Monday, October 31, 2016

If The Shoe Fits...

If The Shoe Fits…
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, October 31, 2016

In reading “How To Succeed, or, Stepping Stones to Fame and Fortune” written by Orison Swett Marden in 1896, that is not a typo, 1896, I was struck by the following paragraph, I emboldened portions for emphasis:

“Don't wait for a higher position or a larger salary. Enlarge the position you already occupy; put originality of method into it. Fill it as it never was filled before. Be more prompt, more energetic, more thorough, more polite than your predecessor or fellow-workmen. Study your business, devise new modes of operation, be able to give your employer points. The art lies not in giving satisfaction merely, not in simply filling your place, but in doing better than was expected, in surprising your employer; and the reward will be a better place and a larger salary.”

Note:  This book, as are many of Marden’s books, is available as a free Kindle version on at

Why did this one paragraph strike me so profoundly?  Until 2012, I had been involved in real estate sales since 1980, well over 30 years.  During that time I was primarily involved as the Designated Broker for several real estate firms and that required soliciting, interviewing and hiring men and women to become licensed real estate agents.  I know of no other profession that required so little initial financial investment or so little investment of massive amounts of personal time to learn the trade and yet reap bountiful financial rewards regardless of gender, race, creed or political persuasion.  A licensed real estate agent can, with the emphasis on the word CAN, make a great deal of money selling real estate but most will not. 

If there is one thing I had learned from all those years in the real estate business and the hundreds of interviews and hires, it was the misleading message of the preceding sentence where I wrote, “make a great deal of money selling real estate” with the key word being “selling.”  I do not know what the actual percentage is but it would be my guess that the huge majority of real estate agents do exactly that, sell.  But is that what their actual job is, selling?  I have never believed that and that is exactly why so many people who become licensed real estate agents find that they are never really any good at it.  Yes they close some sales and yes even some make a lot of money doing it but that is really not their job description. 

During my years as a Broker I was also a trainer of real estate agents.  I would ask the question.  “What do you do for a living?”  Most would say I sell real estate.  Really?  Is that what they do?  Do any of these agents actually own the real estate they claim to be selling.  Except where they sell their own properties, the answer is no.  Since no is the answer, how can they sell something they do not own?  They cannot.  I also suggested that whenever someone asks you what you do for a living, most people ask that question more as a question typically asked of a stranger as an opening statement than out of a real desire to know what it is you do for a living.  To prove my point just review some of the conversations you have had with people you had just met for the first time.  Point made.  I suggested real estate agents reform their response.  “I am in the transportation business, I help people get from where they are, Point A, to where they want to get to, Point B in the purchasing and/or sale of real estate.”  You tell me, which answer would tweak the interest of the other party, I sell real estate or I am in the transportation business as stated above?  I know the answer because whenever I would say that to someone it would elicit a big smile on their face and usually encourage them to ask for more information.

The real problem for most real estate agents and I would assume for most people in almost any profession is that once they become qualified to engage in their business, whether that is through a licensing program such as in real estate or they graduate from college with a degree in a specific field of interest, it is at that point they stop learning.  They do the least that is expected of them and in some cases they become successful more by accident than by design or they become mediocre at best or a failure at worst.  If you apply the 80/20 Rule, only 20 percent will become successful, 80 percent will not.  Why?

