Taking Action - What's your excuse?

21 Replies

After hearing that my 90-year-old grandfather, who now relies on a motor scooter most days to get around, just returned from a trip to obtain continuing education in order to his civil engineering license active, I realized how silly the excuses we create for ourselves truly are...

If he still has that kind of fire at 90, how much should I have today in my 20's! His drive to stay active, his mind sharp and keep his license just-in-case a neighbor down the hall at his retirement home ever wants to invest in a new housing development! :) 

It begs the question, what's your excuse for not taking action today? Too tired? Too busy? Or just too lazy and worried you might fail? 

I know for a fact my grandfather failed along the way, but that didn't stop his former firm from being responsible for 65% of the new housing developments in his city during a housing boom in 1960's or lead him to hang up his hat and call it quits 30 years ago like others his age.

Take action, you may fail, but you failed forward and you're now ready to get back up and take more massive action. (You should read The 10X Rule if you haven't).

And maybe one day you'll be the retired real estate investor at a retirement home who has a killer development deal for the 90-year-old civil engineer who never quit taking action either.

My theory when it comes to new investors in real estate is what holds them back is lack of knowledge of the market. They just don't know what properties are worth. 

Yes they know plenty about the strategies, they  may even know the formulas to evaluate a deal. but they just haven't gotten out into the marketplace to learn first hand what a good deal looks like. It is too easy to sit behind a computer on BP and learn more strategies.  Going out and looking at properties is work.

@Ned Carey thanks for stopping by and sharing! I think you are spot on. There is a huge difference between information gathering and physically taking action in the field per-say. I am one of those newbies right now, but I’ve been working diligently to find that first deal, combing MLS, Craigslist ads of my own, driving neighborhoods and sending out mailers, dragging my agent and contractor to houses so we can all be on the same page when we do find a good one. And I received two responses this week from mailers and one sounds very promising, I’m actually meeting the owner today to walk his 4 properties. Again, thanks for commenting and for making BP a better place with all the advice you share!
I see it as not understanding and fear .. fear of losing money . Sadly most people have such poor risk aversion especIally about somethIng new . Because of this paralyzing fear ,they miss out on great opportunities! They are so afraid to lose that they lose .. they are so afraid to fail , that they fail . Life is truly a self fulfilling prophecy . Most people are poor because of poor thinking habits *not * poor working habits . There are many people who work hard but are still poor

@Dennis M. , another great point!

I'd say that's why Grant Cardone included an entire chapter on the subject of fear in The 10X Rule...

I love his take (and yours) on fear...

"Sooner or later, you will experience fear when you start taking new actions at new levels. In fact, if you aren't, then you're probably not doing enough of the right things. Fear isn't bad or something to avoid; conversely, it's something you want to seek and embrace. Fear is actually a sign that you are doing what's needed to move in the right direction.

An absence of concerns signals that you are only doing what's comfortable for you—and that will only get you more of what you have right now. As strange as it may sound, you want to be scared until you have to push yourself to new levels to experience fear again. In fact, the only thing that scares me is a complete lack of fear.

What is fear anyway? Does it exist? Is it real? I know it feels real when you are experiencing it, but admit it: Most of the time, what you fear doesn't even occur. It's been said that FEAR stands for False Events Appearing Real, which aptly implies that most of what you're afraid of doesn't ever come to pass. Fear, for the most part, is provoked by emotions, not rational thinking. And in my humble estimation, emotions are wildly overrated—and the scapegoat many people use for their failure to act." - The 10X Rule

I agree, we let fear drive us all too often. And it usually drives us away from doing the very thing that could make us better, happier, healthier, etc.

Make it a great one Dennis!

@Dennis M.

Sadly most people have such poor risk aversion especIally about somethIng new .

Most people mis-understand risk.  Real estate is incredibly risky. However you can reduce the risk to almost nothing with proper knowledge. 

One of my saying is  "I never buy something that I think is a great deal.    .    .    .    I only buy things that I KNOW are great deals." I know the ARV, I know what other investors will pay, I know what it will cost to repair, and i know what it will rent for. OK I may not know exactly but I know well enough that I am not guessing. I am making an informed decision.

Originally posted by @Zach Harsin :

After hearing that my 90-year-old grandfather, who now relies on a motor scooter most days to get around, just returned from a trip to obtain continuing education in order to his civil engineering license active, I realized how silly the excuses we create for ourselves truly are...

