When I was a kid, my best friend Ralph and I got into a fight.
Not an argument, but a real old fashioned fist fight.
In the 1970’s it wasn’t as uncommon as it is today.
We played outside almost all day. No video games. No computers. No cell phones. Just bikes, balls, rocks, skateboards, and a whole lot of imagination.
I don’t remember what started our fight, but I’m guessing it had to do with basketball, football, or baseball and on a hot summer day in the Ohio Valley tempers can flare.
What I do remember vividly was that I lost that fight. Ralph was quite a bit bigger than me and he got on top of me and just pounded on my chest as I totally freaked out and cried for help, but no one came to my rescue. It was one of the worst memories of my childhood. The feeling of helplessness. Despair.
Although Ralph and I were back friends again the next day, that memory has never left me.
Last year, much to my dismay, I had a flashback of that traumatic memory as I found myself with a very large man on my chest suffocating the life out of me.
Another fight with Ralph? LOL.
No, it was my first week at Gracie Cincinnati Jiu Jitsu and I was learning to survive what’s called “top mount”. That’s when your opponent takes a dominating position and keeps you controlled on the bottom.
I FREAKED OUT!
Not outwardly, but inwardly, I flashed back to the Ralph fight and felt the same feelings experienced so many years go. Jiu Jitsu wasn’t going to be all that easy—I had some demons to exorcise.
So many of us have these demons.
Moments when we failed. Feeling helpless and hopeless. Despair.
Unfortunately, it’s part of life.
Fighting, turns out, is unavoidable.
Fighting for respect. For your career. For love. Freedom. Fighting for your health.
This morning I started reading a new book by Dave Asprey called “Smarter Not Harder, The Biohackers Guide to Getting the Body and Mind You Want.”
The introduction resonated with me.
Dave shared a concept called the laziness principle which, in essence, is the idea that our body and mind is designed to deal with outward stress in the most efficient way possible. As we go through stress we return to something the Buddhists call equanimity.
Equanimity is the state in which you can remain in control of yourself and be perfectly composed no matter what is happening around you.
Getting to and staying in equanimity is the highest goal of a fighter. (You)
No matter the circumstance you have the ability to make a decision to keep it together or like me FREAK OUT while someone holds you down and beats on your chest.
That decision comes from one of two frames of mind.
Fear says freak out.
Love says, God’s got my back, I’ll get through this a better person.
My real estate career now stands at two decades. One decade as a sales person and another decade as a broker and owner.
My 20 years of experience has made me realize a simple truth—Selling real estate isn’t selling homes at all. For the most part real estate agents sell financing.
Although cash sales represented almost a third of real estate transactions in 2022, most of those sales were by institutional investors. The question becomes “where did those investors acquire the funding?”
Recently I read an article about REIT giant American Homes for Rent who borrowed 500 million dollars to purchase and build rental homes. Or course those homes show that they were purchased with cash, which is true, however, in the end the houses were acquired with borrowed money.
Once I realized that finance is the most important aspect of real estate it dawned on me that I needed to understand more about our financial system and how it operates. So I went down the rabbit hole and began studying everything there is about our monetary system, economics, trading, stocks, bonds, geo politics, the Federal Reserve system, and ultimately I studied currencies.
Why does any of this matter?
If you decide you want to pursue a career in real estate, I would tell you the same thing I tell everyone—don’t quit your day job and build your real estate practice with your spare hours.
Commissioned sales jobs are unreliable sources of income and can leave gaps, your day job can plug those gaps until you have built a business that is self sustaining.
I also encourage anyone who becomes an agent to also be a real estate investor. These properties can provide additional streams of income for later years in your career when you can finally lose the day job.
Becoming an investor requires you to understand the monetary system. How do you raise funds for your next purchase? How do you manage cash flow? Should you invest in other dividend producing vehicles like stocks and bonds?
Ultimately, you won’t fail in real estate because of lack of sales. You’ll fail because you run out of cash. You’ll fail because you haven’t studied the financial system and how real estate, like all assets, is tied directly to interest rates and the direction of the economy.
Do you know that mortgage rates are based on the yield of a 10 year U.S. Treasury Bond? Why would that be important? Is the economy growing? Or slowing? Or crashing?
Do these questions matter to a real estate agent?
The truth is that without financing most homes would be out of reach.
Want to become a real estate agent?
Learn the ins and outs of the financial markets. Decide to understand what real estate agents truly sell—debt.
For over 2 years I haven’t been able to write.
It’s not that I’ve not been able to write, it’s that I have chosen not to write.
There seems to be a mystical force blocking my hand when it comes time to publish and until now I did not recognize this invisible enemy–doubt.
I began writing in 2016. At first, to grow an audience and increase my business, but over time it became something more. By the end of 2017 I created a monthly newsletter, started a weekly podcast and published my first book. My goal–to become a storyteller.
You see, storytelling is the ultimate skill in building an audience and ultimately growing an enterprise.
Good stories have the power to engage, encourage, and inspire. They have the ability to capture attention and elicit action.
Here is the conundrum: to elicit action from your audience you need one very important ingredient–belief.
Author Simon Sinek in his book Start with Why proclaims “people buy what you believe.” In other words, people will follow you and support your endeavor if they can get behind your vision. Where are you going? What is your cause?
That’s been my problem for over 2 years now. I’ve begun to doubt what I truly believe.
Ironically, my beliefs began to be challenged one month after my book (where I published my business beliefs) was published in 2017 and have been in a state of flux since.
When I say my beliefs, what I mean is my underlying core understanding of the world around me. How I view God. Existence. Science. Religion. Discipline. Purpose. The truly important topics in life.
What happens to the human psyche when the very underpinnings of your beliefs are taken from you?
As someone who is finally coming to terms with my new circumstance I can tell you, it’s a traumatic experience.
The first thing you lose is your confidence. Next comes your voice. Then comes loss of relationships. Your beliefs, the foundation of how you view life and business ARE EVERYTHING.
Beliefs fuel your purpose. This is a big deal.
If my intuition is correct I’m not the only one experiencing this phenomenon. You too, might be questioning the world around you. Maybe you’re now entering the same place I was a few years ago and you’re wondering how to move forward with all of these doubts.
I can’t really give you advice, but what I can do is share how I’m coping.
I realized there are some fundamental things that will never change. Creation. The beauty of nature. The wonder of art. The goodness of God and His love for people.
Once I realized that no matter how one views science, religion, or politics, our relationships ultimately are what matters. First our relationship with the Creator, then our relationships with one another.
God is good. He wants me to build these relationships and help people along the way. Despite my confidence. Despite my beliefs. Despite my doubts.
Moving. Building. Investing.