Monday, April 27, 2020

Hey! High School Grads

Book Review by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, April 27, 2020
Anything appearing in BLUE is a link to a web site

While listening to Jeffrey Gitomer on his every day morning Facebook live video at 9:59 Eastern Time, he said something that triggered my imagination in a truly great way; hope you agree.

This message is for just about any high school student and all parents and should give them serious, food for thought.  Given the high cost of secondary education whether it is a university, a college or a trade school, you would do yourself and your child a HUGE favor by considering the following.  First a little personal history to put an exclamation point on the point!

In 1963 I went from graduating high school directly to college on my parent’s tab.  It was a state school so the tuition in 1963 was considerably less than a non-state school and unbelievably less than it is today.  I was 18 years old.  No one in my high school (guidance counselors) ever asked me what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I just went to college because that is (1) what most where striving for and (2) parents thought it was the ONLY way to succeed in life.  Both criteria, by the way, were wrong.

In 1963 I enrolled and signed up for a major in Marketing and Advertising.  Why I chose those two is anyone’s guess, just “seemed like the thing for me to do at the time.”  For the record, I hated college.  I stayed in school for 2 years and felt like a round peg trying to be put into a square hole; I just didn’t fit in.  By accident I found a home and a career in the U. S. Coast Guard and that did not require a college education!  Important point! 

Sadly, I don’t know how much my failed attempt at a college education cost or how much it cost my parents.  By disliking it so much, I did not apply myself and my grades unfortunately was evidence to that fact; they were horrible.  It’s the “cost” that this Nugget hopefully addresses and as per Jeffrey Gitomer’s comment on his broadcast this morning, there is a solution that makes so much sense and I hope to herein prove it.

At 18, who really knows what their life will look like 30 years later or at 18, who really knows what they want to do with the rest of their life?  I certainly didn’t and I’m guess that I am/was not alone in that thinking.  I have to laugh at some of the educational majors kids are taking in college and have repeatedly asked, “What on Earth are you going to do with a degree in underwater basket weaving (insert whatever field you wish)?  I didn’t even know there was such a thing to major in.”  Kids are getting degrees in fields that the ONLY thing they will be able to do with their degrees is to find a teaching job that teaches “underwater basket weaving.”  You know this is true.

Here's the idea.  Graduate from high school!  Of course, you should try to get a fully paid scholarship if you can, but most cannot.  Therefore, it is a choice of using your parent’s money, get a part time job or both, in order to pay for a college education in a field that may not even exist by the time you graduate.  As an alternative, and I love the concept of this, as an 18-year-old, get a job, any job.  Do your best at it for two years – set a goal – two years.  Live at home with your parents and if you explain the why to them, they will welcome the why with open arms.  Why would you want to do this?   Let me count the ways:

·       You can save a lot of living expenses in two years
·       You can use the time to mature and figure out what you really want to do for the rest of your life
·       You can save a lot of money over the course of two years to pay for all or part of your own college education or trade school
·       And, you can also use the 24 months to begin educating yourself through self-education on courses and subjects that will help you acquire and hold onto a job now and later in life.  There are numerous avenues for free and low-cost courses you can take including online courses.

Run the numbers.  Let’s say you get a job selling widgets for $10.00 per hour and you work for just 6 hours a day 5 days a week.  Before tax dollars would equate to $15,600 a year or $31,200 for the two-year period.  At that income level it is doubtful that you would pay many if any taxes on that amount but you might.  $30,000 would go a long way to paying for one or even two years of college depending upon your college of choice and that leads me to my next point. 

Unless there are only a handful of universities that teach the actual courses that would lead to your desired profession, you can attend almost any university/college and get a degree if that is your goal.  So why pick out the one university/college that will cost you the most money to attend? Makes no sense! 

Let’s continue with the math.  If you were able to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, that equates to $20,800 a year, $41,600 for two years.  And…if you are fortunate to get a job that pays $15.00 per hour and work 8 hours, 5 days a week, that equates to $31,200 a year or $62,400 over 2 years.  If you decide NOT to go to college because you were able to find a good and lasting job, that money would go a very long way to investing in your first home.

Gary Keller, co-founder of Keller Williams Realty International has the best advice of all – LEAD WITH REVENUES NOT WITH EXPENSES!  This is one way you can do that – get a job – work hard for two years or even three years, live at home, save your money and then pay cash for as much of your education as possible. 

Another life lesson that I learned the hard way was this, you pay more attention to the things YOU pay for and less attention to the things that someone else (parents) pays for.  This applies to a college education, a car or a home or whatever you want to enter into the equation.  It’s a fact of life!

