Tuesday, January 15, 2019


Looks Like I Was Right; Who Knew?
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, January 16, 2019
Note: Words appearing in Blue and Underlined are links to their respective web sites

“Reduce your decisions to no more than two alternatives!”

From his course, Optimizing Brain Fitness
Note:  I took the on line course offered through The Great Course Company


NOTE:  This Nugget applies to ALL REALTORS® and to anyone buying a home.

Over three decades ago I created a course and wrote a handbook on Working With Buyers; of course I mean buyers of real estate.  I also wrote one Working With Sellers. The course described how most REALTORS® show homes.  They would select hopefully no more than 5 homes to show on any one day.  Showing more than 5 only serves to confuse the probable buyers.  Once you have selected the homes you intend to show this is what I taught them to do:

1.   Try to arrange them where you show an occupied home first, an unoccupied home second, then an occupied home, etc.  If for some reason you and your probable buyers take more time looking at an occupied home or you run into traffic issues, you can then skip the next UNOCCUPIED home and go directly to the next occupied home on your list.  If all of the homes are occupied you obviously cannot do this but if you can, you will avoid difficulties with sellers by not showing up on time.

2.    DO NOT give to the probable buyers any information on the homes you plan to show.  Repeat, DO NOT give them any materials to review before you enter the home.  If you do, they will bury their heads in the materials you give them and pay little attention to what you say or what you show them.  Give them materials on the home you just showed as you leave the home.  Give them a folder in which to store the materials you give to them.  Tip:  If your probable buyers bring teenagers with them, treat them individually as you would two adults.  In other words ask them questions, give them copies of the materials on the home, etc.  Get them involved in the process.  It is very important to explain to them that none of the homes they are about to see are owned by you.  Therefore they cannot hurt your feelings if the homes being shown do not match what they are looking for and the ONLY way you will be able to better serve them is if they are honest in discussing their likes and dislikes regarding the homes you have shown them.  And…”Mr. & Mrs. Buyer, I hope you don’t mind if I ask you if you want to buy this home.  If I forget would you remind me?”  You might be surprised when you know they are obviously interested in a home being shown and you do not ask them if they want to buy it.  They WILL remind you.  A definite buying sign. 

3.     Follow the above procedure for the first home you show your probable buyers.  Give them a positive expectation of what they are about to see but DON’T UNWRAP THE GIFT until you actually get into the home. 

4.     As you enter the home, announce your presence even though the home may be unoccupied.  It is just a courtesy to the sellers should they be in the home.  Once inside, tell your probable buyers that they should experience the home as they tour it and to ask any questions they wish.  You should point out to the probable buyers the features and facts about the home that are NOT OBVIOUS.  I remember the very first home I showed and the first thing I said was, “This is the living room!”  As if they couldn’t tell.  As they go through the home this is your opportunity to dig deeper into what the probable buyers are looking for in their next home.  Ask them to compare their current rooms to the rooms in the home you are showing.  Listen for words that will help identify if they are visionary, auditory or kinesthetic (feelings) type of people.  Once you identify them you can modify your language to adjust to their styles.  For example if they are visionary, you use words like see or imagine.  Auditory, “can you hear your family’s joy during Thanksgiving dinner in this spacious dining room?”  Etc.

5.      You then move on to the second home you have selected and you repeat what you have done above.

Now is the time to revisit Dr. Restak’s quote from the beginning of the Nugget:

“Reduce your decisions to no more than two alternatives!”
Dr. Richard Restak

Dr. Restak validated what I had taught so many REALTORS® over the years.  Home buyers are no different than anyone else; it is hard to keep them focused on what is important when you give them too many alternatives to choose from.  This is where both buyers and REALTORS® can take a lesson from Dr. Restak. 

The next step.

6.     You now have the buyers in your car after seeing the first two homes you have selected when you say, “Mr. & Mrs. Buyer, bear with me; I would like to play a little game.  Imagine that the two homes you just viewed were the last two homes on the planet.  With that said, if you had to buy one, which one would you buy?”  Then say nothing.  Let them discuss what they like and dislike about the two homes you showed them.  You will learn a great deal about their needs, wants, desires and preferences in the event you do not show them something that they would ultimately buy.  They will however select one whether it meets their needs or not and then you take the papers from the home they rejected, crumple them up, and literally throw them on the floor of your car.  You have just reduced the number of homes being considered to just one and in keeping with Dr. Restak’s quote above.

7.      Then show them the third home on your scheduled tour of homes.  After they view the third home you repeat step 6.  You have seen three homes and they have rejected two and are back to considering only one home.  Keep in mind what Dr. Restak said; “Reduce your decisions to no more than two alternatives.”  At this moment they are considering only one.  You may at this time ask them if they would like to buy the one home they have accepted; why not?  Remember you prepared them for this question earlier.

