Keep Your Brain Busy

March 22, 2020 by  
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Now may be the best time in your life to focus on your brain in a way that it won’t get trampled by the news and all that’s going on in the world. Yes, I’m talking about the coronavirus and the huge damage that it’s doing. It really is a game changer and can be so horrible for many people mostly because of how they use their brain in a time like this.

The human brain can be the most incredible part of your body, but it also can be a huge downer for your happiness and mental stability if you do nothing but worry.  Yes, the virus is a very bad thing and, wow, just look at what it is doing to our economy, not to mention that huge fear factor around whether one might get the virus. That’s bad stuff, but if you use your brain in the right way and keep it busy you can avoid some of the really bad stuff that’s happening.

Just don’t forget that you will most likely not get the virus, even though worldwide many people have, but the percentages are on your side, especially if you are careful and do all the things that reduce your odds of catching it. It’s true that you and I can’t stop the spread of the virus or the fear gripping so many people, but we can take steps to make this huge event less traumatic so that when it’s all over, we can look back at and give ourselves a pat on the back and congratulate ourselves for what we, and our brain, just did.

I can see a lot of good as well as some very bad things coming from this dangerous situation.  Since most everything is closed, I can easily see how many people can become almost bored to death and might be going crazy since they think they don’t have anything to do. They’ve lost their routine, are not going to work and being productive, and are not having their usual social interactions with others. However, with some thought and effort you can come up with projects and things to do that are helpful to yourself and others.

I mean, in the lockdown situation many of us are experiencing, you could read a bunch of books, do some writing of your own, and, hey, how about some at home exercise. No, you don’t need a gym to run when you can run around the neighborhood. Push-ups, sit-ups, and at least some weightlifting can be done at home. You could come out of this disaster looking like Rocky Balboa if you really want to. You could also have a book written and ready to sell and could even set yourself up to give your own seminars since you would have plenty of time to prepare a great presentation.

Think about the many positive things that you can do to help yourself, your friends, and your relatives, things that will also keep you and your mind busy and productive.

P.S. We here in Salt Lake City got a double dose of bad stuff. My wife and I were suddenly shaken from our sleep by a powerful earthquake that shook our house so bad I thought it might fall down on us. It was 5.7 on the Richter scale, but we did survive and mentally and physically we plan to thrive.


The Rug Merchant of Tangiers

December 12, 2014 by  
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Today I’d like to add a footnote to last week’s blog on the theme of negotiation.  Many years ago I took a group of investors to Tangiers in Northern Africa, both for fun and for a seminar I was to put on for them. And what a seminar it was! The best part, however, was a lesson that was learned from a rug merchant in Tangier’s.

While on this trip we all took a tour. The talkative guides took us through the narrow, winding back streets, through the open markets with their pungent odors and all kinds of interesting and colorful people.  Then, after half an hour’s stop at the Kasbah, we finally ended up at a rug merchant’s large second-floor shop.

Even though I was paying for this tour, no one had bothered to tell me where we’d end up. It was there in the next hour or so that the big lesson was learned by all of us, a lesson in the art of negotiating.  We were all hot and tired but sitting comfortably on mounds of beautiful Oriental rugs. Our gracious host began telling the group about the uniqueness of his rugs then his troupe of articulate salespeople went on to sell their captive audience on the quality of the rugs.

Interestingly enough, they also explained the custom of haggling over price.  They would be offended if we were to accept their first price without some sporty bargaining. Priming the crowed into a jovial joking mood, the merchant asked someone to make an offer on a rug he said was for sale at $4500 dollars. One of the guys in my group offered $500 dollars. After a lot of back and forth the rug was sold for $1200 dollars. The buyer had been assured that its value was over $2000 dollars. I found out later that the buyer had it appraised in the USA for a mere $600 dollars.  Oops! There was lesson learned there for certain, a lesson that happens to be about one of the oldest tricks in the old negotiating handbook. That is, you start with a very high price to give the illusion of a bargain when the price is dramatically cut.

I’ve used this method many times on both the buyer’s side and when selling a property and you probably have too. You can read more about the rug merchant and related negotiation techniques in my book How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You.