Thought you would never ask.  One sentence taken from Marden’s quote above states, “Study your business, devise new modes of operation, be able to give your employer points.”  As a licensed real estate agent, you are an independent contractor and as such YOU are the EMPLOYER of yourself.  I cannot speak for all businesses but I can for the real estate business.  I have seen studies that indicate people in sales rarely read a book on the business of sales; not one!  How sad is that?  To put this in perspective, would you want a surgeon to operate on your heart who obtained his or her medical degree 30 years ago and who has never opened a book or attended courses since to learn new methods of medicine and more specifically heart surgery?  I know you would not; who on Earth would?  So why would a buyer or seller of real estate want a real estate agent who obtained his or her license and then ceased to “study your business” and Fill it as it never was filled before.”  Or simply put, BECOME THE BEST YOU CAN POSSIBLY BECOME AND THEN SOME!  It will NOT occur by accident, it occurs by studying your business and that happens because of developing a self-education plan that you create and apply to yourself not because someone requires you to take a course to continue as a licensed real estate agent; rather because you want to.  You learn when you want to become educated not because someone else requires you to take a course.  You learn when you KNOW what you DO NOT KNOW and you want to LEARN MORE or as Marden states, “study your business.”  If you are reading this and you are in real estate sales, can you honestly say that you really study the real estate business, sales, relationships, real estate law, etc.?  If you can, you are obviously part of the 20%; if not you are part of the 80%. If YOU were to be in a position of buying or selling real estate and YOU desired to hire the services of a licensed real estate agent, would you want to make your selection of an agent from the 80% or the 20%?

If you are currently part of the 20%, do you have a self-education plan in place to insure you remain in the 20% of real estate agents who study the business because if you do not, you will soon become part of the 80% as the NEW 20% agents pass you by.  Therein lies what I personally have seen within the business I love, real estate.  A lot of agents become successful but they also stop learning.  Burnout soon follows, then what?  They become stagnant, they get out of the business or worse, they become a legal liability to the broker holding their license.

I realize that this Nugget is more about the real estate business but it applies to every form of business whatever that may be.  Is it not possible that you could become a better doctor, teacher, watchmaker, plumber, mechanic, jeweler, etc, by becoming a student of your profession – FOREVER.  By “forever” I mean you make it a personal decision to never stop educating yourself and you do that by reading, by attending courses, by going back to school and if you really want to be the best you can be, become a teacher of your profession to others.  Teaching others is when you become a master at your trade.

Think about what Marden said in 1896 and it is more applicable today than even in his day:

The art lies not in giving satisfaction merely, not in simply filling your place,
but in doing better than was expected, in surprising your employer;
and the reward will be a better place and a larger salary.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Golden Goose

The Golden Goose
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, October 23, 2016

Recently while driving I half listened to a radio broadcast by someone who unfortunately  I don’t know who it was.  Yet his statement struck a nerve that has lasted ever since I heard him speak the words.

He talked about the “Golden Goose” in regards to a person’s retirement. 

IF, and that is a HUGE IF, if a person in his or her twenties began setting aside money into their retirement fund it is like feeding their Golden Goose for their retirement years.  But as time goes by and people want to buy a home, buy a car, or whatever reason you can think of, their first thought is that they have this “Golden Goose” just sitting there that they can tap for such purposes.

What these people think, hopefully not you, is that the money is there and they can replenish it later and after all, it is just sitting there doing nothing for them.  WRONG!  It is involved in one of the real wonders of the world, COMPOUND INTEREST.  Their “Golden Goose” is getting larger and larger every day, week, month and year.  Yes, they are in their twenties and most, certainly not you, can’t see the time come when they MUST rely upon their “Golden Goose” to produce for them into their retirement years.  As they begin to deplete their “Golden Goose” today, they are forfeiting their life style of the future.  If they have no “Golden Goose” available to them in their retirement years, what do they plan to live on?

In theory you want your “Golden Goose” to continue to pay you money from the interest it earns and you NEVER touch the Goose itself.  That becomes impossible if you use YOUR “Golden Goose” as your backup instead of a sound financial plan now.  You and your Golden Goose should grow older together.

The days of receiving a “retirement pension” from the company you work for are becoming very scarce and it is incumbent upon every person to create their own “Golden Goose” retirement plan and that cannot wait until you retire.  You must do it and do it beginning when you are young and then continue to “feed” your “Golden Goose” every chance you get.  The best advice I have heard in this regard was that from day one of your employment, no matter what age that begins, contribute at least 10% of your income every payday to feeding your “Golden Goose”.  Then as you advance in position and income, you add an additional 10% of each pay increase you get to the original 10% from your pay checks.

