Developing The Investor Mindset

“If you judge an elephant by his ability to climb a tree he will live his entire life thinking he is a failure” – Albert Einstein

“Everyone can be Super! And when everyone’s Super… no one will be.” – Syndrome from “The Incredibles”

We are all gifted unique abilities and perceptions, the problem is most will never discover theirs because of the current design for education. Standardized testing kills creativity in order to efficiently place people in a hierarchy. With the end goal of establishing who will do what when they “leave education” in pursuit of their occupation. But there are a few who beat the odds and pursue a different path, a path that leads to their vocation and purpose in life. A key to becoming one of those few is to never “leave” education. Never stop learning. This may be obvious to most but how often do you really engage in active learning? How often do you pick up a book or listen to a podcast, or rather how often do you read or listen to something that actually challenges your brain or is something that you know absolutely nothing about. We all think we never stop learning, but there is a difference in deepening those same grooves you have and creating new paths in your brain that didn’t exist. This is how you develop beyond automaton, doing what you have always done and getting slightly better at it. By pursuing challenging ideas and completely foreign concepts we will build an arsenal of creativity that will open doors we never knew we could open or even knew existed.

Developing an investors mindset goes way beyond just reading trade journals and industry news. You have to become an expert on everything! Yes everything! You must become omniscient. Ok so maybe not that level of knowledge but seriously you can’t ignore information outside your purview. To become an affluent investor you must become a collector of ideas and knowledge. Become obsessed with hobbies, business models, biographies of leaders and problem solvers, cultures, weird music, food, technology, politics, science, cars, construction, history, sports, art, and anything else that strikes your fancy. Don’t limit yourself to only knowing what everyone else knows, this gives you no advantage when you want to invest in an opportunity. It is both who you know AND what you know, and what you know will open more doors to the who that has the opportunity.

This past weekend my business partners and I took a trip to Terlingua, Texas down South right on the border of Mexico in the middle of Big Bend National Park. We stayed in a Yurt at the end of a very winding and difficult to traverse road completely off grid with solar power and rain water reservoir. We then drove to Marfa, Texas which was one of the most unique and bizarre towns I have ever seen. As we were walking downtown past art-deco style buildings that would look more at home in South Beach we wandered into an art gallery that only featured 3 works of art. But they were 3 building size original works by Andy Warhol. Right here in the dessert, hundreds of miles from the nearest Wal-mart but I was enjoying works by a world renown artist. Artsy doesn’t even begin to describe this fanciful oasis. Then our last stop was in the Davis Mountains at the McDonald Observatory where we attended a “Star Party” and had the opportunity to look at the night sky through 7 powerful telescopes and learn more about our solar system. During this trip it really began to solidify in my head the importance of seeking out opportunities even in my “leisure time” to continue to collect and build on my perceptions of the world, ideas for building a better me, and rounding out my knowledge of things I didn’t even know existed. This is what it means to develop the mind of an investor. Seeking understanding everywhere I go with the intent of becoming a better person, businessman, husband, father, son, brother.

This article has taken me 2 1/2 months to write. I started in October and this next section is being written in January. Still the same topic of investor mindset but forgive any non sequitur thoughts. Hoping this will create a fresh new line of thinking within the same topic.

I am finding it increasingly important to actively seek out others to engage with in life so I can both create value for them but also seek their differing opinions and ideas. Not just with business but life in general. Life hacking has become more and more popular and I am definitely more than a casual observer in ways to hack life to become more efficient, less stressed and have more joy. My moniker has always been, fun. If something isn’t fun, why do it. But now I see more purpose and value in seeking joy and bringing joy to other people’s lives. Sometimes that includes pure fun, but not at all costs or the type of fleeting, thrill seeking fun that leaves you empty and always looking for the next high. Fulfillment in life always starts with the small things, tucking your kids into bed, learning a new skill, cooking a good meal with a loved one, accomplishing a small household task that seemed overwhelming, taking family trips that are relaxing rather than squeezing out every possible exciting drop. There are millions of free ways to find fulfillment in life that also bring fulfillment to others. Once you have this as your basis, everything else falls into place.

When you align your life in this way, you are more open to possibilities and opportunities that you probably would have missed otherwise. Because now you’re focused on true value for your own life as well as your family’s and others around you. And this attracts the right type of people who want to be part of what you’re doing.

Another crucial part to this is having a mindset of both gratefulness and generosity. This may go without saying, but most people probably consider themselves to be grateful and generous, when in reality they hoard resources, time, money, attention, advice. They dole it out sparsely or only to those they like rather than sowing seeds far and wide where they can take root and grow to then produce more seeds to be spread even further. And yes when you are giving like this the seed will often go wasted, falling on infertile soil, but the seed that does land with the right person could grow so fervently that it surpasses any of the waste. So don’t plant sparingly. Ok I am done sounding like a King James Bible, but the truth works even in business.

