My new article at BiggerPockets is up on how to make a low-pressure sales pitch when introducing yourself to someone new, someone who could be a potential client, colleague or investor.
First, I describe the "elevator pitch" which real estate investor Dave Lindahl notes needs three things,
Next, I discuss the "nutshell resume" which Leil Lowndes notes in her book How to Talk to Anyone is to "let a different true story roll off your tongue for each listener."
So for example,
“Don’t say ‘[real]estate agent.’ Say ‘I help people moving into our area find the right home.’"
This way of communicating can be extremely effective. You just never know who may be important to you when you meet them. This technique lets the person know you may be of importance to them and can act as a springboard to a more useful conversation.
I go into much more detail in the article. Check it out!
I have struggled all my life with getting out of bed. I tend to hit the snooze button several times and waste at least a half hour if not a full hour each morning trying to get up.
Think about how much a waste this is. Even if it's just a half hour, this extra "rest" doesn't actually help. You aren't getting any more sleep, or if you are, just a few seconds nodding off. It's just wasted time.
Over a year's time, it will mean you will have wasted 7.6 days just trying to get up. Over a 70 year lifetime, that amounts to 532 days, or a year and half down the drain.
I've tried all sorts of things, from goals about getting up X times per week, to practicing getting up quickly, to setting the alarm on the other side of the room. None of it works, at least for me, and I think the reason is it puts all the focus on the last step (getting out of bed) and not the first one.
I've become a huge fan of Scott Adam's systems-approach to life, which I've written about more here. Screw the goals and make systems. I.e. instead of losing 20 pounds, make a goal to go to the gym each day. You don't have to work out, but you have to show up. Usually, when you're there (have taken the first step), you'll go ahead and just work out.
So I've taken the same approach to waking up. Make my system just to take the first step. I have to do the following each morning:
- I wake up to music, and I have to leave it on.
- I have to take a big drink of water (you wake up dehydrated, which is one reason you are tired).
- I have to turn my night lamp on.
Add to this I have the guideline of keeping my eyes open, although I can cheat on that if I want. I've thought about adding lying up on one of those pillow back rests or actually spraying myself in the face five times with a water fan like the one's people have at sporting events.
Regardless, I haven't needed those yet. As you'll notice, I have not goal here. I can stay in bed as long as I like. The only thing I demand from myself are the first steps; the things that will make me substantially less tired. Then maybe I'll surf the Internet on my cellphone a little. All these things start to bring me to life, whereas lying on my back with my eyes closed just delays the process.
By the time I get to the shower, the job is basically done. And I usually finish it with just a blast of cold water which will wake you up real, real fast.
Systems are great and can be applied to all sorts of areas in your life. This is just one, but it's huge. Since I've started doing it, I am consistently getting up within 10 minutes of my alarm going off. I'm basically saving myself a year of life!
In my latest article for Mises.org, I take on not just the "mathiness" of modern economics, but the fact that they tend to get so much wrong. Or as Christopher Nolan put it once, “Take a field like economics for example. [Unlike physics] you have real material things and it can’t predict anything. It’s always wrong.”
In the article, I discuss Alan Jay Levinovitz' article on "The New Astrology" where he points out that,
"The failure of the field to predict the 2008 crisis has also been well-documented. In 2003, for example, only five years before the Great Recession, the Nobel Laureate Robert E Lucas Jr told the American Economic Association that ‘macroeconomics ... has succeeded: its central problem of depression prevention has been solved’. Short-term predictions fair little better — in April 2014, for instance, a survey of 67 economists yielded 100 per cent consensus: interest rates would rise over the next six months. Instead, they fell. A lot."
But he doesn't seem to draw the proper conclusions, as I note,
"It appears that Levinovitz hasn’t quite grasped the full consequences of the argument he has espoused; namely that because economics models are mostly useless and cannot predict the future with any sort of certainty, then centrally directing an economy would be effectively like flying blind. The failure of economic models to pan out is simply more proof of the pretense of knowledge. And it’s not more knowledge that we need, it’s more humility. The humility to know that 'wise' bureaucrats are not the best at directing a market — market participants themselves are."
So I was fortunate enough to get a piece published in The Daily Caller that expanded upon the argument I made here on my blog last week. In it, I ask the simple question "Why is it wrong to condemn both fascists and communists?"