Another life lesson I learned from my good friend, Professional Golfer, Bill Allen, NEVER GAMBLE WITH SCARED MONEY!  What he means by this is that if you can’t afford to lose the money, don’t gamble with it and certainly don’t throw it away.  Throwing money away is what a lot of college kids have done for decades with their parent’s money, me included.  Again, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I took courses that I hated and made no sense to me, as a result, I did not apply myself and my grades reflected that attitude.  My parents should have saved their money!  My initial guess is that you too will save YOUR money if it is YOUR money you are going to spend.  Lesson learned!

Friday, April 24, 2020


How Bad Behavior and Big Government
Caused a Trillion-Dollar Crisis
Book Review by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, April 11, 2020
Anything appearing in BLUE is a link to a web site

  1. RECOGNIZE that you have a problem
  2. Identify WHAT the problem is
  3. Break the problem down into small workable parts
  4. Think through solutions
  5. Find the solution(s) that work best
  6. Implement the solutions! 
Dr. Nicole Saphire’s book, Make America Healthy Again is not what you might think it is.  It IS a book that thoroughly explains our health care and health insurance programs and they are NOT the same thing.  Her book has been eye opening for me when she describes what health care in America actually looks like and what has been wrong with it and then how the insurance programs have failed us all to some degree.  If America does not recognize that it has a problem, it will never be fixed and our current expectation of quality health care in America cannot be sustained.  Therein lies the problem – SUSTAINABILITY!
Many Car Insurance Companies have instituted plans that REDUCE the cost of car insurance IF you can prove that you drive safely.  They have created monitors you install in your car and/or on your smart phone to track your driving habits.  If you can prove you drive safely, your insurance premium is reduced.  What does that have to do with health insurance and this book?  It is just one example of what is NOT happening within the health care and health insurance businesses.

Unlike car insurance, if you can prove that you do not smoke, that you do not drink alcohol or that you drink ONLY in moderation and that you regularly exercise, those attributes will NOT reduce your cost of health care or insurance premiums but it should.  Everyone pays the same price regardless of the status of your health even though you may reduce, if not eliminate, a lot of diseases you might otherwise contract by living a healthy lifestyle.  Using the car insurance as an example, people who can prove these things to their physicians and insurance carriers, ought to have their health insurance premiums reduced.  Without such an incentive, why bother to live a healthy lifestyle without the incentive to do so and believing that someone can fix whatever is wrong with you with “a magic pill.”

Dr. Saphire’s book explains health care and health insurance in America (and to some extent around the world) in a language easily understood.  The key word to concern yourself with is “sustainable.”  A program may work today but will it work tomorrow?  Our heath care and health insurance programs are no exception.  Can they both be sustained?  Dr. Saphire clearly points out that unless something is done and done soon, health care as we have come to know it and benefit from, will drastically change because it cannot be sustained. You will be shocked at who Dr. Saphire considers as being responsible for its potential demise and it is NOT who you might think.

As a result of reading this book, I have a much better understanding of both our current health care AND the health insurance industries.  As Americans I would think everyone would want to have a better understanding of both.  What courses have you taken, or what books have you read, that both identifies the problems with these two massively expensive programs, AND, offers some solutions to ponder that you may not have considered?  This book does both!

Who should read this book?  Without a doubt – EVERYONE!  It applies to EVERYONE!
Would I read it again?  Not necessary but may prove useful as a future resource
Would I give it as a gift?  To my children?  ABSOLUTELY!  For others, yes, if I thought they would actually read it.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Hey Samson, Nice Hair Cut

Written by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, April 11, 2020
Anything appearing in BLUE is a link to a web site 

Most people have heard the story of Samson and how he drew unbelievable strength supposedly from the length of his hair.  Only after he was deceived to cut his hair, was he able to be conquered.  America has just had its haircut with this total shutdown of the economy and the stay at home commitments.  Reference, got the idea of Samson from Jeffrey Gitomer on his daily Facebook video post.

A lot of people are at home and a great many of those people have lost their income.  The Federal Government has taken steps to help but I seriously doubt the monetary help the government is providing comes close to paying their monthly bills.  To everyone, you can sit around and feel sorry for yourself and think, woe is me if you want to and think it is in your best interest to do so.  Not me!  What good would come from such an attitude – nothing.  You can sit around the house and watch the endless parade of “experts” on your television puking about the Coronavirus and you can get depressed.  Been there, done that, but not for long.  What exactly can you do with all this unexpected time on your hands?  Thought you would never ask.

I would begin with searching on Spotify or Pandora or both for music to STUDY BY.  It’s there, I know, I have found it and saved it on a playlist.  This is a crucial step in doing something worthy of your time.  Don’t listen to the radio, it is not that much better than watching television. Radio programming is constantly interrupted with Coronavirus updates and if it is talk radio, that is even more depressing than Corona updates. 

