Why the Small, Seemingly Insignificant Actions You Perform Daily Are VITAL to Your Success

by | BiggerPockets.com

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day.” –Jim Rohn

Many new investors believe that success in real estate is all about making a few good decisions. If they could just get lucky, learn a few tricks, and find those good deals, they wouldn’t need to do anything else. These people fail.

The road to success is paved in small, seemingly insignificant decisions you make on a daily basis. Finding good deals has nothing to do with luck or how hard you look but rather how much knowledge you have when something comes up. That knowledge takes a lot of time to acquire.

Just this week I met with with someone who has a few pieces of land and a 3,000 square foot house stripped down to the studs. Everyone, including a few other real estate agents, told him to tear it down and sell all of the land. When I walked in, I noticed the house could easily be divided into three 1,000 square foot sections. We looked up the zoning and within a few minutes came up with a plan to sell some of land and use the proceeds to turn the big house into a triplex and build a duplex next door. He’s going to retire now.

Related: Compound Interest: Einstein Loved It — And You Should, Too. Here’s Why.

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The Power of Consistency

Knowledge works like compound interest. It starts slow and can take a long time to build up to something you can use. When I started investing in real estate, I averaged one investing book a week for about four years before I was able to see possibilities others didn’t know were there. But the only way to get to that point is to spend time every day learning how to be better. There is no other way.

The biggest problem I encounter with new investors is them giving up when they don’t get results right away. When you start dedicating time every day towards your dreams, almost everything you do will seem insignificant. It’s the same as deciding to be healthier by eating a salad for lunch one day. The first one doesn’t make a difference. The 100th salad probably won’t make a difference, either. But a year of eating salads will make a difference. The same goes for real estate. When you start learning to be better, almost everything you do will be insignificant, but it’s that decision you make every day to keep learning, even without results, that will determine how far you get.

The 10,000-Hour Rule

Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers wrote about the 10,000-hour rule. He says “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness … an extraordinarily consistent answer in an incredible number of fields … you need to have practiced, to have apprenticed, for 10,000 hours before you get good.” At 40 hours a week, that’s almost five years of focusing on one thing to be great at it. Not seeing results right away is why so few people make it to greatness. They quit before compounding has a chance.

Your future and what you’re able to accomplish will be determined by compounding interest on your knowledge. How fast it compounds and how quickly you see results is determined by how much you add to it every day. I believe that if you can spend less money than you earn and add to your knowledge every day, you can have the future you want. You can do the things you dream of. I work with people every day who have achieved this. It’s an amazing thing.

Related: Putting “The Compound Effect” into Action in Your Real Estate Business

What you can do today to start compounding your knowledge and achieve greatness:

“Many people take no care of their money until they come to the end of it; other people do the same with their time.” –Jim Rohn

What actions do YOU perform every day that contribute towards your investing success? Do you believe in the 10,000-hour rule?

Let me know your thoughts with a comment.

About Author

Brett Lee

Brett Lee is a licensed Real Estate Broker in Portland Oregon where he helps people achieve a better future so they can do the things that truly make them happy. Brett is also a buy-and-hold investor, property manager and investment advisor.


  1. Interesting article. I also am injecting my cranium with lot’s of knowledge. However, I feel it’s not just about Real Estate knowledge but also and maybe even more importantly, improving our mind set, and many of my books and courses are about improving my way of thinking.
    All the knowledge in the world wont help if your not in the right frame of mind.
    I’m learning, and I got a long ways to go. But, I’m in a much better place now than before.
    Let’s make some MONEY…..

  2. Scott Trench

    Brett – You continue to be one of my favorite authors on the BiggerPockets blog time and again. This is an excellent article and advice that I’ve been trying to follow day in and day out.

    I also just finished reading, “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy. He makes an interesting point that you touch on here. I’ll summarize in my own words:

    When you begin to take these little actions day after day, the results are barely noticeable. You might adopt excellent habits for three months, with no result. Then 6 months pass, and there is still no noticeable difference between you and your peers. Then a year. Then 18 months. Still nothing. Then, (Darren’s point) at around 27 months (less than the four years you mention here, but same train of thought) the differences begin to seem obvious, astronomical. There can be no ignoring them.

    Thus is the power of the compound effect. So excellently pointed out here.

    Thanks again!

  3. Jeremy S.

    I like this article. This method is something I practice day to day. Back in college while I was broke I started reading personal finance and investing books even though I had no money. I am now making good money in my career and I am making smart choices with what to do with that money. I moved onto focusing on learning about real estate investing. When I am financially in the position to act on my first deal, I will have the knowledge to do so.

  4. Trevor emmett

    Great Article Brett! I am currently reading “Think and Grow Rich”(Napoleon Hill) and just before I read this article I had just finished Napoleon’s thoughts on the very subject. After reading this I immediately flipped back to a quote, “Knowledge is only potential power.” Napoleon expounds on the fact that knowledge is nothing without action. The action is as you describe it, not sudden and explosive, but sustained discipline. It is my personal opinion that the small act of reading and discovering everyday leads to a restlessness in the person and ultimately leads to either despair and abandonment of the focus,” They quit before compounding has a chance” as you so aptly pointed out OR they apply their accumulated knowledge to create value and are then rewarded for their actions. It is getting to the point of frustration and pushing forward!

  5. Pearline Hardy

    Perfect timing for me. I’ve had a trying couple of weeks and although I know I wasnt going to stop real estate, I was really feeling like giving it a break because Ive been so fruatrated and second guessing myself a lot. This article just reminded me when deals are falling through or not coming in, I got to keep doing what I have control over, and not to sweat the other stuff. Thanks for the article.

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