13 Year Old Boy Abandoned on a Construction Site

My first job was delivering newspapers.

The "Mississauga News."

Back then the Mississauga News had this strange policy.

You would deliver the paper to houses that had requested it - every week - and then randomly delivered the paper to some houses on the route one week and others the next week.

That way only the people paying actually got the paper each week.

The people who weren't paying got the paper "occasionally."

I always thought it was strange.

Anyway, I was so scared to collect money for the paper that I often neglected it for weeks.

There was this one house where I had delivered the paper each week for three months and I finally summoned the courage to ring the doorbell to collect payment for the past three months ... when I explained to the lady that I wasn't able to get a hold of her for weeks and she owed a large amount of money she screamed in my face.

I almost peed my pants.

I was ten.

I can't tell you how stressed I was.

My mom had to drag me back to the house and made me talk to this lady again until I collected money.

How many times have mom's saved all of us?

My next job was stocking the coolers in a convenience store for $3.50 an hour.


I thought I had hit the jackpot until I learned that the storeroom was filled with mice and rats.

I was petrified to go back there each week ... but I did it ... and still have nightmares about it I think.  LOL.

I can't tell you how stressed I was.

My next job was with my father in construction.

By this time it was the mid-1980's and our father's construction company was growing like wild.

My first day went like this.

1. Our dad told me to wake up and grab some lunch from the fridge. Time: 6:30 am

2. He drove me to the job site. Time 7:00 am

3. He took me into this 3 story hotel job with about 80 units on each floor ... it was huge.

4. He pointed to a buggy, a broom, and a shovel and said to go into each unit, collect the drywall and dump it into the dump box in the parking lot.

5. Then, he left. Time 7:30 am

I was 13.

I almost peed my pants.

There were these huge construction guys who knew I was the owner's son giving me "the looks."

I had no idea how to break down these massive scraps of drywall and drag them down three stories and into this dump box.

The buggy had wheels but it clearly could not walk downstairs.

So I started throwing the stuff out of the windows as close to the dump box as possible and then would go out and clean up the mess.

I'm sure I was breaking all sorts of construction site safety rules.

My first lunch I sat at the side of the dump box and ate my sandwich and had enough money to buy a drink from the "coffee truck" that came by.

I can't tell you how stressed I was.

But I worked every day - all summer.

Now, looking back I consider these experiences ... especially having to figure out the power dynamics of a construction site on my own ... as priceless stressful experiences.

And I look to put my own children in similar situations.

Over the years it's become obvious to me that our capacity to grow is in direct correlation to the amount of stress were able to handle.

If you've lived a relatively stress-free life then you freak out easily.

This is not a good thing for real estate investors or business owners.

But if you've been stressed out over things in your life you end up building up a resistance to it. Your ability to handle it increases.

And this is good.

Some of the very best beginner real estate investors we work with are people who have high tolerances for stress.

So both Nick and I never look at stress as a bad thing.

And it's part of the reason that when new investors "stress out" overfilling their first property with a tenant - we don't get upset or feel bad for them - we feel like proud parents.

Watching them grow and learn.


And we're constantly growing too.

Something that stressed us out three years ago doesn't even make us flinch today.

My children live a relatively good life, very good.

My job as their father is to stress them out. Put pressure on them. Make them feel the heat.

Most parents think I'm crazy when I start talking like this.

After reading that Richard Branson's mom abandoned him miles away from home as a kid and told him to find his own way home (which he did, in 3 days or something) ... I got the bright idea to drop off my 9-year-old son in St. Catherines and ask him to find his way home to Oakville.

Now, my wife, God bless her, talked me out of that one.

Apparently, times have changed and that's not a good "stress test" anymore.

And ... who knows, perhaps it's a criminal offence of some kind. 🙂

Regardless, if you're going through stress right now, realize this ... it's a good thing.

You're exercising your stress muscles.

Your capacity to handle more and more is growing.

Soon you'll be laughing in the face of stress.

You'll understand that there's a huge opportunity in stressful situations.

I didn't understand that when construction workers yelled at me, housewives refused to pay me, or rats hissed at me.

Now I do - and hope you do too!

Bring it on - bring it all on!!

Until next time ... Your Life! Your Terms!


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0 comments on “13 Year Old Boy Abandoned on a Construction Site”

  1. Man, this is powerful, powerful message!

    I am so glad to be connected to real people like you.

    Different, weird, wonderful!

    Cheers from Munich on my way to somewhere for a month. No plans, no direction. Bring it on.

  2. This post is SO true! I got possession of my second investment property last month and found it stressful supervising renovations and filling the property. Thankfully the renos are now done and it's filled! I was super stressed out at times, but I agree - it's a good thing, and my ability to handle stress continues to grow 🙂

  3. "What wonderful advise", My husband Wayne and I purchased our first investment property, we were to say the least "stressed" and the whole situation this entailed.We had purchased house on Friday 5:00pm and held an open house on that Sunday "What were we thinking"? As you all know house had to be cleaned and prepped, we worked like crazy and the stress was high!!! Sunday rolled around coach Mark came said we would be fine "BE FINE" then why is my heart pounding out of my chest? Well it was fine once we got through the first few people, heart settled down, as a matter a fact it slowed down to the point we had our new investment rented in 4 weeks. The stress is gone now but I am sure it will return to show itself on our next investment, can't wait!! will be a little easier..

  4. No matter what you do in life, stress will always be there. I gave up the stress of leaving home every year to work 4 months straight in the oil patch to stay at home with my family and take full time work there instead of seasonal. We have just purchased our third rental in the past year since I left the "patch" and our August to do list is like this. Reno top suit of new unit, evict bottom suit tenants for future reno, clean up and fix suit at 1st prop (tenant moved out) and rent out, clean suit at 2nd prop after the "party tenant" that was evicted moves out and rent out as well. Oh ya, and there is that full time job as well.
    I don't think the stress is less, but at least I get to share it with my wife and kids. 😉

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