Play the STUDY BY music and select a good book to read.  Do you select fiction or nonfiction?  It really depends on whether you are just killing time or if you want to learn something that could be very beneficial to you in your line of work.  Even more importantly, if you have been fired versus just laid off, there is a good chance that your employment was temporary at best.  This would be a fantastic time to learn a new profession.  Time is one thing in your favor, yes, I said in your favor.  You cannot beat the streets looking for work because you are supposed to be in a stay-at-home status.  Time is one thing you have plenty of.  It typically takes between 3 to 7 hours to read most books.  If you used your time wisely and studied the line of work you were engaged in or study the line of work you would like to be engaged in, in a very short period of time you would be an expert!

Even better than listening to STUDY BY music, why not search for Baroque Music.  Why Baroque music?  Again, so glad you asked.  Studies have been done regarding the AFFECT of music on the brain.  It was discovered that Baroque Music had similar if not the same rhythm patterns of brain waves.  Why is this important to understand?  It is similar to Right Brain vs Left Brain technology.  If you happen to be a Right Brain person, one who likes to play music, paint, create things, you will most likely have a difficult time communicating with a Left Brain person, the mathematicians, engineers, architects, etc.   The reverse of that is also true.  Baroque Music, according to the studies, tends to open your brain to new things and enables people to learn much faster than they otherwise would with no music or music that would be contrary to brain wave rhythms, like rock and roll.  Like the Left Brain/Right Brain issue, you increase your ability to communicate with the material you want to learn vs fighting with your environment while you try to learn and understand.   If you want to learn more about this, here is a link to where it is explained much better than I ever could.

Every business should review their standard operating procedures and physical structures (office environments) of their office/business spaces.  Life as we have known it has changed; our hair was cut!  In fact, our collective heads were shaved!  Are you changing with the times or are you going to resist making changes that your employees and customers will now expect?  As an example, look at your typical corner gas station type businesses.  How much would it cost to install a plexiglass divider between customers and employees?  And while you are at it, why not install a bullet resistant plexiglass divider as we know such businesses have been targets for armed robberies; you kill two birds with one stone!  If you are the owner of a corner gas station, here’s a thought.  Customers are more aware of the dangers of spreading disease by touching things that other people have touched.  Are you old enough to remember when gas stations hired young teenagers for a minimum wage to pump gas for its customers?  Could you increase your business by doing that in an environment where the spread of disease is of a major concern and your competition is not doing it?  It’s just a question but a good one don’t you think?  Would I go to such a gas station even if it meant paying a bit more for the gas?  ABOSOLUTELY especially since I am one of the people referred to as having “underlying conditions.”

General Office spaces.  As an office manager what could you do to help prevent the spread of disease within your office spaces.  First thought for me are the rest rooms – a haven for bacteria.  What can you do now to ensure your employees that the rest rooms they use daily are kept as clean as possible?  How can you convey that information to potential customers and visitors?  What can you do regarding common use equipment like computer keyboards, copy machine terminals, and telephones?  Everything that people touch.  What can you do to insure that as many common touch areas are reduced and/or cleaned to the maximum extent possible?  If they exist, make certain that disinfectant sprays, wipes are readily available.  If you take the issue seriously, consider installing doors that open and shut electronically instead of manually with door knobs and push/pull handles.

I see grocery stores installing protection screens for checkout employees and baggers.  I also see grocery stores of the future installing drive through service for the handicapped or the people with “underlying conditions.”  Imagine giving such people the opportunity to go on line or telephone in their order and then simply drive through and pick it up.  The items can also be paid for online and there would be no need for any interaction other than identifying who you are when you drive through. 

A lot of doctors’ offices have an open reception area where employees are constantly exposed to the public.  I see them eventually being glassed in.  And what about waiting rooms.  Ever sat in a doctor’s waiting room for what seems like forever along with everyone else?  I can see future waiting rooms where there is a lot of space between chairs in keeping with the social distance guidelines.  If I were the doctor and it was my office, I would make absolutely certain that all of the multitude of forms that I require my patients to complete and routinely update, would be online forms.  I would notify the patient that the forms are online when they make their appointments and that they are expected to complete the forms prior to their visit to reduce the time spent in the waiting room.  Of course, if a patient does not have access to a computer there would be no alternative but to give them paper forms to complete.

There will be changes coming.  Here’s a thought about your business.  If you fail to address these issues NOW and instead, “wait to see what happens”, and your competition addresses them NOW, who do you think the customers will choose to do business with?  If you don’t know, I would refrain from operating any heavy machinery like driving a car.

I retired from the Real Estate Business in 2012 after 33 years.  I know the business.  What would I do differently given the Coronavirus Pandemic?  If I were an agent, I would create an information sheet that I would give to every customer I work with.  This is what I would say (you can pick and choose whatever applies or whatever you can change to make it work).  

