Thursday, February 19, 2009

You And A Tanking Economy

By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, February 18, 2009

“An education will earn you a living. Self-education will earn you a fortune!”
Jim Rohn

Thank about that extremely meaningful quote while considering what Gary Keller said in his book, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent when he referred to having a BIG WHY. What is a BIG WHY? It is the ultimate reason you do whatever you do. Focusing only on the money you earn will do very little in helping you achieve your ultimate BIG WHY if you do not focus on whatever your BIG WHY truly is. Question, is what you are about to say or do leading you toward your BIG WHY or away from it?

I think we can all agree that as of February 2009, the economy is “in the tank.” Just about everyone has been affected in one way or another. I feel truly sorry for people who have not prepared themselves for this to happen. To the ill prepared person, our economy is really a double dose of bad news. We have had 8 to 10 years of pretty good times. Now that the stock market is down, sales are down, jobs are at stake, businesses are closing, and real estate values both residential and commercial are continuing to decline, people who have not prepared themselves for this find themselves over-extended in their monthly payment, living in a home that they may owe more on than it is worth and possibly one person in a two person family has lost their job or even both have lost their jobs. The second part of that dose as a result of the economy is that during the good times, most people, hopefully not you, failed to see the shift coming and did very little to prepare themselves or their business for the shift.

Look again at what Jim Rohn said, “An education will earn you a living. Self-education will earn you a fortune!” I believe that Rohn meant more than a monetary fortune when he used the word “fortune.” I believe he meant that in addition to earning a monetary fortune, you will also learn valuable mental and physical skills, emotional stability and the knowledge that you can survive in any market or economy. Unfortunately you do not learn such skills in conventional schooling.

Gary Keller said that “the only time you can grow your (real estate) business is in a down market.” That, in my opinion, is true for almost any business. If you have the proper mental attitude, when you believe you cannot fail, when you have the knowledge and tools to do the right thing at the right time, this economy truly IS a place where you can grow your business. I found it fascinating watching what Warren Buffett does when the economy turns. Instead of selling off his assets, he is buying troubled assets knowing that in time most if not all of these “troubled” assets will eventually recover. When that occurs, his net worth will increase dramatically. Is it no wonder that “the rich get richer” and usually do so when the economy turns one way or the other.

Gary Keller also said that our market (referring to the real estate market) is neither up nor down; it IS what it IS at the moment. Is it trending one way or the other? Absolutely! Each of us has a choice. We can either “CO-MISERATE” with others who will listen (that is my Joe Tye training) or we can choose to make a good situation out of a bad one. If you made a lot of money over the past decade when things were good, imagine what you could have made if you had the mindset to prepare yourself for what Peter Kuhn of MEDSEEK called a “global reset.” Is that not what is occurring on a global basis? A global reset? I love that description. A global reset!

Look what happened in Florida. Florida has no personal income tax. The weather is about as good as you can get in America year-round. Life is good in Florida. As a result, people were moving to Florida by the thousands if not millions. As a result, real estate values were escalating at alarming rates but not alarming to people who already owned homes. For those folks, the escalating real estate values were outstanding. The values were adding tremendous paper value to their net worth. Everyone was happy. It was not unusual to purchase a home and see its value literally double in 5 years. Who ever said, “All good things must come to end” must have been from Florida. There is a point where the affordability of an increasing housing market had to reach a point where fewer and fewer people could afford to buy. When that happens, the housing market MUST make an adjustment just like the stock market oftentimes does. The huge difference is that normally you do not have to sell off your stocks unless you absolutely need the money. Housing is different. When a homeowner’s property value declines and for whatever reason they MUST move, there is no choice but to sell at a loss. Hopefully the lower property value does not decline to the point to where the homeowner owes more than the property is worth. Unfortunately that is what has happened in such markets as California, Florida, Nevada, and New York.

If these states were totally isolated, the declining markets would not affect the remainder of American markets but they are not isolated. On the contrary, what affects one market eventually affects all markets. Our national news media did not help by predicting the “housing bubble burst” over 7 years prior to the current adjustment or reset. In time, they eventually had to be right. Even a broken clock is right twice every twenty-four hours. I personally believe that the national media with their unending “news” stories about a pending real estate bubble burst helped to cause our current problems by publishing and feeding the scare that followed. The result? 2009.

