Success is simple. There are a handful of time tested principles that when followed consistently over long periods of time will inevitably cause you to succeed at anything. The funny thing is I’m not about to tell you anything you don’t already know. So then, why do successful people make up such a small percentage of our society? Because while these principles are painfully simple, they aren’t by any means easy.
Success Principle #1: Figure out “why”
If you open a business because you just want to make lots of money, you usually don’t. People that just want their jeans to fit a little better don’t lose weight and keep it off in the long term. The Why is the driving force behind your actions that will push you through when you get stuck. When I meet with a real estate investor for the first time, the first question I ask is why they want to invest. Their first reply usually has to do with semantics: I want another stream of income or I want to build some wealth or I want to take advantage of this market. But when I ask them to dig deeper they find that they’re doing it because if this succeeds their daughter’s college will be taken care of or because they’ve always dreamed of traveling the world with their spouse someday or because they don’t want to end up relying on Social Insecurity (h/t Dave Ramsey) like their parents had to. There’s always a deeper purpose and if you want to be successful, stop here, figure out the why before you worry about how.
Success Principle #2: Have a Plan.
This sounds like a principle straight from the “Duh” Files but it’s amazing how many people are hopelessly pursuing something and they have no clue what. If you don’t know what your Point B looks like even Garmin can’t help you find the way! When it comes to success, vague is the enemy. Know your destination: Set goals and measure progress. Dave Ramsey says goal(s) should be specific, measurable, written, time limited and personal. You will be amazed at what you can achieve if only you sit and write down specific goals, set a deadline for achieving them and measure your progress on the way there. As a real estate investor, having a plan makes the difference between a six figure retirement and just buying a couple of houses for cashflow that couldn’t support your latte habit. That’s why The Blueprint is the cornerstone added value that we provide to our clients. Without it, you’re just making it up as you go.
Success Principle #3: Focus
The power of focus is immense. I am sure you’ve heard stories of people achieving amazing feats by focusing on their goal with intensity. The problem is we live in a society with the attention span of a chicken. We can’t do just one thing anymore. We have to be checking email, playing a silly game, updating our Facebook status and saving the world all at the same time. You don’t believe me? Go to a restaurant, any restaurant and observe how long people can go without checking their smart phones. We can’t even focus on feeding ourselves or just having a conversation, anymore. Don’t let circumstances dictate your actions and turn you reactive. Once your investing plan is in place, you focus on execution. Avoid analysis paralysis, pull the trigger and bring your plan to life. You’ll be happy you did.
Success Principle #4: Do 20% Work
Most people do work that doesn’t really matter. Pareto’s 80/20 principle says that “for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes”. Put a different way, 20% of what you do will cause 80% of your results. Do that work and avoid busywork like the plague. Kill or outsource everything else and you’ll never look back. For real estate investors, that means working with a real pro and entrusting them with providing you the data, information and analysis you need to make a decision. Your 20% work is executing your plan – the rest is just distraction.
Success Principle #5: No shortcuts
This principle is by far the most important. In the words of Beverly Sills: There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going. Know the why, make a plan and execute it. Any attempts to short-circuit the process undermines the results every time. Human nature loves shortcuts: Diet pills to lose 100 lbs in twelve minutes, “proven” systems that will make you a zillionaire by Wednesday, you name it. The truth? You have got to work hard for results that matter and last. Want to change your life and get healthy – you have to eat less and exercise more. Want to be wealthy – you have to spend much less than you make and invest the surplus long term. Captain Obvious would roll his eyes listening to this. But remember, success is simple. You already know all you need to know to win. You just have to execute. It’s simple but not easy.