I note that despite my problems with Trump and the awkwardness of what he said, he was right. Both sides were to blame. And that is obvious.
Yes, not all the protesters were Antifa, but those that were Antifa were predominantly responsible for starting the violence. Antifa is also a transparently communist organization. As I say in the article
"And make no mistake about it, Antifa is a communist organization. Even The Washington Post acknowledges 'Its adherents are predominantly communists, socialists and anarchists who reject turning to the police or the state to halt the advance of white supremacy.' Remember, most in the Alt Right don’t actually call themselves 'fascists.'”
So communists and fascists fought each other in the streets. Yes, the worst violence was done by the fascists, but the communists mostly started it. And the communists have an even longer list of blood baths and massacres than the fascists do.
Communists and fascists are both, to use Hillary Clinton's words, deplorable. Both sides rightly deserve to be condemned. In this instance, Trump was right.
In my latest article for BiggerPockets I spread the gospel of Key Performance Indicators (or KPIs) and how important they are for systematizing and scaling your business (be it real estate or otherwise). As I note the common problem entrepreneurs (and real estate investors) have is something like this,
"...without hard numbers to evaluate how you are doing, you will often have that feeling in your stomach that something is wrong, but you’re not quite sure or at least you’re not quite sure what is wrong. First, you will think that it was your contractor that screwed up, then you will talk to him and then think it was several of the other vendors, such as the painter or electrician. Or maybe it was your real estate agent. Maybe you should sell the property on your own to save the commission. Or maybe that’s a waste of your time and you would still likely have to pay the buyer’s commission."
KPIs can not only help with meauring company perfomance and project performance (such as a flip) but are also great for measuring employees,
"...tracking KPIs also makes it easier to evaluate employees in general. It makes it easier to know who to let go, who to keep, and who to promote. Furthermore, it gives your employees something to aim for which can be very motivating. "
Check it out!
I guess I'm not surprised, but it is really quite baffling how the mainstream press and most of the public has reacted to the events in Charlottesville the other day, particularly President Trump's comments.
Trump had condemned the hate "from many sides" and called for the country to come together as one. Well, the Left threw a conniption fit. Keith Olberman called Trump a neo-Nazi (again) amongst just about everyone else on the Left. A friend of mine on Facebook went so far as to call him a terrorist! For what? A weak comment regarding something other people did?
Trump ended up having another press conference to "call evil by its name" and condemn racism.
But really, was this comment so horrible? Antifa is the main group that was "protesting" the Alt Right rally. And Antifa is an admitted communist group that promotes violence and engages in it all of the time. Does the media (and the rest of the country) really need to have a recap on the sins of communists?
Yes the fascists were horrible, but the communists were just as bad and killed far more, probably close to 100 million.
In a battle between fascists and communists, which side do you pick?
The answer is neither.
Yes, the person who killed that woman with his car was part of the Alt Right, but Antifa started the violence in the first place. Yes, there was obviously "hate on many sides" and it's hard to conclude that those who have a problem with such a statement are anything other than communist sympathizers.
Well that didn't take long. Only a couple days after the "Anti-Diversity Memo" I mean "controversial manifesto" (memos are now manifestos I guess) was internally sent at Google challenging the company's diversity agenda, the author, James Damore, was fired.
Indeed, Google's CEO Sundar Pichai even cut short his vacation to deal with the "crisis." He noted in a letter that "People must feel free to express dissent" but also that "To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK."
In other words, dissent is perfectly fine as long as Sundar Pichai agrees with it.
Here's the thing, not only is the memo scientifically sound, and at the very least defensible, it does not say a "group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work." Is lying grounds for dismissal Sundar?
The memo talks about AVERAGES and explicitly notes to judge everyone as "an individual" and that there are plenty of exceptions. Read it for yourself, it's by no means a "screed."
If someone released a memo in Google noting that men commit more crime ON AVERAGE, would Google fire that person for passing around "harmful stereotypes." What say you Sundar?
I mean these are Google employees, how can they honestly be that stupid?
Unfortunately, they aren't. The Left is moving closer and closer toward ideological Stalinism everyday. Briannu Wu just exclaimed as if the answer was obvious upon the release of the memo "Who is getting fired?" No thoughtcriminal can go unpunished!