Our elementary, middle, and high schools and our college educations are what Jim Rohn meant when he said an education will earn you a living. That type of education in addition to junior colleges, community colleges and trade schools gives a person the right to enter a career field. In my case the real estate pre-licensing education gave me a piece of paper, a license, to sell real estate. If that person’s education stops at graduation, his or her ability to earn a fortune STOPS! I know of no school that teaches personal relationships, money management, goal setting, attitude development (and I don’t mean a negative or “I’m special” type attitude), or self-education in general. Look at celebrities or sports figures. It is a good thing that they earn a fortune based upon their good looks or extraordinary athletic ability because most of them would not earn a dime based upon their attitude or what they say in public. They are the exception, not the rule! Yet we idolize these people.

The person who will succeed in this economy will be the person who has developed a self-education program. The person who realizes that the status quo is insufficient. That no other person truly cares about their future or their goals to the point that they will work to help insure their desired future or goals are achieved. Obviously this might exclude immediate family members. It would also exclude those rare individuals who learn not only to develop their own careers but to also serve a personal mission to share their knowledge and wisdom with others so that they too may develop their careers. Joe Tye said, “You would worry less about what other people think of you if you knew how little they thought of you.” I would like to suggest that YOU would also worry MORE if you knew how little other people worried about you because your future is totally left up to you. As the Midas Muffler commercial said, “You can pay me now or you can pay me later.” People (certainly not you) who fail to fully grasp the importance of making a plan for their self-education and then making a plan to take action on their plan are destined, for the most part, for mediocrity and even failure. Successful people are learning based people. They are typically self-educated people who have learned the training and proper attitude to adjust, adapt and cope with their environment. They are prepared! They are learning based! Are you?

Are you really learning based? Think so? How many books do you read? How many seminars do you attend? How many non-required classes do you attend? How many educational CDs or DVDs do you watch or listen to? When you read, listen or watch, are you engaged or are you simply going through the motions. Can you remember what you learned 4 weeks later or even 24 hours later?

I have found that a great many people stop their learning because they feel they “know it all” and any additional reading or courses is much ado about the same subjects and topics. Therefore they see no value in reading or attending. It has been said that people must do the same action at last 21 times in order for that action to become a habit thus guaranteeing its results. Remember a habit could be both good (prospecting for leads every day) or bad (smoking for one). I doubt that the first cigarette someone smoked tasted good. I would bet that it took days if not weeks to get use to its taste and the associated throat ailments that accompanied smoking; like 21 days maybe? If it took that long to develop the habit is no wonder it takes at least that long to stop it? I believe you read books and attend classes to both reinforce what you have already learned (and probably are not doing) as well as what is new that you should at least give a try.

From my own personal experience it absolutely amazes me how many times I am faced with a situation and are shocked at the seemingly “right words” that flow from my lips. I oftentimes stop and ask myself, “Where did that come from?” It came from something I may have read 10 years ago or last week; words that did not come from a news program or reality TV. If you were to ask me to recall something I read 10 years ago or last week, I may or may not be able to do so. But when you are flowing with the moment, your unconscious recollection kicks in and out pops just the right words or actions at the right time.

I did not always feel this way. In fact I did not read a book between my college days and when I reached 44 years of age, I am now 64. What caused the change in attitude? A suggestion by Lee Shelton in his audio tapes “Creating Teamwork” when he suggested everyone should read “I’m Okay; You’re Okay!” which I did and that started me to think and then created a desire to read more. In the last 20 years I have read over 500 books, (I don’t say that to boast but only state a fact), I have attended an undeterminable number of seminars, classes, conventions and I have listened to who knows how many tapes, CDs, or DVDs. Self-education became an addiction; not all addictions are bad.

Jeffrey Gitomer asks, “How much of your success is result of watching the news, reality TV or unending re-runs?” In case you-know-who is reading this the answer is none!

It is never too late to engulf yourself with self-education. If you don’t start now, when will you start? When the economy gets better; resets again? Do what you love; love what you do! If you truly love what you do, you will also create a self-education plan to get better at what you do. If you want a personal mission statement that works, try this one:

Mission Statement: To be the best I can be at being a ____________! You could add, salesman, car dealer, doctor, dentist, teacher, golf pro (had to put that one in), mother, father, son, daughter, uncle, aunt, real estate broker (there I go again), name what you want to be best at.

Then use Joe Tye’s Direction-Deflection-Question (DDQ):

Is what I am about to say or do consistent with being the best ___________?

If YES, do it; if NO don’t! It all starts with a plan!

If you would like a list of the books that I would highly recommend along with a brief explanation plus internet link to the author’s web site, send me an email to and enter BOOK LIST in the subject line.

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