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You Are What You Think You Are

August 29, 2021 by  
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Too many of us stumble through life on one consistently low plane. We see ourselves as failures in the things that really matter. When it comes to high stakes, “Count me out,” we say. “I can succeed at little things, but when the big times come along, I’m a total failure.”

And amazingly, we are right many times. We are what we think we are. We’re much like the fictional character in the novel by Harry Leon Wilson called Bunker Bean. Bunker Bean had a lot of potential locked up inside him, but because it was locked so deep, he didn’t know about it. But then something happened to make Bunker believe in himself, and despite his humble beginnings, he went on to make a fortune, overcoming his fears and weaknesses and becoming a giant of a leader.

Many, if not most people live and die with too small an estimate of their own abilities. As a result, they spend their strength on small tasks and never put their real powers to the test.

So it was with Bunker Bean, at least in the beginning. When Bunker was very young, both his parents died, leaving him alone and friendless in a cold world. As he roamed through his years in rags, living timidly through various terrors, he developed fears of all kinds. He also began to feel inferior because he couldn’t do anything right and his acquaintances made fun of him.

Bunker Bean’s life was one of misery. He was afraid of almost everything—policemen, elevators, streets, social and business situations. He was afraid to make decisions. He was afraid of the future. He was even afraid of himself.

Eventually, Bunker moved into a cheap, rundown boarding house on the unhappy side of town where he met a man who claimed to be a spiritualist medium. This new friend told Bunker that just as we cast off our old shoes and clothes, so we cast off our old bodies when we die; in fact, we are reincarnated as a new person.

The spiritualist was pretty convincing. He was so convincing, in fact, that when he said he had supernatural powers given to him from another world, Bunker believed him and paid his new friend to find out who he was in his previous life. When Bunker was told he had been Napoleon, he totally believed the fake spiritualist. Thinking he had been this great, confident leader in his previous life, he changed to match the image of his prior self which lifted him to a huge and higher life.

I think it’s absolutely incredible how our brains can work to lift us to a much, much higher level of living. Next week I will finish the story of where and how Bunker Bean lifted his life!

Always Living Large

June 28, 2019 by  
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So, I’ve been having a bit of a stressful but exciting week as I work on a big real estate deal. Yes, sometimes, even though I’ve been doing this for decades, making deals can be a little taxing but as Mitt Romney, former GOP candidate for President once said to the graduating students at Utah Valley University about experiencing a fulfilling and purposeful life,  “One thing you’re going to have to do is live a ‘large life’”. What great advice. That is something all of us need to pay attention to. We need to go out and do it and do it our entire lives.  I wrote about this some 4 years ago, but I think it’s worth a rerun. So, here’s basically what I wrote in May of 2015:

So many times, we hesitate to “live large”. Why? Because most of the time we fear that we will fail. “Failures don’t have to define who you are,” Romney had gone on to say in that Utah Valley University speech. “Through all my occupations, I have experienced successes and failures. I am asked what it felt like to lose to President Obama. Well, not as good as winning. Failures aren’t fun, but they are inevitable.”

How about you?  Have you racked up a lot of failures or just a few?  It seems to me, from my experience, that the number of failures I’ve had is in direct proportion to how large I’ve tried to live.  So, yes, I’ve had a ton of failures but some of those have led to some huge successes. And the reason for those successes was that I learned so much from my failures.

I remember one huge loss that I learned a valuable lesson from which lead me to some very, very large successes.  What happened was I decided to lend a large amount of money with a restaurant as collateral.  Big mistake on my part! Why? Because I don’t know much about that kind of business so if it failed, I certainly wouldn’t know how to run it. And guess what? It did fail and I lost almost all of what I had loaned.

What did I learn?  Well first I found out that restaurants have a very high rate of failure and second, I learned that I shouldn’t stray from what I know best.  Not that I shouldn’t ever loan money but if I do, I should loan it on assets that I understand as well as being on improved real estate which, ideally, would also be income producing.

I forged ahead and made many millions of dollars’ worth of loans that were backed up by real estate and was very successful.  Later I discovered that I could do even better by owning the right kind of income producing properties. I also, very successfully ventured into the development of condos and warehouses, where the profits were even bigger although they did come with increased risks but in that case, those were risks I was willing to take.  And much, if not most of that success, came from lessons learned from my failures and my trying to “live large”.

Romney’s words are not just for graduating students. They are wise words for us at any age!

The Risk and Reward of Living Large

May 15, 2015 by  
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Mitt Romney, former GOP candidate for President recently made some powerful comments to graduating students at Utah Valley University. He advised the students “to experience a fulfilling, purposeful life. One thing you’re going to have to do is live a ‘Large Life’”. What great advice. That is something all of us need to pay attention to. We need to go out and do it and do it our entire lives.  So many times we hesitate to ‘Live Large’. Why? Because most of the time we fear that we will fail.

“Failures don’t have to define who you are,” Romney had gone on to say, and of course we all have had failures.  He further stated, “Through all my occupations, I have experienced successes and failures. I am asked what it felt like to lose to President Obama. Well, not as good as winning. Failures aren’t fun, but they are inevitable.”

How about you, the reader?  Have you racked up a lot of failures or just a few?  It seems to me, from my experience, that the number of failures I’ve had is in direct proportion to how large I’ve tried to live.  So, yes, I’ve had a ton of failures but some of those have led to some huge successes. And the reason for those successes was that I learned so much from my failures.

I remember one huge loss that I learned a valuable lesson from which lead me to some very, very large successes.  What happened was I decided to lend a large amount of money with a restaurant as collateral.  Big mistake on my part! Why? Because I don’t know much about that kind of business so if it failed I certainly wouldn’t know how to run it. And guess what? It did fail and I lost almost all of what I had loaned.

What did I learn?  Well first I found out that restaurants have a very high rate of failure and second, I learned that I shouldn’t stray from what I know best.  Not that I shouldn’t ever loan money but if I do, I should loan it on assets that I understand as well as being on improved real estate which, ideally, would also be income producing.

I forged ahead and made many millions of dollars’ worth of loans that were backed up by real estate and was very successful.  Later I discovered that I could do even better by owning the right kind of income producing properties. I also, very successfully ventured into the development of condos and warehouses, where the profits were even bigger although they did come with increased risks but in that case, those were risks I was willing to take.  And much, if not most of that success, came from lessons learned from my failures and my trying to ‘Live Large’.

Next week, I want to address something else Mitt Romney said at Utah Valley: “Your life will be larger if you value and nourish friendships.”  Those are also some very poignant words.