How I Ensure That My Everyday Influences Make Me a Better Investor

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For several months now, I’ve been reasonably obsessed with input and outputs — within our company and the turnkey properties we are selling. Or the clients we are bringing in. Or the deals we are locking down to buy. Or the time I am spending with my children or my wife. Or driving my car for fun. Or my bi-monthly coffee date with my dad. Or my overflowing calendar with things for me to do that sometimes I feel I can’t keep up with.

Honestly, what is all this stuff we are doing, hearing, saying, speaking, listening to, doing? Where is it coming from?

I realize you are on a real estate website and blog, looking at a real estate blog post, written and posted by yours truly. And I am here because of my real estate investing words and conversation. I promise, I am getting there.

Inputs and outputs are everything. What we are putting into our minds is an exercise in what is important to us, it defines what makes us up as people — how we act with others, how we speak, how we think, who we are around. It’s the essence of what we will become, what we will do, and how we will act because whatever that thing is, it’s feeding us, for good or not. And I believe many of us all, myself included, can feel busy and productive moving around doing STUFF and not recognizing what exactly we are doing, passively allowing massive (often negative) media, voices, and forces influence our happiness, goals, success, and lives.


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What Are You Putting into Your Mind?

This week, I again deleted Facebook off my phone. It’s gone. What was it for me, in my life? Stuff. Whining! Whatever someone else had for dinner or did for the day. That’s totally awesome for that person. But do I need to, at every waking moment, wondering what to do, routinely, like the animal from Pavlov’s science experiment, open up my phone and browse aimlessly in Facebook? NO.

Instead, this week, a number of times I went to my phone, went to open the Facebook application, and guess what? It wasn’t there! And then I closed my phone and got back to what I was doing. Or what I needed to do. Or what I wanted to do. Anything but Facebook.

The concept here goes way further than Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Are you always going to the mall or your favorite store to look at STUFF or to buy STUFF? Or are you always browsing catalogues 0r online stores for more stuff? Or are you always browsing your favorite watches (guilty as charged)? What it is for you, that thing you know you need to stop doing?

Stuff, stuff, stuff. Stuff everywhere.

When I have a moment of clarity — like opening my phone, realizing I went to look at Facebook again, and then closing my phone — it reminds me I need to spend that time doing something really awesome. In a recent Tim Ferriss podcast, a guest (I can’t remember who at the moment) said it has to be either HELL YES, I want to do that or no.

With Facebook, I deleted that application for a reason. Because it wasn’t doing anything for me — not for my life, my family, my business, or really, my pleasure either. (And by the way, you can even go Google “Facebook feed eradicator” and download it. Wham. Now your Facebook feed is gone, replaced with an inspirational quote. Awesome. I currently have this set as well. I haven’t looked through my Facebook feed for more than two minutes in almost two weeks. Life goes on.)

Related: 4 Daily Habits to Continuously Improve Yourself as a Real Estate Investor

A number of inputs I have been working hard on increasing in my life have been from podcasts, books, and people. And there are a few boxes each of these must check: They must bring peace, mental clarity, and interest, and they must make me think. Or sometimes it’s OK if they’re just plain fun and make me happy. I make sure I’m around the people I truly care for and who I genuinely want to be with.

I want to become a better person every day. I want to learn something every day. I want to enjoy life with people with consistently similar interests, missions, and life goals. I want to be a better dad, a better husband, a better investor. I want to be more chill, become a negotiator and rehabber and to run a better business.

What are you doing every day to be better? This begs the question of…


Who Are You Spending Your Time With?

It’s become more and more obvious to me, through multiple conversations with friends, and by listening to podcasts and books lately, that I must think about who I am surrounding myself with in my world. Do you want to be doing commercial real estate deals? You should be hanging out with people doing that! Do you want to build a cash flowing business or a tech company? Find those people, and hang out with them.

Or do you want to be the best doctor, lawyer, teacher, firefighter, accountant, or salesperson?

Great. What are you doing to be the best? Consider finding mentors, coaches, and friends who do that. Surround yourself with as many people who are smart, kind, willing, and interested in you/life/people/business as you can find. These are the people you want to be around.

