Episode 3

Welcome to Minding Your Mind, a weekly show for those looking for new thinking about old knowledge in the areas of Time, Living, Success, Health, Love, and Happiness.

In episode 2, I introduced you to the Beast and talked about needs, wants and choices on one hand, and about addiction, distraction, and speed on the other. I showed how the combination of these make living in a modern world complicated, the navigational tool I use to take control, and the one thing it all boils down to.

 Do you have an idea? Are you committed to it? Do you have what it takes to achieve your goal? What, in your mind, is success?

Today we talk about commitment, action, belief, attitude, confidence, and luck. I will also tell you a story that involves all these attributes; a story I believe you will find very inspirational, yet very unlikely. So, get ready for another serving of Mind food.

 Hello, William here. Philosopher and author of the book titled Now O’ Clock…Being Mindful, it Always is.

For as long as I can remember it is customary to make resolutions at the beginning of a new year. My first question is, why? What makes the beginning of the year so special? Is it because the word “beginning” or “new” has some power of suggestion that would make it more likely to accomplish a goal you may set?

Who first came up with the idea of making resolutions at the beginning of the year, anyway? I don’t know, and I’m not going to waste precious life to find out. I’m just asking. Still, I think it is an idea that needs to be refreshed. It is time for new thinking about old knowledge.

If you are working on a new year resolution, good for you. Don’t stop. For you, I start with a quote that may inspire you to stay on your path. It’s titled, Less Than A Mile.

“Once you have made the first step into the mile toward your goal, you will always have less than a mile to go. Don’t stop now” unquote.

I don’t make new year resolutions, and I am not suggesting that you follow my way. If it works for you, do it.

I just take issue with the time, not the idea. I believe any Time is the right time to make a resolution, if your mind is made up to make it, you honestly believe you can achieve your goal and if you have a realistic plan written down anywhere.

As resolutions go, they are usually to stop, start or continue to do something? Is yours just resolution, or is it, an idea tied to a commitment?

Without a commitment, how likely is it that there will be any stopping, starting or continuity of anything? If you are not now ready to commit, or haven’t made up your mind, don’t worry. You don’t have to wait until next year.

Achievement is reserved for those who are mindfully awake and committed to endure the journey.

To set upon your journey however, you will need a positive attitude, the belief that you can achieve your goal and, a commitment.

Just as important, your first step into the Mile toward your goal must be taken with an open and nimble mind. You may need to adapt and adjust along the way, and that’s OK. It’s all part of any journey.

 Having a working definition of what success, and the achievement of your goal looks like, is a good idea. It will illuminate your path. If you are continuing something, you may already be working with a definition, perhaps your own, and if you are satisfied with your progress, stay on your path.

Who is to say any one definition is wrong or better than another? The right one, is the one that works for you.

Otherwise, feel free to be guided by mine. I hope that it provides an engaging perspective for you if you haven’t made up your mind yet and thinking about beginning your journey.

Success means different things to different people and most define it as, “the achievement of a goal”.

However, my view is that I could not have achieved my goal without experiencing Success. On the other hand, I could experience Success without having achieved my goal.

Of course, I would prefer to achieve my goal, who wouldn’t, and if I didn’t, surely, I would feel disappointed, but not defeated.

To feel defeated or that I had failed, I would have to disregard the “journey” which was necessary to achieve my goal in the first place.

It’s about “Results” they say, the embodiment of things tangible like a new car, house, or a trophy. Then, there is the new job, technique, being published, an advanced degree or peak awareness through Mindfulness.

Tangible or not, the world identifies us as being successful because of these embodiments or statuses and the recognition is without the need to know what was involved in the commitment to endure the journey;

a journey paved with hard work, sacrifice, intermittent wins and temporary setbacks, the stress, frustration and anxieties, on our way toward the goal.

Hopefully, your journey will be smoother and paved with some good luck too. But luck is the exception, not the rule. So, don’t rely on it. There is no substitute for a commitment fueled with positive expectation.

