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Stay Positive

A lot of my posts have to do with mindset because I truly believe that success has more to do with mindset than the mechanics of what we want to excel at. I will write about what has worked mathematically but you absolutely have to believe you can accomplish your goal. This seems like a tired old bit of advice but allow me expand a bit.

I was interested in real estate since I was in high school but never acted other than by buying my own house.  I got married to my best friend in my early thirties and had been talking about real estate for a couple of years with her.  She agreed to give it a go and two days after our wedding we moved into our new home and became investors by keeping the house I had lived in. It became rental number 1. She saw the value in it paying for our kids college but I don’t know if she loved the idea of real estate like I did. She knew I had a dream to try it and she supported me.

After that rental we decided we wanted to try another after we had proven the concept. We then decided we’d shoot for ten rentals before retirement – about 20 years. We passed that goal sooner than we had planned and we adjusted our goals. You see, I had a smoldering dream all of those years but hadn’t acted. I didn’t believe in myself. Sometimes we need someone to believe in us more than we believe in ourselves. Every time I doubted that we were ready for the next project she would say, “let’s do it!” And we would. She believed in herself and in me. She gave me the confidence I lacked on my own. She was the gasoline to my smoldering dream. 

I’ve met a lot of people who don’t have a Veronica. Many people have doubts and surround themselves with doubters. They stay in circles with people who have small goals and small expectations from life. Since you can’t marry Veronica – I already got her – you can choose who you want to surround yourself with. Without her I’d likely still be reading books about real estate in my old house. And there is nothing at all wrong with one house but I needed to see what I was capable of. Even if your goal is totally unrelated to real estate, the same principles apply.

Try listening to the people around you. I mean really listen. Listen to the words they use. Is the food always too “something”? Is the government always too “something else”? Is the neighbor always too “something”? What sounds like a simple statement can carry so many undertones that affect our thinking. Negativity can be pervasive and lead to whole groups of people propagating it without realizing it. It’s as if it becomes a social norm to have something to complain about. I recently heard a friend who had bought their dream car and before saying anything positive, they lead with the negatives about things they had found that they didn’t like.

The good news is that positivity can be just as impactful. Have you ever been around someone so positive that it was magnetic? I have. I like being around those people. It’s not that bad things don’t happen to them, they just don’t let themselves be defined by bad things. I truly believe two people can go through the same exact events in a day and have completely different versions of them in the re-telling. We can focus on the negatives in every moment or the positives. We can focus on the nail in our tire as the defining moment of a day or the fact that we have a car. It is 100 percent up to us. No one else. But if you spend time around people who love to complain, you CANNOT help but see the negatives. And I believe we begin to live down to these expectations. I cannot explain the psychology of it all but I know it is a real thing. 

My paternal grandfather was a child of the Depression who did without a lot. He lost a sister to the flu of 1918 and his mother when he was still a child. Hearing him recount his childhood, however, you’d never know it was so stricken with tragedy. He told stories that sounded like they came straight out of a Mark Twain novel with pranks and adventures. He had a sense of humor about life and also a pride that his father chose to raise my grandfather and his siblings as a single parent rather than allow them to be divided amongst relatives. Others living less stricken lives have allowed themselves to be defined by their hardships. This is obviously easier to aspire to than to accomplish but it’s a model for me. It seems especially relevant to our current situation with the COVID crisis.

I write this blog to help pour a little “gasoline” on those who are smoldering. I use the fire metaphor far too often but it just makes sense to me. I don’t have the ability to spend the time I would like with everyone who doesn’t have someone ‘in their corner’. So what I suggest is forming an accountability group. A mastermind of sorts that holds each other accountable to taking action but also cheers on each others’ accomplishments. Don’t allow it to become a whirlpool of negativity that pulls you down into it. Create guidelines that require positivity and honesty. This doesn’t mean that you can’t acknowledge bad things or that you can’t guide someone away from pitfalls the group identifies but it does require you to look for alternatives or ways to mitigate the risks. I am a member of a mastermind group that was formed organically by people who have become dear friends. We don’t compete; we collaborate. We celebrate accomplishments and hold each other accountable to goals we have set. I find this to be one of the keys to our success. And it is now done virtually while we are practicing social distancing.

During these difficult times I encourage you to listen to your own words closely. You are projecting positivity or negativity to those around you whether you realize it or not.  You are also talking to yourself. The same concepts go for social media. I have begun adjusting my settings to stop seeing posts from those people who rant constantly. It affects my energy. The side of their rants is irrelevant. I want to be around those people who are looking for opportunities.

My grandfather wasn’t a rich man at the end of his life but he accomplished something much more important. He was a happy man. It takes work to find the good sometimes but it is there. I look for it and see it everywhere. 

As always, I hope that you are well during this challenge and that you keep the main thing the main thing.


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