Just before midnight Saturday night, I got a call from a lady named Cindy, a local girl scout troop leader. She told me that my daughter Cassie was frantically afraid and wanted to come home from the camping trip that she was on with Cindy’s girl scout troop.
Cassie is 8 years old, and she fell victim to some older girl scouts who thought it would be a good idea to tell her and some other very young children scary stories about flesh-eating cats with glowing eyes. And apparently, stories about flesh-eating devil cats are very scary to 8-year-olds who are susceptible to such things. I don’t blame Cassie and the other young children. If I was 8 years old and on a camping trip and was told that cats would eat my flesh, I’d be afraid too.
Predictably, Cassie became very afraid. Furthermore, after she got home, she still had nightmares all night. All in all, a very bad experience as a direct result of some immature behavior by some girl scouts and insufficient supervision by their leaders.
But there are two other very relevant sides to this story:
- My older daughter Kayla (age 11) was at the same camping trip, and she wasn’t bothered by the scary stories. She’s very pragmatic and doesn’t believe everything she is told. She tends to observe what’s happening and come to her own conclusions. So to her, it was enough that she knows that the older girls were just trying to scare her. Kayla didn’t become frightened, because she knows that even though cats do have glowing eyes, this doesn’t mean that they eat human flesh.
- My very vindictive ex-wife loves to pounce on things like this. It’s in her nature to suggest that it was bad judgment on my part to allow Cassie to attend this girl scout camping trip, and that I should have known that scary stories would be told and that Cassie would be terrified. Furthermore, she’ll suggest that her judgment would have been totally different and that she would have insisted that Cassie not participate in such an event to begin with.
What’s the relevance of this story to you as a real estate investor?
All of the bad economic news has had a big impact on the real estate business in the past several years. And it seems like there’s never an end to the horribly negative coverage, despite the clear evidence of positive changes. So here’s the relevance of the camping trip to you as an investor:
The old news media (like ABC, NBC and CNN) is much like the older girls scouts in this story. The media is telling all kinds of scary stories with a grain of truth (cats really do have eyes that glow, and there really are more foreclosures now than ever before). But they inject meaning into such facts that are not rational (glowing eyes do *not* mean that a cat consumes human flesh, and an economic recession does *not* mean that the government has the ability or right to take over and operate banks, car companies or anything else). In the cases of both the older girl scouts and the old news media, there is a separate agenda. (For the girl scouts, the separate agenda was their own entertainment; for the old news media, the separate agenda is to increase awareness and acceptance of mindlessly short-term political policies.)
My ex-wife’s presumed reaction is akin to the advice you hear from friends and family about the real estate market: They all presume to know best and think that you’d be a fool to do anything that disagrees with their perception of the world. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? These are the people who are a part of your world and who think they are qualified to express an opinion about your circumstances and insist upon doing so. They tell you you’ll lose money, that you can’t win, and that you’ve never been successful in the past. They focus on risk, not opportunity. And almost without exception, their advice is better ignored (and sometimes ridiculed) rather than followed.
That’s where you come in. You get to choose whether to have a purely emotional reaction (which leads to worry & nightmares) or a more rational and mature reaction (leading to clearer vision and better analysis of opportunities). You see, there is a lot of good news out there (including clear evidence in declining rates of decrease in home values and strong seller’s markets in many parts of California and other previously decimated areas). And there has been good news to focus on for many months now, but that’s not what the media has focused on.
All you’ve heard about is unemployment, foreclosures, recessions, depressions and gloom and doom. But what’s the rest of the story? Isn’t it possible that there is more to be done… that your best days are still ahead of you? Isn’t it possible that your reality does not have to match the “reality” being pushed by the old media? Isn’t it possible that optimism mixed with creativity and opportunity can yield results in your life far beyond what you’ve ever experienced before?
My friend, I know exactly what it’s like. I’ve been in a situation where I made more money per month than many medical doctors make per year – and then something happened in my life, and it all vanished. Every bit of it.
And I felt sorry for myself for a long time. Ultimately I got over it, but not soon enough. The thing I did wrong is that I didn’t put a “statute of limitations” on myself. Do you know what that is? In the law, a “statute of limitations” refers to a time limit during which a person can be prosecuted for a type of crime. After the statute of limitations expires, the person is no longer at risk of prosecution.
If you’ve experienced some difficulty in the recent past, consider adopting a statute of limitations for yourself. Make a decision that you’re going to give yourself a week to sulk, cry and be mad at the whole world. But after that, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and make the type of magic that you know you’re capable of.
I believe in the power and hope of the individual. I believe in you. I do not believe in big companies. I particularly do not believe in the big government. But the power and potential of a focused individual is beyond the realm of understanding for those who have never tapped their own potential. That’s why I direct so much attention to unconventional strategies like Bulk REO Investing and Self Storage Investing: They’re great ways to capitalize on the dynamics of the economy we live in right now!
The past year and half have been very big for me in terms of learning, and the really big lesson that I’ve learned is how I’m going to close this post:
The person who lives with an attitude of contentment and gratitude is wealthy, regardless of their financial circumstances. And the person who exemplifies those attitudes tend to find more than their fair share of financial reward, even when that isn’t their primary motive.
Your thoughts and comments are welcomed. Thank you for reading http://realestate.BryanEllis.com