Having said that, I am reminded of something someone said about hard work. I don’t recall who. Anyway, she or he said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get”. Make of this what you will.

I had that experience.  But it did not involve hard work per se. But I was prepared to seize the opportunity before I got lucky.

Here is the unlikely story. I was a civil deputy sheriff at the time and had to visit an office building to serve a summons. The gentleman was there and invited me into his office.

I served him with the summons, he looked at it and casually laid it on his desk. He said he knew what it was about. There was a mix up with his corporation’s name and another that was similar. He invited me to sit with him to have coffee and cake, and to tell me the story.

Then I asked him what he did, and he said he was a real estate investor. I asked him how business was. He told me it was good and going to get much better; that a business forecasting letter called Kiplinger predicted that there would be a real estate boom starting in the year 2000.

He said that I should get a real estate license so that I could be ready when the time came; that there would be money to be made.

This was in the spring of 1997. I thanked him for his hospitality and his advice and went on with my work.

Soon after, I went golfing with a friend and his wife. She was a real estate broker and had her own office. I told her the story I just told you and she offered to sponsor the real estate course I had to take and told me not to worry about the state exam; that she believed I could pass it.

That following Monday I had a Tax notice to serve a gentleman who was a regular. He was a broker too, and his real estate business was focused on foreclosures.

I thought I could pick his mind for some real estate advice. But there was not much to pick. All he said was, “you got to get lucky”. I asked, “that’s it”? He said, “yep, you got to get lucky”.

I started the course on a Monday and finished on Sunday, six days later. I could only take a week off from work, so I had to do the intensive crash course. Let me tell you, not doing that again.

Studying intensively, I crashed every night for six nights and it wasn’t me who took the end of course exam. It had to have been my zombie.

 Anyway, I finished the course and passed it. Then I sat for the state license exam and passed it too; the first time. It was 1997 and I was now a licensed real estate agent.  

License in hand, I went to work parttime with my friend’s wife. The first time there, I did not know where to start.

To get my feet wet, she gave me a listing. It was a small house listed for 82 thousand dollars. I sold it, paid her back the cost of the real estate course, thanked her for the opportunity and moved my license to an office in Miami beach.

One day I had to serve the same gentleman with a tax notice, yes, the one who would always tell me, “you got to get lucky”. I told him I now had a real estate license and before I could ask him a question, guess what he reminded me of? Of course, you don’t have to guess, you know, “you got to get lucky”. It was the last time I asked him anything about real estate.  

Two years had passed. It was now 1999 and I had only sold a small house for 82 thousand dollars, a couple of small condos, one for 125K and another for 145, and did some rentals.

During a showing for one of the condos I was selling, a buyer’s agent told me something that turned out to be the genesis for the unlikely story.  He told me he was not satisfied with the small rental commissions and all the work he had to do to sell a condo; that for the same amount of work and time he could make real money in commercial real estate sales and that I should get into it. I said, “I don’t know about that”.

He was talking about the major league in real estate, and I did not have the credentials, knowledge, experience or confidence to play with the big boys.

But then he said something I never forgot; it was something that made a lot of sense to me. Still, at the time, it didn’t raise my confidence level. I guess you could call it Mind food I needed time to chew and digest. I had to think about it.

He said, “the difference between the little boys and the big boys in real estate sales was the number of zeros after the first digit”.

It was an interesting but intimidating view to someone who lacked confidence. Perhaps I was being comfortable having a well-paying full-time job and real estate, as a part time thing.

Anyway, I had some experience now, but I was still lacking in confidence. Maybe, I had to wait a little longer and get some more sales under my belt.

One day, I went to an apartment building, let’s call it the 820 building, to serve an eviction notice. The owner happened to be there. He told me that even if the tenant were inside, that he would not answer.  Still, it was my duty. I knocked on the door and, got no answer. I walked back to the lobby where the owner was sitting, “you see what I mean”, he did not answer, right”? “No, but I will wait a couple of minutes and try again”. In my experience I had done this many times.

