to confront and reexamine them. It sharpens the axe of your skill set, so to speak.
Stephen Curry is considered the greatest shooter in the NBA. He is considered by many to already be the greatest shooter of all time. According to an ESPN.com article, when Stephen Curry is in the off season, he makes 500 three pointers a day. Makes, not shoots. He only counts the shots he makes. He also says that when he sets a number as his goal, he stays until he completes it. He won’t take a shortcut and leave early.
The player who is already the best shooter in the NBA shoots until he makes 500 shots a day, every day. He sets and achieves his goal every day and will not leave his workplace until he does. Imagine the focus that must create in him as he practices the same, mind-numbingly boring motion over and over and over. Imagine the habits that creates in him. Do you think that might possibly serve him well on game day?
Can you say that you do anything 500 times a day? What about 100? What about 10?
The fact is, you likely aren’t as good at your job as Steph is at his. And HE is out there making 500 three pointers a day. What excuse do we have?
If you aren’t doing something every day to learn more about investing, strengthen an area you’re weak in, or confront an aspect of your personality that makes it hard for you to succeed, it’s time you became honest with yourself. You don’t want this. You’d just like to have it. You’re cheating yourself.
If you had a coach in your life who cared about you, someone would already be telling you this. Every time you slacked off, you would get a reminder. Every time you broke a promise to yourself, there would be consequences. But you don’t. All you have right now is me. So listen up.
Stop Lying to Yourself — And Start Taking Action
What if you finally stop lying to yourself about your own effort, you finally start taking steps towards the life you know you’d like to have? What if when you confront that one issue that causes you to stop before you start, you realize it wasn’t as hard to overcome as you thought? What if the whole reason you weren’t scoring in the game is because you’ve been day dreaming on the bench the whole time, pretending like you’re playing? What if that dragon in your subconscious that keeps you afraid of putting yourself out there is really nothing more than a lie based on a belief you adopted when you were too young to know better — and you’ve been hiding from it your whole life?
The reality is, you CAN do this. I know a lot of successful people. Truth is, a lot of them are not that smart. Very little of what we do in real estate is original. Most of it is copying someone else’s success. Do you know how many people are on BiggerPockets that you can emulate? Ask Brandon Turner — successful investors love to talk about their success. No one is keeping secrets. Sometimes I wonder why they don’t. Why bring more competition? It’s because they know hardly anyone will ever do anything with the information they are given. Why is that?
If you want this, if you really want this, start proving it to yourself. Let your actions, not your intentions, give the final word on whether or not you want this. Start analyzing properties you aren’t going to buy until it’s a habit. Start actually forcing yourself to save money so you’ll be prepared when opportunity strikes. Start impressing your boss with your newfound work ethic to convince them to give you a raise or a promotion. If you want something, people should see that you want it. It should be clear to everyone how hard you are trying, how far you are willing to go.
If you’re not staying late after practice, it means you really don’t want to get better. If you aren’t working harder than everyone else at your job, you really don’t want a promotion. If that’s the case, stop wasting your own time. Leave this alone and find something you DO want. But if you know deep inside you want to be an investor, start asking yourself what you can stay after practice to work on. Prove to the world — and to yourself — that you deserve this and you’re going to do whatever it takes to get there.
No one is going to touch you with the magic wand and give you what you’d like. If you want it, it needs to be you who goes and takes it. And if you decide that’s what you’re going to do, I promise you, nothing will stop you but you.
Strike Gold Where Others Won’t
Success in real estate doesn’t find you — you find it. You hunt for it. And you know what? It’s better that way. It forces you to work on you, and that is where the true value comes from in this. That is a journey worth taking and worth all the sacrifice you’re going to have to put into it in order to make it happen. Embrace that it is hard, scary, and intimidating. Embrace the fact most others won’t get off the bench and into the game. Love that so many of your competitors mentally check out when they get off work and aren’t looking to stay “after practice” to keep working on finding deals. Get excited about the fact so few other people are really striving for anything. It makes your job that much easier.
Most Americans are comfortable. We are soft. We have all our needs met, and we like our comfort zone. We don’t need to push ourselves, so we rarely do. Want to know why this is still the land of opportunity? Because of that right there. So few are trying to take advantage of all the opportunity. You’re living in a country like a stream with gold nuggets everywhere, and all your competition is staring at their smart phones, watching the Kardashians, and tweeting selfies.
Save your money, buy prospecting tools, go out there, and find those gold nuggets. They are waiting for you. For the one person who wants them bad enough to break away from the crowd to find them.
Experienced investors know no one will care about their properties more than they do. In the same way, no one will care about your success more than you. The landlord fairies are gone and not coming back. Get real with yourself, and you’ll see obstacles start crumbling much easier than you ever would have thought.
How do you go above and beyond to ensure success? Who inspires you to go the extra mile (yes, you can say Steph Curry)?
Leave your thoughts below!
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.