I want to start with some resources. If you feel like you need some direction for your personal finances, we strongly recommend the book The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. His simple system helped us get out of debt and feel confident that we could start this real estate adventure. While he wouldn’t agree with our use of debt in real estate, I still find his concepts useful for those of us who were never taught about personal finance or never found it interesting. This helped us build the financial foundation to grow our business. It also taught us what was really important in our lives and how unimportant most material things were to our happiness.
Hungry – Adjective
1) feeling an uneasy or painful sensation from lack of food
2) Eager, Avid
It is said that in investing you need Money, Knowledge, or Time. While I mostly agree with this, the key to any of this working is the desire to succeed. At the end of every Bigger Pockets podcast, the interviewers ask the guest “what do you think sets apart successful investors from those who give up, fail or never get started”? The fact that this question is even asked tells me that there are a lot of people who fall into the latter group. When I’m asked this on the podcast (yes, being interviewed on the BP podcast is a personal goal), I’ll say it’s a lack of hunger.
When you are physically hungry you will do things for food that you won’t do after a big meal. You will eat things you wouldn’t eat if food was plentiful. This is similar to the type of hunger I am talking about but this one is a hunger to succeed – in whatever it is that excites you. We’ve all met someone who seemed to have been given everything they could ever want by well-meaning and well-to-do parents. Some of these people go on to be successful and others flounder. I believe it is because you can’t teach the hunger. Each person has to find their own. This is why we talk about our “why” so much. It is part of what keeps us hungry. If your “why” is big enough and important enough to you, I guarantee you will find your hunger.
The other three components can be shared to make a deal happen. You can combine your money with someone else’s time and experience to do a deal. But even with plenty of money you need hunger to actually get in the game. And that takes courage. There is some risk in any type of investing. Risk is reduced by knowledge but if you try to accomplish zero risk, you will get zero return. I’m talking to myself here, too.
Behind this hunger we need a belief in ourselves. This is another thing that is difficult to teach. This is why self-help books are so popular. We’re all telling ourselves at times “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me” (old S.N.L. reference – you young investors) to convince ourselves of our potential. I believe in the ideas of affirmation and the power of positivity. You have to believe you can. I find reading books and listening to podcasts gives me motivation and reminds me that I am just as capable as these guests and authors.
When I found that I was born to be a firefighter, I wanted to be the best I could be. I worked in restaurants in college and when someone cut a finger while slicing lemons it would sometimes make me feel woozy. This, I thought, could be my kryptonite in my chosen profession. Like seasickness to a sailor. When I promoted I had a choice to go to EMS or not. I chose to go. I was striving to be great and I knew that to face my fear was the only way to overcome it. I went to months of schooling and clinical rotations and I overcame my aversion to blood by being exposed to so much of it. I felt so accomplished that I could now lead firefighters into burning buildings and to cut finger calls. The truth is, I’ve seen some terrible things but wooziness never distracted me from the objective of helping people who needed us since choosing to overcome my aversion. I believed I could because I had friends who supported me and particularly a sister who told me I could. She always told me I could. I always believed her. We all need those who remind us that we can when we forget how capable we are. Find your cheerleaders. Surround yourselves with positive people.
My father-in-law says, in regards to coming the United States, “No venimos a ver si podemos. Porque podemos, venimos”! Which translates to “We didn’t come here to see if we could. We could; so we came!” They burned the metaphorical boats and didn’t allow for doubt. They started from scratch and worked two jobs with three little girls to make ends meet. They accomplished the American Dream by way of hunger (physical and psychological) and a belief that they could. We all can.
I hope that your life is great and that your bellies are full but if you are struggling to get started, I hope you stay hungry. Throughout it all, keep the main thing the main thing!