After you follow the above procedure for all the homes you have selected for them to see, you should be down to just the two to select from and you again ask them which one would they buy?  You may have just sold them a home, if not, do the same thing the next time you show them homes.  But the next time you should be armed with far more information than when you started because they are discussing what they like and dislike after each two homes shown that they toured and that is a very good thing to know.

When I heard Dr. Restak say what he did during the course I was taking on line, the light bulbs in my head immediately lit very brightly as I remembered the above tips on showing homes to buyers.  If you are a buyer reading this and you do not have a REALTOR® it still applies, keep your decisions to just two homes; which one would you buy?  If you ARE a buyer who is reading this my advice would be to sign on with a reputable REALTOR® otherwise you are like someone walking a high wire without a net.  A REALTOR® can find you the right home and help get the best possible price and avoid the myriad of pitfalls you could find yourself in without the help of a professional.  This is especially true if you are considering new construction.

One more hint for REALTORS® and this is a tip from Jeffrey Gitomer The Sales Bible (you should read all of his books, they are great).  I used the phrase “probable buyers” throughout this Nugget.  Most agents say “possible buyers” or “potential buyers.”  Can you see and understand the difference?  You treat people differently if you first assume they ARE going to BUY and buy from YOU!  So why not think and talk like you believe it?

Sunday, January 6, 2019

SUGAR, what you may not know




Would You Knowingly 

Feed This To Your Children

By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, May 17, 2017
Modified January 7, 2019




GYMBEAUX NOTE:  I originally wrote this Nugget and posted it in May of 2017.  I have slightly modified it by adding additional information.  I feel so strongly about this subject that a great many people have consciously or unconsciously ignored.  THIS IS IMPORTANT INFORMATION!

This Nugget is about ingestion of Sugar; it took me over 70 years to understand it.  Do not be misled by that statement because I did not study Sugar for all those years, I just ate my way into becoming a Diabetic instead.  Think about that for a moment.   The following is one definition of Sugar as found on the Internet:


DEFINITION OF SUGAR

1a :  a sweet crystallizable material that consists wholly or essentially of sucrose, is colorless or white when pure tending to brown when less refined, is obtained commercially from sugarcane or sugar beet and less extensively from sorghum, maples, and palms, and is important as a source of dietary carbohydrate and as a sweetener and preservative of other foods  b :  any of various water-soluble compounds that vary widely in sweetness, include the monosaccharides and oligosaccharides, and typically are optically active
Here is a link to an easily understand description of how sugars enter the body:  https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/vodold/sugars.htm
The following is a definition of converting grams into teaspoons from the Internet:  “This important bit of information is your key to converting grams into teaspoons. Four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon. To be precise, 4.2 grams equals a teaspoon, but the nutritional folks round this number up to four grams.”  Actually it rounds it DOWN to 4 grams, not up to 4 grams. 
What does this mean to someone like me a non-scientist and someone who has not done a lot of research on the subject?  I had some time to kill at a supermarket near the checkout counter.   There were several coolers near the counter containing all sorts of soft drinks.  I looked at the newest bottle of Coke with the Green label and the word “Life” on it suggesting that somehow this Coke might be better for you than the regular bottle of Coke.  The Life Coke listed 45 grams of sugar according to the label.  The “regular” bottle contained 65 grams of sugar.  The bottles were 20 ounce bottles and were meant or designed that one person would drink from the bottle as compared to a 2 liter bottle that typically is dispensed by the glass.  Here is a photo of the label:





Sugars, 65 Grams!  Using the definition from above, 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon, I did the math for you, 65 grams of sugars (plural) equates to 15.47 teaspoons of sugars.  I was shocked to discover these numbers because frankly, I grew up learning about ounces and gallons, not grams and liters.  Labels like this previously did not exist as I was growing up.  To me, 65 grams was no big deal primarily because I did not have a reference point for what a gram actually represented.  But when I saw the equivalence of 65 grams of sugar meant eating over 15 teaspoons of sugar, it sickened me.  I looked further.  3 teaspoons equals 1 tablespoon which most of us are even more familiar with.  Back to the math.  15.47 teaspoons of sugar is the same as eating 5.15 tablespoons of sugars.  Would you intentionally do that if you knew what you were about to do?  Would you intentionally feed or allow your children to scoff down 5 tablespoons of sugar?  I think not!

I am not picking on Coke products; I am trying to make a point.  I love Snicker Bars, who doesn’t. But how many sugars are there in a Snickers Bar?  Look for yourself:




May be difficult to read; it says 30 grams.  This label comes from a Snickers Bar that weighs 2 ounces or 58.7 grams (there is that word again).  Back to the math.  30 grams of sugars equals 7.14 teaspoons of sugar or 2.38 tablespoons of sugar.  Would you feed your children 2.3 tablespoons of sugar?
On behalf of the people my age who probably did not grow up learning about grams and liters, I wish these companies would speak English or at least the English I can understand.  Would you drink a coke if it said this is equivalent to eating 5.14 tablespoons of sugar?  Or a Snickers Bar if you knew you would be eating 2.3 tablespoons of sugar.  I think not!