If he still has that kind of fire at 90, how much should I have today in my 20's! His drive to stay active, his mind sharp and keep his license just-in-case a neighbor down the hall at his retirement home ever wants to invest in a new housing development! :) 

It begs the question, what's your excuse for not taking action today? Too tired? Too busy? Or just too lazy and worried you might fail? 

I know for a fact my grandfather failed along the way, but that didn't stop his former firm from being responsible for 65% of the new housing developments in his city during a housing boom in 1960's or lead him to hang up his hat and call it quits 30 years ago like others his age.

Take action, you may fail, but you failed forward and you're now ready to get back up and take more massive action. (You should read The 10X Rule if you haven't).

And maybe one day you'll be the retired real estate investor at a retirement home who has a killer development deal for the 90-year-old civil engineer who never quit taking action either.

well I am not 90  but I still do continuing ed on my mortgage bankers license even though I have not used it officially in 6 years and I keep my CA brokers license active even though I have not been there in 18 years  LOL.. its a pride thing.. along with I don't want to have to take the tests again..  but good reminder I need to set up class for this fall for the mortgage bankers CE...  

one thing I like about this it keeps me up to speed on the REAL laws not the hearsay you get on line ..  

AS for taking action for me real estate is a lifestyle I know no other way to live.. growing up in a Real estate family and getting licensed at 18 and working from that day on.. for 40 plus years..  you have ups and downs just like the economy.. but its been a fun ride.. and I really enjoy all the different people I meet.. and take great pride in helping others achieve their dreams by funding their deals and companies.. my job is to make my vendors and clients millionaires that my only job.. 

That's awesome @Jay Hinrichs ! I definitely think it's a pride thing for him as well. I can only imagine how hard it would be for him to let that go after 70 years.... And good point on knowing the laws verse hearing second hand!

Make it a great one,

zh

Originally posted by @Dennis M. :
I see it as not understanding and fear .. fear of losing money . Sadly most people have such poor risk aversion especIally about somethIng new . Because of this paralyzing fear ,they miss out on great opportunities! They are so afraid to lose that they lose .. they are so afraid to fail , that they fail . Life is truly a self fulfilling prophecy . Most people are poor because of poor thinking habits *not * poor working habits . There are many people who work hard but are still poor

 I've found myself in this mindset before... scared that I'll lose the money I've worked hard to save up..... I'm working on changing my mindset to the fact that it's just money! Money can be gained and lost in so many ways... so why not go for something when a person has evaluated the risks and benefits and understands how to minimize risks. I like this thread!

I think a lot of people are simply not equipped to think of themselves as anything other than a success in life, and anything that challenges that assumption or the external appearance of it is to be avoided at all cost.

In the end, this is what vanity does to people, it turns them into fragile things unable to grapple with the crippling fear of being revealed to the world but also to themselves as less than perfect, as most definitely NOT good enough, as "losers" and "failures" and "second-raters" and all the words the most vain among us use for those they think they're a million times better than.

Being able to laugh at yourself and your pretensions is a gift and a great liberation of the spirit. The concepts of "failing foward" and "highest and best use of my time," just make me crack up. The highest use of my time is helping others, not myself. And failure is failure, ignoble, miserable, and soul-crushing. The key for me is not to put lipstick on a pig and delude myself back onto a "winning track" to "get past failure," it's to remind myself that I'm not all that and never will be, and get over feeling sorry for myself.

Thanks for sharing your story, Zach! I'm going to make a weightlifting reference here, but I think it applies.

If you look at countries who dominate the sport of Olympic weightlifting today, you'll see a handful of Asian and European countries. With the advent of social media, the rest of the world is now able to see the way these Asian and Euro athletes are training, how they recover, what they're eating, etc. Turns out, they're not doing anything significantly different from any other country! Of course, someone's going to say "you're neglecting all the drugs!", but all the drugs and steroids in the world do not make you good at the snatch and clean and jerk. 

So how is it that these world record-setting athletes, who are more or less following similar programming to the rest of the world, taking similar supplements, and have the same 24 hours in a day that you and I (and the rest of the world) have, are predominantly from a select few Asian and Euro countries?