Developing an investor mindset doesn’t happen overnight, nor will you ever finish, it is a life pursuit. This lifestyle is a rewiring of your brain to think in terms of investing rather than consuming. And this covers every area of life, not just business and finances. You can either consume your time on earth during your 28,721 rotations around the globe, or you can learn to invest your life into meaningful accomplishments that will carry on after your brief stint on this planet. I hope you choose to invest, so you and those around you can enjoy the dividends for centuries.

Success: I don’t think it means what you think it means

We all want to be successful, I mean come on, who doesn’t. The facebook ad of the guy sitting on a beach with his laptop claiming he makes $20k per month while he travels the world, sounds nice right? But what most people don’t realize are the 100+ hour weeks for years on end that guy put in to build it. And it really doesn’t matter what his game is, real estate, social media marketing, drop-shipping, online coaching, drawing cats. Yes someone built a highly successful business drawing cats for people. He even got Mark Cuban to invest in his business.

The only reason anyone can put in that much effort without any guarantee of the outcome is passion. It might be passion to get out of debt, improve your lifestyle, not be homeless, help others, or you just love creating, building and solving problems. It really doesn’t matter, but until you find that motivating passion that drives you to work harder than you have ever worked in your life, you are going to keep failing to do what you were made to do and be who you were made to be.

This may come as a shock to you, but what if I told you that your success isn’t the same picture of success as anyone else. Mind blowing right? Well not really, but we all still tend to have this notion that success is the guy on the beach, or Mark Zuckerberg, or that rich uncle that has a new Lexus every 2 years, or just anyone that has a job and pays their bills on time. And THAT’s the point! Success differs based on our own current situation and our cognitive biases. We have literally allowed every situation in our lives dictate to us a standard for excellence and failure. This means we have years of work to undo while we rewire our brains. But what if the simplest solution is the most obvious; we accept that there will always be people more successful than us and less successful than us based on our definition of success for us. In other words when we use our own standard units of measure we will never measure up to some and we will feel really good about ourselves compared to others.

Albert Einstein is credited with the saying, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

So what is your genius? Your superpower. The thing that you do so easily and you think everyone can do this, it’s no big deal. But others are amazed at your skill and dexterity. This could be the key that unlocks your passion and leads to your success.

So how are you going to define your success? What does this look like to you? Sure, a million bucks in the bank sounds great, but then what? Let’s say you won the lottery and theoretically all your financial troubles are over, what are you going to do with the rest of your life? Spend the money on all the houses and toys you ever wanted? How fulfilled do you really think this will make you? How long can you go being overindulged before you become depressed? History tells us you would be bankrupt in 3 – 5 years but I bet the depression settles in a lot sooner than that. Ok so winning the lottery and working hard to build an empire are two vastly different things, wealthy people who are self made must have a lot more fulfillment and satisfaction in life, right? Check out this story on Forbes about the research on depression and the uber-wealthy.

I’m not saying wealth is going to cause you to be depressed, but if that is your only focus and goal in life then you will probably never be fully satisfied. So let’s redefine success and take the wealth aspect out of the equation. What do you really want out of life? What makes you fulfilled? Healthy relationships, peace in your home, energy to do the things you enjoy, time to be creative, enough resources to give of your time, talent, and treasure to others. These are my definitions of success. Yours may be different. Take some time to really consider what makes you feel successful. It may be something you have never considered before. When you take away money as the measuring stick you may uncover a lot more ways to be successful.

With that being said, this blog is about generating money and wealth primarily through real estate. It doesn’t contradict my beliefs or motivation for success in the other areas. Money and wealth are the tools to accomplish many of the goals I have. But money won’t suddenly make your relationships better or make you a generous person. In fact money will only amplify the type of person you already are. So before you become uber-wealthy, focus on being successful in the non-monetary areas first. You may just find that your satisfaction in life increases so much that you no longer need as much wealth as you originally thought you did.

My best advice on becoming more successful: Start living your life! Try that new hobby you always wanted to try, take a class to learn a new skill just for the sake of it, take someone to lunch that you want to get to know rather than trying to make a sale, take a day off work to volunteer for an organization, (I guarantee you won’t get fired if your boss knows you are volunteering) ask someone to mentor you or offer to mentor others. You will be amazed at the opportunities and benefits that open up by doing things that are not motivated by financial gain. (I am telling myself this more than I am trying to tell anyone else.)

Then leave a comment or send me a message on here or any of my social media sites about your experience. I would love to hear how this way of living has impacted you or those around you.