Pura Vida

Recently my wife and I visited Costa Rica. Wow, what a great trip. We enjoyed it so much that we are planning to go back in the near future. I even made a video about it if you’re interested. I’ll put the link at the end of this post.

One thing that really hit home to me on this trip was the idea of  just getting away and its importance. Taking the time to remove yourself from the work-a-day-world and experience something different, new, completely relaxing or exciting is an amazing thing. It rebuilds your drive, your focus and your spirit. I had a wonderful time, spent some quality time with my wife and eternal companion and just rested and relaxed. I also found that upon my return I was better able to handle the stress, meet my deadlines and complete my work than I had been prior to the trip. I now better understand “recreation.”  Take the word apart and you’ll see what I mean.

Now, I hasten to add that I am not talking about completely rebuilding yourself from the inside out into an entirely different person (even though for some people that might be a good thing). I’m talking about re-aligning ideas, re-focusing thoughts, re-ordering priorities and re-identifying the things that are most important to you. When we rebuild ourselves within the realities and structure of our existence, I believe we can and will experience greater success, greater joy and greater progress in our undertakings, whether they be financial, physical, emotional, mental or spiritual.

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I guess I’m a bit like a flashlight. When my batteries are fully charged, I shine brighter. I’m sure that’s true with you too. I sincerely hope that you, whoever you are, get the time and the opportunity to re-create and recharge yourself too. Below, as promised, is the video I mentioned earlier.

 

 

Don’t march in the parade.

Watch out. Here they come. The parade is about to march on by.

You are about to be barraged with another round of real estate promises, profit projections and programs that “are sure to make you rich.” Yes, you’ve heard it all before, but today is different isn’t it? Now, this time, because of the recent recession and drop in prices, it will really work. Now is the window you have been waiting for. Right? … Wrong! The recession happened for a variety of reasons. And those reasons still exist.

It has been said that life is a wheel and that what goes around comes around. That’s true. But,  it is important to recognize that life is not only a wheel, it is also a parade.

Every time I see another “remake” of an old movie I saw as a kid, I have to wonder why the producers are not smart enough or creative enough to come up with something new.  Sadly, the fact is, they don’t need to. So it is with those that promote the promise of real estate profits. Like it or not, the same old promises that sold programs 10, 20 or 30 years ago still sell today. Not because they really work, but because there are a whole batch of new buyers that just don’t know any better than to buy. Thirty years ago it was me and my friends. Today it is our kids. In the relatively near future it will be our grandchildren. The parade will continue to march on by with new participants, and they will once again spend unbelievable amounts of time and money on the proven failures or the past. Despite their self proclaimed altruism, the promoters that sell these programs obviously find it easier and more profitable to sell the promise of real estate riches than to actually produce it themselves. If they really knew how to do what they claim, they would be guarding that secret in Fort Knox.  Not selling it to possible competitors as part of a magical coaching package.

The facts are simple.  Just like a holiday parade, at the appointed hour, you can expect the marchers to trudge on by with bright colors and big smiles.  While the clowns wave enthusiastically to the crowd, there will be wise and prudent real estate professionals who will watch the parade go by, while quietly amassing amazing amounts of real estate wealth. That is the nature of the business. So, is it even possible for you to make money in real estate? Of course it is.  But you will have to do it as a professional. The men and women that capitalize on real estate have always shared important traits with their successful predecessors. Knowledge, intelligence and hard work.

So if you are serious about making money with real estate, here’s my advise. “Finish your homework, know the market and do the math.”  The benefits for those who pay the price are amazing. On the other hand, if you don’t want to pay the price in time and effort, you can jump in with both feet and find real estate to be an easy business. An easy business in which to loose huge amounts of money. Here’s wishing you success.

 

 

Thank you for making my life better.

The other day I stopped into a 7-11 to buy a healthy lunch of a hot dog, chips and a diet coke. (I am as you know very health conscious.) Anyhow, as I checked out, the young man behind the counter asked how I was doing. I answered honestly. After all, it was a warm day, the air was fresh and clean, I was having a pleasant peaceful day without stress.

I said, “Thank you for asking. You are very kind to be concerned and I can tell you that life is great. Great day. Great weather. And now a great hot dog for lunch. All things considered, my life is better than I deserve.”

His response surprised me. He stood silent for  maybe two or three seconds looking directly at me. Then he explained that he had spent the morning dealing with people who were rude, ill tempered and demanding. “They all seemed to be very unhappy”, he said with a delightful accent, “and that made me unhappy too.  Then you come in here with a big smile and some nice words. You have made me feel better. You have made me happy again. Thank you for making my life better.”

I sensed from his sincerity that he actually felt better. Then I realized something very important. Perhaps my positive interaction with him had in fact made his life better. Furthermore, I knew for sure that his positive response to me had improved my day. And I told him so.

I gathered up by hot dog and chips and headed out the door. As the door was closing I heard another customer say “hi, how are you” to the clerk. To which he responded. “It is a beautiful day. It is warm and fresh and wonderful.” His customer glanced out the big front windows and said you know, you’re right. I put my drink on top of my car while I opened the door and glanced back in the store. The young man was looking my way and when he saw I was looking back, he smiled a big warm smile and waved. My hands were full so I nodded back to a new friend.

As I drove to my office I couldn’t help but wonder how many people we each touch, for good or bad, every day through our simple acts of kindness or thoughtless disregard. I think it is like having a contagious disease. Without even trying, we all share things with the people around us every day. The question is what are we sharing? I then committed to personally smile more, have more gratitude and tell others when they have made a positive difference for me. If it is that easy to make things better, I have no excuse for not doing so. I want my wonderful life to be contagious whenever possible.