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Do you want to know the first, and most important, lesson I learned at the very beginning of my real estate career?

How to make a good choice.

Simply choosing one thing over another. It sounds so easy, yet there are so many things we’re unsure about. Is this a good deal? Will this work? What if it doesn’t? How can I know?

Developing a system around helping you choose is critical, foundational, to your business.

How can you know that you are making the absolute best decision possible right now? How can you get to a point that you are 100% confident in the choices you make?

For me, this came down to developing a process, a system—and a series of questions around that system.

Having the ability to put together a system for yourself will give you the freedom required to make choices that will lead to success. 

Here’s the thing about life. Opportunity knocks. We know that, right? Opportunity knocks, and it doesn’t stop just because you choose not to answer the door. It keeps knocking until someone opens it. Opportunity is nothing if not persistent. That’s what opportunity does. It’s seeking expression, and it will find a way, with or without your help.

Everything in life is a choice. 

We have a lot to choose from. It’s important to understand how to choose. Some of you have been given a choice recently: do I find another job during this pandemic? Or: do I take this risk right now in a time of uncertainty?

We’re all given choices all the time. 

I had to develop a system, because opportunity doesn’t wait.

When you’re facing a choice, understanding how you’re going to come to a solid decision is vital. Here are three important things to consider:

  1. Know why you buy.

  2. Know why you sell.

  3. Ask: Compared to what?

You might be thinking to yourself: but not every decision I make is about buying or selling. I submit that it is. Reading this post right now was a decision you made to buy. You are sacrificing your time for something you perceive to be of greater value. You bought these words, this wisdom, with your time. 

We each have limited resources—money, time, knowledge, experience—and that’s what makes choice necessary.

There’s always an exchange that’s happening. Why do you watch what you watch, read what you read? Why do you do this thing or that thing? How does it help you achieve your goal? What are you gaining when you choose to do this thing?

Why do you buy?

The next question is: Why would you stop doing something you’re currently doing? Why did you move from one neighborhood to another? What’s in it for you? Why do you no longer need to keep doing that exchange? What conditions must be in place for you to stop doing something you’ve been doing? 

Why do you sell?

Consciously think about it. Not understanding your own decisions, your own choices, can put you in a quandary. The only thing left is to borrow someone else’s reason or opinion.

A better way is to form my own opinion and then confirm what I suspect.

Evaluate your choices in view of the goal or plan you set forth. Are you choosing something in line with your vision? It makes it easy to live life by design, instead of by default.

Then ask: Compared to what?

Compared to everything else I could do with this particular resource, is this the best of all my options? You’re going to be presented with a lot of opportunities. Because your resources are limited, you’ll be afraid to choose. 

We’ve all suffered from FOMO, right? The Fear of Missing Out. What if something better comes along? What if I make this choice today, and down the road, a bigger opportunity presents itself, but I’ve already made my choice?

The alternative to something better coming along? What if it doesn’t? What if I pass this opportunity by, and it ends up being the best one I ever get, and I blew it. How can I know?

You can’t. You don’t know. You can’t act in the future, just like you can’t act in the past. You can only act in the present. 

 

Our human best bet is to not think in binary terms when it comes to our choices. When I first got married, I used to annoy my wife by saying, “There’s no right or wrong. It’s good, better, or best.” 

I might have been annoying, but I was right. 

Is this choice just good, or is it better or best? Is there any other way I could use my resources at this present moment? Compared to all other options, am I making the very best choice? 

I had to learn how to say no to a deal, even if it was good, and I had no other choices. And I learned how to ask myself one more question that freed up everything on the planet:

Can I live with the regret?

Have you ever said no to something that someone else said yes to? Has that thing you turned down ever turned out to be amazing—for that other person? Ask yourself: if everything goes right, if all the stuff happens, based on who I am right now, would I still make that same decision? 

Will I be emotionally okay if I say no to this and it goes gangbusters for someone else? 

A few years ago, I was working with a group to build a hotel. I had a choice to make: take a two million dollar risk or pass it by. I didn’t have what it took right then. And I didn’t want to do the work required to get it. 

If this becomes amazing, am I fine with not being a part of it? Could I celebrate their win?

That version of me wasn’t ready for that risk at that time, and that’s what it came down to. I couldn’t have weathered the storm. I wasn’t that person. 

If I say no to this, will I be proud of that “no” decision?

Let me give you an example of a “no” decision I do regret. You can ask my wife about our history with Netflix stock. Some of you probably don’t even remember when Netflix was just DVDs in the mail. Let’s just say that I should have also asked her if she would regret the “say no” part. 

I sold my stock way too soon. And I will never not regret it. But it happens. You move on, and you learn from your failure. You learn from your experiments. Not all of them will turn out great. And that’s okay. It’s just one experiment.

In these uncertain times we’re living in, we’re all being offered scarcity right now. You can choose to say yes or no. Scarcity is just an offer. You don’t have to accept it. 

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves when it’s time to choose. Our limited resources creates FOMO which then creates a lack of action. Out of fear, we sit back and won’t do jack. I want to help all of us get over this, get past it, so we can start doing many other things. 

I don’t really care what you’re deciding. I just care that you learn to decide. In the moment. Without hesitation. Because that’s a skill set, a muscle, that you’re building. 

A muscle you’ll need—and use—for the rest of your life.

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