I have been successful because I am good, but not great.
I am an 80% girl. I put about 80% of my effort into the endeavors I take on — because I can’t do it all at 100% effort, and doing it all is important to me! What are you losing by striving for that final, elusive 20%? Are you losing more than you are gaining?
I see a lot of the “all or nothing” attitudes. Just the other day, a poster on the BiggerPockets Forums asked, “Which path would you go down? My dream is to travel, so do I get a $100k MBA or I do buy my first house? I can’t do both!” I found myself thinking, Why can’t you do all 3: travel, MBA, and buy a house? Maybe not in the same way, or maybe to a lesser degree of perfection, but still — it’s possible to take all of those on!
While I was thinking about this, I remembered an article I read early that day from one of the blogs I subscribe to. The author was talking about one of her readers wanting to do “mini” retirements. Working, playing, then working again. With the goal of being able to work and play and not just work to “eventually” play. That he’d had a health scare in his late 20s and realized he wanted to do it all.
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What Do You Lose With the Pursuit of Perfection?
It made me think. With the desire to be perfect, what are you losing? If you are reading this article, it is because you are an overachiever; otherwise, why would you be on BiggerPockets? You are the minority who wants to be successful at something the majority would never attempt, let alone succeed at: real estate. Are you missing something? Are you so focused on one goal that you miss the other? I am successful because I am a jack of all trades, but a master at none. I am a multi-tasker who believes that doing it all is more important than being perfect in ONE area.
I have an MBA from a good school (Texas A&M Corpus), but not the best school (Yale). I worked full time during my graduate program (debt free) but only got good grades (3.2ish), not amazing grades (4.0). I have a website/blog growing at 10% a month or so, but I know I could grow it at 30%+. I am writing an ebook on self-managing from a distance, but it is taking 4+ months instead of 2+ months. I meet my husband on about 70% of his business trips for 50% of the trips’ length. And so on…
Dabbling in a Little of Everything
Here’s the thing — I get to do it all! I am a well-educated wife with a Master’s Degree. I work full time and manage 11 houses. I own 5 houses with my husband at 27 with another 2 in the works. I travel the world, and I am still building our future. I graduated from graduate school debt free and still worked, allowing us to put a decent nest egg away. Yes, I’m sure people have scored higher individually because to be honest, I couldn’t be a perfect landlord, wife, employee, student, etc. and meet a level of perfection.
While you are preparing for tomorrow, don’t forget to live today. It is important to set yourself up for the future, but you can play, too! You don’t have to be perfect. Your investments can be a third base hit, not a home run. You can go on a trip, or go for less instead of none, getting a higher education degree at a “lesser” school that still has good name and is accredited, and that’s still worth something.
We can do it all. It has its stressful moments, and I don’t do as well as those who are “specialists” in one of the areas. But I have done more and am in a better position than all those specialists combined because individually, they haven’t done it all! How many people do you know who at 27:
- Owns 5 houses (soon to be 7 by July *fingers crossed*)
- Works a full time W2 job
- Writes weekly for BP
- Is launching a blog and business
- Makes spending time with their spouse a priority
- Maintains a social life
- Cares for a cat who likes to be in the middle of it all
- And still watches way too much TV? 🙂
The point is, the sky is the limit! You can do it all — it might just be at a lesser degree. You don’t have to wait until tomorrow to live; you might just need more of a taste for beer than top shelf wine. Yes, there will be moments of sacrifice needed to in order to get through a period. But that is a “phase,” not a lifestyle.
Don’t forget to live and enjoy life, too! You only have one life, so prepare for the future by being cheap in some areas, frugal in others, thrifty in most and extravagant in a few. Think the food pyramid with “splurges” at the top and “cheap items” on the bottom. The only person limiting you to perfection is yourself.
What do you think: Would you rather be perfect in a few areas or have it all at a lesser level?
Weigh in with your comments below!