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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Will you or won't decide

“The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will and the other from a strong won’t.” – Henry Ward Beecher in the Monterey County California Herald.

Many times we tend to see ourselves as persevering in situations when in reality we are just being obstinate. I know that it was obstinacy rather than perseverance that kept me out of the foreclosed homes game. I was adamant (obstinate) about not getting dragged into some of the muck that was going on in the early days of the housing crisis.

By not being flexible and not allowing myself to find a way to work in a positive fashion with foreclosed homes, I missed that opportunity. Not all listing agents back then were sleazy, just enough that it made me cringe to think of joining their ranks. A few good agents held their noses and jumped in and eventually made the whole process better by bringing better practices to the process. Good for them.

I initially shied away from the short sale market, too; initially not willing (obstinate) to put up with the long delays and need to spend so much time in the frustrating process of negotiating with bank clerks who didn’t seem to care about anything. Fortunately I found a good short sale partner to handle the stuff that I really still don’t like and allow me to do the real estate parts and the interface with the sellers, which I enjoy.

In this area the opportunity to persevere, if you’re a Realtor, has been all too real. Many would-be Realtors got in and got out shortly thereafter, when they found that there were no quick and easy rewards to be had in real estate. Many had been laid off of other jobs and saw real estate as a potential new career with very low entry requirements. Many real estate companies with business models that depend upon agent fees and churn were offering encouragement to those people.

Let’s face it anyone with a couple of hundred bucks and a week’s worth of time can go through the licensing course and probably pass the test to get a real estate salesman’s license. What they didn’t understand is the time and perseverance that it takes to actually start making money as a Realtor. Many left after a few months, having spent hundreds on all of the start-up costs required to get into real estate. Many were not told about all of those costs on the front-end.

Those who remain in the business, as the current recession winds down, have had to demonstrate both perseverance and creativity. They have also had to deal with a great amount of obstinacy on the part of would-be sellers. The belief that waiting another month or two will somehow result in all of the lost value magically returning has been a very stubborn belief to overcome for many.

From time to time, I suppose it’s advisable to try to take as honest a look at your life as is possible (and maybe get a second opinion) and evaluate which of the things that you believe you’re being persistent about might just be cases of being obstinate. Ask yourself is if these are things about which you have a strong will to accomplish or a case where you just refusal to admit that your goal was wrong in the first place. Sometimes it’s better to let go and move on than to persevere towards the wrong goal. Let a strong will rule your life, not a strong won’t.

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