I don't have the answer. But I do have a theory, which brings me back to your post. For many of these athletes, succeeding in sport is a way out. A way out of poverty. A way out from how their family has lived for generations. In other words, the incentive structure breeds a sort of tenacity and grit. It forges a mindset that says, "tough times don't last while tough people do." It lights a fire that, under no circumstances, can be extinguished.

This is what we see in the best athletes. This is what we also see in your grandfather.

@Travis Henry another thought... I can't take credit (@Brandon Turner )

I think you are spot on about where your motivation comes from, but another piece of your analogy is are you committed or is it just a desire of yours? I would argue that in your example, those athletes are all the more committed to making it because of what it will do for them and their families. Where maybe other athletes simply desire to be olympic medalists...

Lots of newbies desire to be financially free, to consider themselves real estate investors, but are they committed? All in, full on committed? 

"Difference between desire and commitment is action!" - Brandon Turner

Many of us were just as afraid as anyone else and we also enjoy comfort as others do.  But we have learned that the only winning strategy to overcoming fear and comfort is to learn and improve by taking action every day.

Ill take a bit of a different position here. A friend remarked how he saw my investment success as a model he wanted to follow. Little does he know that I just got lucky like a few others who found themselves with some dollars to spare and some courage to invest in 2010. We have all done very well. But that does not make me a Warren Buffet. I am just a lucky guy and things could have gone the other way if I was 5 years older and had invested in 2006 or 2007. There are no excuses. There is no need to make excuses. There is also no need to get into the investment game if you don’t like it or are not ready for it. And there is no need to look down on those folks. I was one of them in 2005. It for sure did not hurt me then.

There was once a time when I was lazy, I always complained about getting up for work and being proactive. Like @Jim K. said, I was always feeling sorry for myself. I thought that the world revolved around me. Well this wasn't the case obviously, im really not that important. Just another person on this planet. I was always the victim back then.

That's not the case anymore. Im actually very proactive, I love waking up having my cup of coffee and tackling the day, I love working hard and constantly moving. I love change and growth, despite all the fears that are involved with it. I didn't start to enjoy life until I got off the pity pot, put effort into changing me as a person, and helping others along the way. Once I started doing that, my life began to change drastically. RE just happened to get caught in the crossfire, now its becoming a passion of mine. 

@Zach Harsin  fear is the greatest motivator. People will work twice as hard out of fear of losing something they have, then they will work to get something they don't have.  

This reply is going to be explicitly religious.  If that sort of thing offends you, you should probably skip reading this.

In the mid 1990s, my husband and I adopted a little boy from a third world orphanage.  While we fell in love with this child from the beginning, it quickly became apparent that he had severe emotional, developmental and behavioral problems,  He was the kind of kid who got expelled from kindergarten.  I had a nice administrative nursing job at the time, but every time my pager would beep, it was more likely his school or his daycare telling us to come get him.

I ended up having to quit my job to stay home with my son as we could not keep him in school or daycare.  My days became a constant cycle of worry,  IEP meetings, doctor and therapy appointments for my son, loneliness and financial strain due to our income suddenly cut in half.  We were that family with the "weird kid" in the neighborhood -- so I did not even have to solace or understanding of the other SAHMs in our neighborhood..  

I turned to prayer -- specially Proverbs 31.   It helped me get up in the mornings and get what I needed to do done to help my family survive.  I read Proverbs 31 every day-- every single day.  I did this for years.

My son grew  He cycled through pysch hospitalizations and residential therapy placements and special schools.  I look back on that time and only know we only survived through the grace of God.  I revised my goals downward so often I ended up with goals of 1) my marriage surviving and 2) avoiding bankruptcy.  I am happy to say we met those goals. I no longer read Proverbs 31 each morning.

I am now in a different season in my life.  My son is an adult and living independently.  But when it came time to plan for our retirement,  verse 16 popped into my head "She goes out to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard".  I have never the felt the indecision investing that many describe.  More than a little drone, slaving away for her family, Proverbs 31 describes a smart, entrepreneurial woman who takes measured risks and makes them work. (and yes, although my vineyard is small,  I do have a few grape plants and my husband now holds elected local office!)

I guess this is a long way of saying find your own spiritual inspiration.  Internalize this inspiration.  Have your priorities straight.  Be right with God, things will fall into place, and nothing will seem scary.