Why do all the nutritional labels use grams and liters?  Is it to intentionally make it impossible to understand the contents of the product?  Or is it just 2017 and while the world understands grams and liters, only the younger Americans might, with the emphasis on the word might, understand the contents of the product.

Here is the solution!  Whenever you see any product that you are about to buy, look at the Nutritional Label and more specifically look at the sugars indicated and MULTIPLY THAT NUMBER BY 4 and then think of TEASPOONS OF RAW SUGAR.  Knowing that ingestion of a lot of sugar is probably not in your best interest, would you intentionally put that much raw sugar into your mouth?  Probably not, but in the case of the product you are considering purchasing, the raw sugars are disguised as good tasting Coke or a fabulous tasting Snickers Bar meaning the Nutritional Label is probably ignored as I did for years and years.

Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor nor pretend to be one.  Before you make changes to your diet, check with a doctor who should know about these things.
Having said that, you do the math, especially when you consider your children – 4 grams of sugars EQUAL 1 teaspoon of sugars.  12 grams of sugars EQUALS 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Would you intentionally give your children that many teaspoons or that many tablespoons of raw sugar to eat?  If not, why would you give them products that do?  Asked he who is now a Diabetic and takes insulin daily.

Final note.  Check the boxes of breakfast cereals on the shelves before you randomly put them into your shopping cart.  For example, Raisin Brand, sounds like it would be good for you, right?  Wrong!  Check the sugars. 

From the Internet:  One cup of Post Raisin Bran has 190 calories. This cereal also has 1 g of fat, no cholesterol, 250 mg of sodium, 320 mg of potassium, 46 g of carbohydrates with 8 g of dietary fiber, 19 g of sugar, 19 g of other carbohydrates and 5 g of protein. Keep in mind that cereals with added fruit have higher sugar content, as the fructose or fruit sugar, must also be taken into consideration. In comparison, Post Bran Flakes, a cereal similar to Raisin Bran, but without the raisins, has 5 g of sugar per ¾ cup serving.

Therefore when you think you are eating a healthy breakfast cereal, you are actually downing 19 grams of sugar or 4.75 teaspoons of sugar or about 1.5 tablespoons of sugar.
Even worse, how many children add raw sugar atop their bowls of cereal that already have a significant amount of sugar in them?  Look around.  How many obese children do you see every day?  A lot more than there should be.  Could it possibly be related to their sugar intake both consciously and unconsciously?  My money would be on YES!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

UNDAUNTED, a book review



A Book Review


UNDAUNTED, Surviving Jonestown, Summing Courage, Fighting Back
Written by:    Jackie Speir
Reviewed by:  Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown January 3, 2019




Personal Note:  I am old enough to remember the massacre at Jonestown where over 900 people were murdered and Congressman Ryan was murdered.  Congresswoman Speir was a staffer for Congressman Ryan and she was shot multiple times and as she struggled to survive, Congressman Ryan’s lifeless body lay only feet away.

This is one of the more interesting books I have ever read.  Everyone goes through life and experiences its ups and downs but Congresswoman Speir has certainly had more than her fair share of downs followed by significant ups.  In my opinion she is a remarkable woman and her story needs to be heard.

This book is about facing life’s challenges and staring them down.  It’s about in her words, “getting over it!”  The book is a lesson for everyone as to what personal focus and raw determination will accomplish for you provided you learn how to use both as Congresswoman Speir has and continues to use.

A word of caution:  If you consider yourself anywhere right of the political center, you may find portions of this book objectionable.  In the early part of the book Congresswoman Speir lays out what her personal beliefs and principles are and they are without fault.  But I found several contradictions between her principles and her actions.  For example, she is for women’s rights and sexual abuse victims’ rights yet she supported Hillary Clinton who in my opinion was one of the biggest enablers who permitted her husband to not only abuse women, she attacked the women he abused.  Not what I would call consistent.  Of a larger concern, at least for me, is that she aligns herself with the Democratic Party and expounds on her Catholic upbringing and faith.  I find that a contraction of the highest order.  The Democratic Party (including Clinton and Obama) supports Planned Parenthood who through abortions have killed more people (and yes babies are people) than the number killed during WWII. 

As great and as admirable as her story is, such contradictions take away from the overall story because they do contradict her principles and beliefs. 

Still, the book is a very compelling read.  I hate to use the overused phrase that it is a book that I couldn’t put down but it IS a book I couldn’t put down.  In spite of the contradictions, I admire her work ethic, her tenacity and her vision.  She IS to be admired!

Who should read this book?  Anyone who wants to read a real life story that should motivate anyone who might be facing obstacles in their life and isn’t that everyone?

Would I recommend it to a friend?  ABSOLUTELY and already have!

Would I buy it as a gift?  ABSOLUTELY!

Will I read it again?  Probably not because once you read it you understand what she writes about and how she reacted to serious adversities in her life.