(img: chris sampson)
What if you are better, more creative, more accomplished, more talented than you ever thought you were?
I know there are some great quotes about this type of thing out there. I was just reading one of them the other day that likely sparked this whole thought process.
What if you have the power within you, to be the creative spark that brings new hope to someone?
What if you have the power to change the course of an entire family, community, generation?
What if you have more energy, more ingenuity, more skill, more poise than you ever thought possible?
What if you are much cooler than you think you are?
Seriously, you are a superstar.
How do we know this?
Let me explain...
This week, I asked my seven-year-old son what he got on his science test last week.
He answered, "B+"
"Great job," I said.
Then he said this, "There's a girl in my class who cries when she doesn't get an A - so she cried today."
Here we go, the day has come where I have to explain to my son how the world really works.
"Aidan, you know, tests are important, they're very important. But you know what's more important? Much more important?"
"What Dad?" ... with a little hesitation in his voice.
"It's how hard you try. How much effort you give. How much you commit to getting something done that really makes you who you are."
"What do you mean, who I am?" he says.
Oh boy, it hit me that I had "a lot a splaining to do".
From what I can tell, grade school is grading my son using tests that mostly verify his memorization abilities.
You get an A and you're good.
You don't - you cry.
And I find myself falling into the trap of going along with that nonsense.
In the real world tests are only one small part of the battle.
Sure, we have to do our driver's test and different professions have their "weed out the people who can't memorize" tests....accounting, real estate, law, doctors etc.
But that's only a tiny part of the battle.
The other part is how hard you try.
How much you commit.
How much focus, discipline, and creativity you have.
Let me share a story from my childhood...
In Senior Kindergarten (yes, I'm going way-way back!) I was appointed into the "gifted" group of kids that got to colour the super advanced drawings of Farm Animals instead of just the simple ones.
I don't what's more hilarious, the fact that I still remember that, or that there really was a gifted program in SK.
In grade one I was removed from that group, apparently, my colouring wasn't up to snuff!
I have been forever scarred and don't play with crayons to this day. 😉
But then something changes...
At about the age of 24, through the door walks in "the real world."
And the real world doesn't give a rats tail how well you can write a test.
The real world wants results.
The real world spits out people who can only write tests.
The real world doesn't care about theory.
The real world cares about implementation.
I'm sure we all know a "genius" lawyer, accountant, real estate agent who is just "so smart" but has all kinds of struggles. Financial and/or otherwise.
The real world doesn't acknowledge their "A" status.
And that's what I want my son to know.
He's two scoops of awesomesauce because he tries hard. He really gives it his best.
Sure, the marks are important but the effort is more so.
I love him a lot. A real lot.
And I want him to know this.
And you know how I know you're two scoops of awesomesauce too?
Because you're a real estate investor.
Why does that give you "awesomesauce" status?
Let's walk through a day in your world...
Financing changes and challenges - CHECK
Unruly sellers to negotiate property purchases with - CHECK
Advertising that just isn't pulling like it should - CHECK
The odd tenants with a nutty and unreasonable demand - CHECK
In-laws who think you're taking too much risk - CHECK
Friends who think you're crazy and behind your back may smile if you fail - CHECK
Deals that fall apart b/c banks change their requirements after initial approval and you have to find a Joint Venture partner in 12 hours - CHECK and CHECK
Massive downpours that cause flooding, wet carpets, insurance claims and unbudgeted expenses - CHECK
Mortgage Insurance curve balls, Joint Venture agreements, having the pressure of silent investors on your shoulders - CHECK, CHECK and CHECK
Real estate agents that don't present offers to their own clients - CHECK
Having co-workers roll their eyes whenever you talk "cap rates, cash flow, and appreciation" - CHECK
Handling all of this while managing your 9-5 life, your family, and maintaining a social life - CHECK
Dealing with stress, time limits, and complaints - CHECK
Creating cash flow, building equity, gaining invaluable skills, and creating a future that will provide more freedom and a greater lifestyle choice - CHECK, CHECK, CHECK and CHECK
Let us ask you this....
Where is the test that can prepare you for that stuff?
Real life is about creatively solving problems.
When a curve ball comes your way you adjust your swing and go for it.
Having faith when no one else does.
Acting when you have 80% of the knowledge instead of 100%.
Making mistakes, correcting them and then moving on.
Real life has lots of failing grades. But when you follow-up on those challenging experiences, like only you can, with double the focus, double the effort, and double the creativity that only you can bring to the table - then the F becomes an A.
Your unique advantage?
It's the uniqueness you have inside of you.
It's the way you look at a problem and find a solution that only you could.
It's carrying the weight of others on your shoulders and getting the job done.
It's flying in the face of the naysayers who sit still, gossip, and talk behind your back.
It's even surprising yourself with your own ability sometimes.
It's the amount of time, effort, and energy you dedicate to your cause.
Here's my fear, my biggest worry...
That through social norms my son will have a sense of entitlement because he got an "A" on a piece of paper.
That things will be served up to him on a silver platter.
That he won't have to get his hands dirty.
Don't get me wrong, subjects like English, Math, History are all important.
And there are some great teachers in the system. was fortunate to have a few myself. It's just that the "overall" system is designed in a way that ignores subtle but extremely valuable experiences in youth.
Things like conflict resolution at recess and talking things out inside of getting frustrated and conquering your fears?
The last time I checked there weren't categories on his report card that read:
Overcame impossible odds and stretched himself/herself this semester. A/B/C/D/E/F
Scared beyond belief of the deep end of the pool but jumped in anyway. A/B/C/D/E/F
Had no idea how to get something done, researched it overnight, implemented something, and failed to accomplish the goal but learned how to get things done. A/B/C/D/E/F
Didn't let peer pressure stop him/her from wearing that cool shirt that he/she designed by himself/herself. A/B/C/D/E/F
Believes in himself/herself. A/B/C/D/E/F
Got a C+ but worked hours on end, with integrity, and helped his classmate gain a sense of confidence. A/B/C/D/E/F
Helped the community in three different ways. A/B/C/D/E/F
Here's my question to you and I already know the answer:
What if you are more creative and more powerful than you ever dreamed?
Because you are.
You and I both know it.
Here's the bottom line.
We are proud to be associated with real estate investors and the community of them (us).
Thank you for having us. You have given us more than you know.
And as for my son...
I will work hard to ensure he continues his journey without getting discouraged at meaningless milestones.
Or at least trying to instil the proper perspective about them in him.
I don't want him crying when he gets a B+.
He's two scoops of awesomesauce.
And so are you.
Until next time ... Your Life! Your Terms!
(note: his was originally posted Feb 26, 2010. We feel the message still applies today and was worth sharing again! Our son is obviously much older now and we're as proud of him as ever!)