Lessons From a Reptile
Investing in real estate is one of the best ways to grow wealth and increase long term financial security. Even though economic markets go through volatile changes, real estate has a very strong track record over time. People have a desire to own land. People need places to live. Real estate meets a fundamental need of humanity and you should plan on investing in real estate as a long term investment strategy. But you need to have the right mind set for success and you must take the right approach.
Aesop’s famed fable, The Tortoise and the Hare, is a story about a slow moving tortoise and a swift, confident hare that compete in a race. The hare is clearly better equipped for a race, but confidence leads him to take a nap after the race begins. When he awakes he finds that his slow-footed competitor has arrived to the finish line before him. There’s a lot to glean from this story, so let’s see how we can apply it to real estate investing.
The hare was the easy favorite, but lacked the intangibles
The hare was genetically engineered to be a great race runner. Huge leg muscles, relatively light physical frame…anybody’s money would have been on the hare. There is no way the hare would lose this race. The hare was also confident in his abilities and that was equally as attractive to onlookers. The hare was the easy favorite.
Most real estate investors resemble the hare. Sometimes it seems that they like the idea of investing in real estate (and reminding others that is what they do) than actually being successful long term. A lot of real estate investors look and act like the hare, “Look at me! Look! I’m basically God’s gift to real estate investment! How could I ever fail?!”
But it was evident in the story that the hare was a little over-confident. This was evident in the fact that each time he would awake from a nap to see the tortoise further down the track, he was still saying to himself, “Ahhh, I still have more than enough time to catch up and overtake the tortoise.”
Natural intelligence, ability and talent is important, but it can only get you so far. You have to apply yourself to be successful. Be smart and driven by facts, not emotions. You need the numbers to convince you the deal will work. Don’t try to convince the numbers. This is a sure sign of impending failure.
The Tortoise kept moving forward toward the goal
The Tortoise was obstinate. He knew his physical abilities limited him and he really had no place even being on the same race course with the hare, but he had a chip on his shoulder. He kept moving forward with a singular focus. He knew something about running races: You have to start, you have to keep going and eventually you have to finish.
When you start investing in real estate, start slow. One. Step. At. A. Time. Don’t be in a rush to get to the finish line before you even start. Real Estate investing is all about momentum…the tortoise had tons of momentum at the finish line because he was moving slow and steady. Being a real estate investor is similar, you pick up momentum along the way.
The tortoise enjoyed the adventure
Don’t forget that life is supposed to be enjoyed. Investing in real estate can be great fun, but only if you are successful. The great thing is that the more disciplined you are the more time you have to have along the way to enjoy the scenery. The tortoise took a while to get to the finish line, but the entire time he could take in the surroundings. He could enjoy the race. He could learn from the experience while he was having it.
To the hare, however, everything was a blur. He eventually learned a lesson from his experience, but it came in retrospect as he judged his mistakes. And trust me, this is not as fun.
Slow and steady folks.
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