Picture for a moment someone you LOVE to be around. See them clearly in your mind. Why do you enjoy their company? They make you laugh. Or maybe they are kind. Maybe they make you think.

Then, think of someone you may have to deal with in work, church, or your community group. Maybe they’re a parent of your children’s friends. You just can’t stand being around them. Maybe they rub you the wrong way, or maybe they’re just not that interesting for YOU. I am not saying they are even bad people, although they could be.

Related: Becoming a Real Estate Mentor Changed My Business (& Personal) Life: Here’s How

I am saying, WHY the heck are you around someone you aren’t really that excited about, learning from, having fun with? Why would you be around someone when you’re not genuinely getting something out of that relationship? (And this goes both ways.)

Life is so short and so easy to let pass by. Why do it with anyone less than amazing people you love and care for, who make you think, with whom you can be honest?

If you want something badly enough, you will surround yourself with the people you need to, earn the experience required, and learn what you need to. Please don’t let another day go by just doing things for the sake of doing things.

Do because it’s a “hell yes!” Or start saying “no.”

How do YOU ensure that you surround yourself with positive influences?

Leave your comments below!

About Author

Nathan Brooks

Nathan Brooks is the co-founder and CEO of Bridge Turnkey Investments, a Kansas City-based company renovating and selling more than 100 turnkey properties per year. With over a decade of experience in real estate, Nathan is a seasoned investor with a large personal portfolio and a growing business portfolio. Just last year, through Bridge Turnkey Investments, he helped investors add over $12 million in value to their real estate portfolios. Nathan regularly produces educational content to fuel his passion for helping other people learn about and find success in real estate investing. He has been featured regularly on industry podcasts such as the BiggerPockets Podcast, Active Duty Passive Income Podcast, Freedom Real Estate Investing Podcast, Fearless Pursuit of Freedom Podcast, Titanium Vault, The Real Estate Investing Podcast, The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show, the Good Success Podcast, FlipNerd, Wholesaling Inc., The Real Estate Investing Profits Master Series, Flipping Junkie Podcast, Flip Empire podcast, Think Realty Radio, and more. He is a sought-after speaker and writer and can be found on stage regularly at events across the country.


  1. Caleb Friberg

    Great article! Couldn’t agree more. I deleted my Facebook a few months ago, it was weird at first but learned to replace it with awesome articles like this. I’m so glad I did because I found bigger pockets, have learned so much and was getting tired of reading all the negative FB posts from so called ‘friends’. Keep it up man & thanks!

  2. Pamela Starnes

    Thanks for the great words and reminders, Nathan. I have been trying to focus on spending my time in more meaningful ways myself lately. I started listening to a lot of podcasts lately (Bigger Pockets, TED talks, etc) instead of other “stuff”…..listening so much that I had to increase my phone data plan because I was listening everywhere I went! A small price to pay for bringing more knowledge and positivity into my life, right? 🙂
    Thanks again and have a great day!

  3. David Beckley

    Great article Nathan. This is exactly the path I’ve been on the last 30 days. Some things that has helped……. a book called “The Miracle Morning” and also a book called “A Happy Pocket Full of Money”. Truly transformational!!!

  4. Theo Hicks

    This is a very insightful article. You hit all the positive vs. negative external influences, but I think that internal influences are just as important, and is where a lot of people are lacking. While swapping Facebook for Podcasting, and swapping bad friends for good friends is important, that still only makes up such a small portion of your day. Most of your time is actually spent in your own head, so the difference between the “glass half full vs. half empty” mentality is VERY important. This is something that I have been working on lately and I have seen a huge, instant change in all facets of life!

    • Nathan Brooks

      Theo I love how you laid that out. Internal vs external. I try to make sure I set myself up best on both of those. Not allow negative people influencing me. And also, work through the times when you are struggling yourself … and how best to work though that. Love to hear what else you do, what else is working for you. Thats awesome you are self aware and able to think through/work on those kinds of things. Thanks Theo!

  5. Hell Yes! I’m going through and deleting phone apps that are time wasters. Thank you for the reminder to surround myself with people that I aspire to be like, not those that bring me down.

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