Dear Customer,

If the recent Coronavirus episode taught us one thing it is that disease can be spread person to person through touch, through the air and/or by just being close to each other.  I have established the following guidelines to make as certain as possible that you and I take the precautions established during the Coronavirus outbreak as serious today and into the future.  Your health and the health of your family is paramount to me as I am certain it is for you.  Therefore, I have established these guidelines and sincerely hope you understand they were created in your best interest as well as mine.

  • No handshaking
  • Stay 6 feel apart as much as possible
  • I will provide hand sanitizers for everyone to use
  • I will provide sanitizing wipes when we tour homes to clean door knobs both as we enter and again as we leave a property
  • I personally will sanitize any pens we may use during the process of buying or selling a home
  • When possible, we will take two cars to tour property, you in your car, me in mine. *
  • Be advised that our office routinely sanitizes all door handles and bathrooms on a regular basis
  • If I as your agent, feel the slightest bit ill, I will ask another agent to work with you as scheduled
  • If you or a member of your family feels the slightest bit ill, please notify me as soon as possible and we will reschedule all meetings, showings and closings.
  • For your convenience our office provides sanitizing materials to be used after each use of equipment provided for both customers and employees; equipment such as phones and keyboards.
  • Agreement:  If I ever conduct my business with you in a manner that you feel is unsafe, I would expect that you would remind me of my agreement with you.  In return, I hope you agree that I do the same with you.

Note (*), I have always taught that this is a good technique to use for agents concerned about their personal safety long before the Coronavirus hit us.  I had an entire class on agent personal safety and how to use their cars to help ensure their safety.  If you are uncomfortable with this, then don’t do it but if you do, explain why you do it.

You get the drift.  Just as if Samson’s hair grew out and he would supposedly regain his strength, America’s hair will grow back and I believe it will be longer and stronger than ever before.  But it may not be the same color as before.  Things will and probably should change.  One such example is the habit of shaking people’s hands.  There is nothing wrong with the way the Japanese bow to each other upon greeting them and maybe we should as well. 

Funny story.  Several years ago, I was playing golf and I noticed that one of the players used the Porta-potty on the 14th hole.  We continued to play and after we finished on the 18th hole everyone started to exchange pleasantries and shake each other’s hands.  Except for me.  On that day, at that time, I started to “fist pump” instead of shaking hands.  My fellow players noticed and asked why?  I then said, and I quote, “There are no wash basins in the Porta-potties.”  They all laughed but from that day, they all started using the “fist pump” instead of the hand shake.  Nuff said!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Must Read For Sales Folks!

A book review written by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, April 6, 2020
Anything appearing in BLUE is a link to a web site

Before I read a book, I am usually well aware of who wrote it and what it is about.  That is why almost all of my book reviews bear 5 stars.  If the book wasn’t worth reading, I knew it in advance and I don’t attempt to read it.  I have rarely been disappointed. I HAVE NEVER BEEN DISAPPOINTED IN ANYTHING JEFFREY GITOMER HAS WRITTEN AND THAT I HAVE READ!  THIS BOOK IS NO EXCEPTION!

I do not like to read reviews BEFORE I read a book because the review may discourage me from reading it.  AFTER I read the book I had to laugh when I read this one: “Part of the book is the author bragging about himself and what he has done.  I then wondered how many people that read that one sentence may have used it to not read the book and that would be a real shame. 

In a sentence, it would be impossible for anyone paying attention to read this book to not come away with a more positive attitude and/or discover something that would make them more productive and therefore more profitable.  Have you heard or read some of the material elsewhere?  Maybe if you read books or attend seminars.  But few people actually read books anymore, at least according to some of the studies I have seen published.

The book is full of sentences and quotes that will or should make you pause and think and then assess the message as compared to your life and your business.  Do these sentences sound familiar as to what you do or not do?  I am not as experienced as Gitomer is in business and sales but I have spent 33 years in the real estate business and have been close with hundreds of agents.  Sadly, I can see a great many of them, as well as myself, on the pages in this book.  Why is someone successful and why is someone else not?  Gitomer spells it out and contrary to the quote above, how can you demonstrate that better than by sharing what you have done yourself?  You do it by having been there and understanding and studying what happened.  You justify what you say by sharing your own experiences.  It is not about theory.  It is life’s lessons learned on the street.

I retired in 2012 after 33 years in the real estate business, as I have stated, and also after another 20 years in the U. S. Coast Guard.  I have worked with and around thousands of people.  I have read all of Gitomer’s books.  But this one inspired me to get up off my retired behind and do something instead of doing what I have been doing over the past 7 years which is basically nothing.  The book inspired me to write a book of my own primarily to give to my own children but who knows where it may lead.  I have already spent hours to achieve that goal and I have Jeffrey Gitomer and his book to thank.

Who should read this book?  Anyone in business but especially anyone in sales.
Would I read it again?  Based on my past history of reading Gitomer’s books, yes.  I have read many of them more than twice.  The YES!Attitude more than a dozen times.
Would I give it as a gift?  Absolutely!