And that reaction was common. As was the lying, like when CNN's headline said the memo argued "women aren't suited for tech jobs." Ridiculous policies have to be supported by lies I guess.
The Left is in a tragic state right now. Freedom of speech is under attack, and yes, I know Google is a private company and thereby not under the auspices of the First Amendment. But they are also all but a monopoly and a critically important hub for the Internet. It already appears they tried to help elect Hillary Clinton. And now we see they have no tolerance whatsoever for even mild dissent from their ideological position.
Perhaps it's time to label Google (and Facebook and Twitter for that matter) as utilities and put them under the boot of the First Amendment.
My latest article for BiggerPockets takes on decision fatigue and the importance of making small decisions quickly and decisively. The more you agonize, the more you drain your willpower and reduce your mental energy for when you actually need it.
I note some examples, from the real estate field, such as "Should you go with this $49 light fixture you normally use or this one that is nicer and normally sells for $89 but is on sale now for $69?" Or "Should you put a stripe on your business card design or not?" The answer, is basically "who cares?" Just make a decision!
As I conclude,
"Of course, other decisions require more careful thought, such as what to offer on a certain house or whether to accept a tenant or not. But if you take a step back, a decision’s importance is usually relatively obvious. Don’t let yourself get bogged down focusing on the little things. 'Don’t sweat the small stuff,' as they say. If you do, you’ll just wear out your willpower for when you actually need it."
Check it out!
My latest article on BiggerPockets discusses the inertia of action. As I note,
"Often our own minds can be our worst enemies. Over-analysis is a big problem. I have noticed in myself that inaction tends to breed further inaction, and action tends to breed further action. There is an inertia in whatever state you are in that builds upon itself."
The biggest point I want to make here is that "action begets action." When I'm busy, I move from one thing to the next and accomplish a lot. When I sit around and do nothing, my mind starts to wander to all sorts of potential problems, most of which won't come to pass.
Action can also alleviate fear. As I state,
"Sometimes, when I have an uncomfortable call—say, I need to call back an employment prospect to tell that person we’re offering the job to someone else or make what I know is a low offer—I stack that call between easy calls. Then I just start blasting through those calls. I don’t even give myself time to hesitate or become nervous before the difficult one."
Check it out!
I always find it somewhat amusing when science comes along to prove the blatantly obvious. But in this case, this is a well-timed study. From the European Journal of Social Psychology,
"Groups that perceive themselves as victims can engage in “competitive victimhood.” We propose that, in some societal circumstances, this competition bears on the recognition of past sufferings—rather than on their relative severity—fostering negative intergroup attitudes. Three studies are presented. Study 1, a survey among Sub-Saharan African immigrants in Belgium (N = 127), showed that a sense of collective victimhood was associated with more secondary anti-Semitism. This effect was mediated by a sense of lack of victimhood recognition, then by the belief that this lack of recognition was due to that of Jews' victimhood, but not by competition over the severity of the sufferings. Study 2 replicated this mediation model among Muslim immigrants (N = 125). Study 3 experimentally demonstrated the negative effect of the unequal recognition of groups' victimhood on intergroup attitudes in a fictional situation involving psychology students (N = 183). Overall, these studies provide evidence that struggle for victimhood recognition can foster intergroup conflict."
Victims usually perceive a perpetrator. This goes for individuals as well as groups. Of course, sometimes they are right. If someone assaults you, you are a victim and the person who committed the assault is the perpetrator.
But with regards to groups, especially in multiethnic, multiracial and multicultural societies, a victim mindset is destined to produce discord and division. The "oppression Olympics" as they're sometimes divisively called will undoubtedly create what this study calls "competitive victimhood" and thus, "negative intergroup attitudes."
This is an unavoidable problem when true oppression is there. And while I would never deny that there are no problems of oppression in the United States, isn't it ironic that some of the most privileged people who have ever walked the face of the planet-namely American college students-are the loudest in talking about how supposedly oppressed they are.
This mindset has already caused plenty of damage. If it persists, it could lead to a catastrophe.
"Every day is a new life to the wise man."
The Righteous Mind
Star Slate Codex
Consulting by RPM