When I first started thinking about becoming a real estate investor, I knew I would have to learn many new things. Over the years as I learned, practiced and became successful something unexpected happened – I noticed my mindset was changing. I began to think about and see the world in ways I had not before.
My background was typical I think. I went to school. I went to college, got advanced degrees. I rose to the top of my profession in local government. I thought I had learned and knew a lot. Real estate investing however opened my eyes to how much I did not know and had not learned in all that time.
Here are five mindset changes:
- Risk is bad / Risk is good – Having gone to school and worked for the government for most of my life before I got into real estate, I was taught that risk was bad. This was not explicitly taught; it was rather subtle over the years. One learns in school not to stand out, just follow the rules and pass the test. In government, most bureaucrats are very adverse to risk. With real estate investing there is always risk. It is how we make a profit. So I had to learn that taking risks (calculated ones) was good. Risk taking can make you successful.
- Change is bad / Change is good – Again schools and government do not like change. I remember always asking why things were done a certain way, especially if it seemed like there was a better way. The answer was “It has always been done this way” or “If it isn’t broke don’t fix it.” I could never stand it when my why questions were ignored or passed over. Perhaps that is why real estate was so appealing, as I could ask why, seek change and implement it. Finding new and creative ways to do things often leads to success.
- Wealth is bad / Wealth is good – The “wealth is bad” attitude seems a bit pervasive today. I had it for a while. I was taught in school that wealth was bad, again not explicitly but it was always in the background. In fact, several of my college professors were open Marxists. They never understood that the wealth I build today rehabilitates my neighborhood and city, employs many people and allows me to expand my business and give back more.
- Businesses exploit / Businesses offer a service – A business will be wiped out if they offer a product or service poorly or one that no one wants. For a business to survive it has to offer something that people want. For a business to thrive, it has to offer a lot of people something they really want. From the above you can imagine that I held the view that any business or business person making a profit was just ripping us off. Of course I got those views from folks who never had to make a profit, face market competition or make a payroll. Looking back, I wonder, what did they really know?
- Entrepreneurs are weird / Entrepreneurs are cool – In my early dealings with entrepreneurs I just did not understand them and though they were a little off. Where do they come up with all of these ideas? Can’t they see that they are just causing the rest of us problems? Today I know better. I like to hang around entrepreneurs. Their ideas and actions are invigorating. I try to surround myself with entrepreneurs as much as possible.
So there you have it, five mindset changes that I went through that I think have made me a better and more successful real estate investor. These changes did not come overnight, rather they developed over time as I met and interacted with new people, real estate investors and others. Don’t have these mindsets? Don’t worry, you can develop them. Seek out successful people you want emulate. Join your local REIA, but most of all get started investing. It will truly open your eyes!
What mindsets have you had to change or develop as you became a more experienced investor? Share with me in the comments section.