It is very easy to say that “it can wait until later”; actually no it can’t!  If you are depending upon a business and/or the government to fund your lifestyle into retirement, you will find yourself with no “Golden Goose” to fund that lifestyle.  Then what will you do; work until you can no longer work or rely on the pittance you receive from Social Security.  Surprise, unless something is done soon, there will be no Social Security funds available to you when you reach retirement age as the Government fails to take action to secure the Social Security program for you and others.  Our politicians know it is going bankrupt and they do nothing about it!


Friday, October 21, 2016

Trump's Non Agreement to Accept Election Results

Agreement To Accept Election Results
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, October 22, 2016

DISCLAIMER:  I am NOT a Donald Trump supporter; quite the contrary.  But neither am I a supporter of Hillary Clinton; they are both very flawed candidates!  PERIOD!

Trump said that he was not going to necessarily support the election results that will take place on November 8, 2016.

I have a question for everyone who thinks they would have answered differently.  Are YOU prepared to say you will do something TODAY that will not happen for 2 or 3 weeks or maybe even 50 years or more?  People take wedding oaths stating they will remain married “until death do us part.”  How is that promise/oath working out for everyone?  How can you take that kind of oath TODAY that REQUIRES an acceptable behavior from a THIRD PARTY (meaning not you) to perform at that standard for the rest of your lives?  What if your partner simply leaves you?  What if your partner turns out to be a drug addict and/or alcoholic and abuses you?  Are you going to live up to your promise to stay together “until death do you part?”  Doubt it!  How can a presidential candidate say he or she will accept the results of an election that may or may not be fraudulent?  Who has not heard of votes from dead people being counted in Chicago elections?  Can an election be fraudulent?  Can you remember the defective “chads” in the Bush/Gore election?

Are elections now being conducted via the use of the computer?  Of course they are!  Can computers be hacked?  Of course they can!  If computers with the highest level of security, i.e., the Pentagon, can be hacked what makes anyone think that the computers at local and state computer polling stations can’t be hacked?

Do you remember when 17 Republican candidates stood on stage and they were all asked if they would ultimately support the winner of the Republican Presidential race and they all but one agreed and even he, Trump, later agreed he would.  How is that even possible?  How can you agree before the first debate that you will support the ultimate winner because you have no idea what is going to transpire between the first debate and the ultimate outcome?  The winner, Donald Trump, is proof of this.  You simply cannot, so why would you say you would when you know there is the potential that you will not?  How many of the 16 Republican Candidates are now supporting Donald Trump when they all said they would support the eventual winner?  By my count only 4 GOP candidates are now supporting Trump.  Where are the other 12?  Did they violate their own promises?  Absolutely they did and what is worse, they knew from the very beginning their promises weren’t worth the paper they signed them on. 

Do I agree with what Trump said in regards to accepting the results of the election?  Absolutely I do.  I would much prefer that statement than having him say he WOULD only to later dispute the election results.  What about you?  What would you have said?  If you say you would make such a statement/agreement that far in advance of the outcome, you may want to check the True/False meter.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Give Me A Break!

By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, October 11, 2016

There are many things I do not like about Donald Trump but his policies are not among those dislikes.  The recently released tape is evidence of why I do not like Trump.  However, I really dislike and distrust Hillary Clinton more than anyone in my memory who ever ran for public office except for David Duke.  I could make a list of what she has done and not done that would easily fill two pages.  There is absolutely no way I could ever vote for her thus advancing her personal agendas that have nothing to do with advancing America.

So let’s talk about the released tapes.  DISCLAIMER:  I cannot speak for women for I know not what they say, have said, have done, and/or think that would qualify me to speak for them.  I would assume they have their own issues with words they use or have used.