Originally posted by @Bettina F. :

This reply is going to be explicitly religious.  If that sort of thing offends you, you should probably skip reading this.

In the mid 1990s, my husband and I adopted a little boy from a third world orphanage.  While we fell in love with this child from the beginning, it quickly became apparent that he had severe emotional, developmental and behavioral problems,  He was the kind of kid who got expelled from kindergarten.  I had a nice administrative nursing job at the time, but every time my pager would beep, it was more likely his school or his daycare telling us to come get him.

I ended up having to quit my job to stay home with my son as we could not keep him in school or daycare.  My days became a constant cycle of worry,  IEP meetings, doctor and therapy appointments for my son, loneliness and financial strain due to our income suddenly cut in half.  We were that family with the "weird kid" in the neighborhood -- so I did not even have to solace or understanding of the other SAHMs in our neighborhood..  

I turned to prayer -- specially Proverbs 31.   It helped me get up in the mornings and get what I needed to do done to help my family survive.  I read Proverbs 31 every day-- every single day.  I did this for years.

My son grew  He cycled through pysch hospitalizations and residential therapy placements and special schools.  I look back on that time and only know we only survived through the grace of God.  I revised my goals downward so often I ended up with goals of 1) my marriage surviving and 2) avoiding bankruptcy.  I am happy to say we met those goals. I no longer read Proverbs 31 each morning.

I am now in a different season in my life.  My son is an adult and living independently.  But when it came time to plan for our retirement,  verse 16 popped into my head "She goes out to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard".  I have never the felt the indecision investing that many describe.  More than a little drone, slaving away for her family, Proverbs 31 describes a smart, entrepreneurial woman who takes measured risks and makes them work. (and yes, although my vineyard is small,  I do have a few grape plants and my husband now holds elected local office!)

I guess this is a long way of saying find your own spiritual inspiration.  Internalize this inspiration.  Have your priorities straight.  Be right with God, things will fall into place, and nothing will seem scary.

Awesome story thanks for posting that 

Awesome feedback everyone! I'm going to try and hit each one since I last posted yesterday...

@Mike Dymski - I like how you said it is not only a learned skill but one you must practice daily to push fear to the side! Great point!!

@Sam Josh - Thanks for the different perspective. Great point on waiting it out and having it work out. You could probably argue that someone sitting on the sidelines now may end up in the same position you are 5-10 years down the road where they missed a big correction too. Personally, I'm not putting anyone down for not investing in RE. I could care less about that. REI is what I've found to be a passion of mine and one that I feel is the right move for my family.

The two things I am speaking it is 1) Not reaching my full potential by being lazy or settling in life. 2) I think everyone has a duty and obligation to themselves and their families to be the best spouse, parent, co-worker, employee, friend, citizen they can be... That means something different to everyone, but I think giving life anything less than YOUR best is wasted talent and time. We are only given one life and I want to live it to its fullest in every way possible! I also want to encourage as many others as possible to do the same and go on this ride with me! I hope this is seen as an encouragement to be your best, not putting others down for settling. 

@Brian Ellis   - Love it! No one is going to change your destiny for you. Only you and your actions. If you play the victim, you will be a victim of society, of government, of your circumstances, of your upbringing. I would much rather choose to take action and be successful in spite of those things! Keep taking action.

@Shital Thakkar - Nice Visuals my man! I think that quote speaks to what I mentioned earlier in the thread too, there is a difference between desiring something and taking action to make it a reality. We all possess the ability to do it, but those that don't do it, simply never take action (or not enough persistent action over a long enough timeframe) to make it a reality! I've heard that's a great book, it's on my short list for next to read!

@Joe Splitrock - First, AWSOME last name. My wife's maiden name was Slaymaker, which I thought was pretty cool, but your's might take the cake. Secondly, so true. So very true! Enough said? :) 

@Bettina F. - Thanks for sharing your story. I think you hit it on the head there, we all have our different "why". But ultimately we need a deeper "why" than material possessions and money to make REI truly worthwhile. For me, my why is creating a generational change for my family and being able to give the way my heart desires. I also desire to make a positive impact on those around me, from our contractors and homeowners to the neighbors of the properties we purchase. This and my morning cup of coffee are what excite me to get out of bed each morning at 4:30 AM and start taking action for the day!

Also, there is nothing more powerful than a Proverbs 31 Women!

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