With that said, what struck me was that the tape is almost 12 years old and suddenly the day before the second debate it mysteriously surfaces and no one seems to question that technique.  It is obvious to me that the news media is an accomplice in the release of and the timing of the release of this tape.  Conclusion, the news media and the Clinton Campaign are working together to prevent Trump from winning the election.  On the very next day, Wikileaks releases thousands of Hillary’s emails the content of which is very damaging to Hillary yet the news media is focused on the release of the Trump tape and not on what Hillary has actually said she believes and what she will do if or when elected.  You do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what is happening to our election system. 

Trump is right when he says the election is rigged.  It is being rigged by the Clinton Campaign where her supporters write off ALL of her actions as nothing but politics.  It is being rigged by the news media that have obviously in my opinion taken sides both of whom are working to derail Trump.

What Trump said is despicable.  But before any MAN condemns him for what he said, we all need to take a look in the mirror.  I am 71 years old and I know what men have said throughout my life and I would hate to have someone recording what I and “most” men have said.  I have heard just about everything that could have ever been said about women, about minorities, about Hispanics, about politicians, about neighbors, etc.  Anyone who says they have not used such words or have not heard such words will lie about other things as well.

The problem is that it is now 2016 and the public seems to worry more about “words” than “actions!”  I find that deplorable.  Universities have set aside areas where people can talk freely as if free speech no longer exists throughout our Universities.  Politicians couch every word they use and most are pre-tested by focus groups to determine how they resonate BEFORE they are spoken or written.  If you are a minority it seems permissible to say whatever you want about another group like the police with immunity from responsibility.  Everyone seems to be able to put down others who claim they are Christians; others who are gun owners and the lists go on and God forbid you ever claim to be a Republican or Conservative. 

What I see happening within the 2016 Presidential Election is that (1) the news media has taken sides, (2) Hillary who has a political record to defend is not defending it because the news media refuses to address it, (3) Trump is committing the worse political sin of all, he is fighting the establishment on both sides of the aisle but especially within his own party.

Fighting the Establishment:  Who is the establishment?  They are the men and women within our governments who by being elected to office, realize that the only way they can advance their power and financial base is to unite against the people who put them in office in the first place.  Anyone who comes along like a Donald Trump or a Bernie Sanders who both ran against the Establishment, did so knowing full well that they would be attacked as they both have been because they threaten the futures of those who currently hold power.  Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life primarily to insulate them from the political whims of Congress and the President.  While that has not worked very well, the members of Congress and the President are not as lucky or sheltered and must periodically run for election/reelection thus they will say and do anything to be reelected and retain their position of power and ultimately pad their pockets in the process.  There has never been a more definitive representative of this than Hillary Clinton.  Recently leaked emails clearly show that she defines one personal belief/opinion in private and a totally different personal belief/opinion in public.  Which ones (plural) are we to believe? 

Even more despicable than Hillary Clinton are her supporters who clearly overlook her lies and deceit because she represents the “party” and therefore MUST BE supported at all costs.  Proof of this is the Democratic Party itself.  Have you heard of just one elected Democrat that condemned her for any of the many lies that have been proven to be true  Not one has stepped forward.  Not only have they not condemned the lies and deceit, they attack the leaker instead of the content of the leaks.  Compare that to what the Republicans did when President Nixon should have resigned; many stepped forward and called for him to resign.  Then there is Bill Clinton who also lied and did so under oath and not one Democrat called for him to resign; not one. 

If ever you wanted proof of just how corrupt our governments (federal, state and local) are you need only to consider what the various Parties will do and not do to keep their “people” in office

For what it is worth, I changed my political party affiliation from one of the two major parties to a much minor one.  It may be an insignificant individual protest against the status quo but other than my actual vote it is the only thing left for me to express my total disgust with the people in power and the “Establishment Politicians.”

If I had a platform to expose the evils of the status quo like the morons in Hollywood or the news media have I would use them both but I do not and my guess is neither do you.  If ever America needed a grass roots revolution to unseat the Washington Establishment it is NOW!  Will it happen?  NOPE!  Of that I rest assured and so can you; it just won’t happen!  So you and I are left with the remnants of what use to be a proud and respectful country.