Meanwhile, I chatted with the owner only to find out that he and his brother owned four apartment buildings on the beach, and that there were more tenants that would need to be served with eviction notices in the coming weeks.

After chatting for a while, I went back to the apartment, knocked on the door, the tenant opened, and I served him.

Eventually, the eviction notices for the other buildings landed on my desk and were ready to either be served or posted.

To get my work done, sometimes I needed to contact the owner to either gain access, or to get a sense of what kind of tenant I was dealing with. Sometimes it can get dicey.

A couple months had gone by before we became better acquainted, and I still had not met his brother.  I will call this one J, and his brother M.

J was the one usually there because M had a business in Chicago and would have to fly out twice a month.

One day, at the 820 building, I met J and M in the lobby, said hello and sked where apartment 203 was. I went there and posted an eviction notice. On the way out, I could see that they had been working on something. They were sweaty and dirty. After all, they maintained their own properties.

It was the first time I met M in person and right off the bat I noticed his demeanor was different than was J’s. He did not talk much. Maybe he was just sweaty, dirty, and tired.

We chatted for a couple of minutes and I left.

Sometime after, I returned to the 820 building and J was there. I posted a notice and met with him in the lobby. He said to me, “I’m getting tired of this tenant business. It is too much of a headache and I am thinking about selling”.

I got the sense he was suggesting something here. Now, I did not remember if I had told him, I had a real estate license. Apparently, I had.

Now, listen to this and tell me if it’s not crazy. J asked me if I would sell the building for him, and I choked. “Who me”? Why would he trust a part time real estate agent to sell millions of dollars of real estate holdings? But he was serious.

If it were me, the idea would never have crossed my mind. I would want an experienced professional commercial real estate broker to sell my holdings, not a deputy sheriff. This was not a 145K condo sale.

I had to have been in shock to continue the conversation because he went on to ask me to talk some sense into his brother who I was not comfortable with. “What makes you think M would listen to me”, I asked?

 I was honest in letting him know that I had only sold a small house, a couple of small condos and did some rentals.

Again, you won’t believe what he said to me next. He said, “It’s not a big deal, man. You can do it”. But he was talking to a man who did not have the confidence to take on what he said was not a big deal. I guess I appeared to him as being confident. Otherwise, I can’t explain why he thought I could do it.

Mind you, J was a former broker and restaurant owner, and M was still running his restaurant in Chicago. These guys had money and knew how to make money.

I said to J, “you, talk to M and let me know”. I also told him that if they decided to sell, that I would think about it. I only said that to sound confident, but I was not. Maybe, it was the thought of a big fat commission check that made me dare say it.

While J am M talked, I used the time to gather my thoughts about the real prospect of getting a listing to sell a multimillion-dollar property. I called my broker who was specialized in selling multimillion-dollar properties and he said, “let’s do it”!

I told him that I could not do the selling because I did not have the time. I had to work. So, we came to an arrangement. He would do the marketing and selling, and I would keep the owners in the loop. We also agreed to a commission split, 60% for him and 40 for me.

A couple of weeks later I met J at another one of his properties and he told me he had talked to M and that he was kind of ok with selling. I told him about my broker and the arrangement we had, and he was ok with it.

A few days later I brought him the listing agreement. But it would be for 90 days only. I’m sure that was the compromise he had to make with M who was not fully committed to sell. J signed it and the property was listed for 2.8 million dollars.

I could feel my hand trembling as I held the contract. It felt like I was holding a bomb that would go off at any moment.

I rushed over to the office and handed the contract to my broker. For him, it was just another deal. Surely, I did not have that kind of confidence.

About a month went by and J called me. He wanted to know if there were any offers. I told him I would get back to him in a few minutes. I called my broker and he said there were none yet. I called J and told him as much, and he sounded somewhat disappointed.

A few days later at the 820 building, I met with J and he, listen to this, said we, meaning him and I would let the current listing agreement expire and that he would relist for six months with me as the principal and only agent in the deal, and so it was. Talk about going from 0 to 60 in 3 seconds.

It was obvious he trusted me with his holdings, and that gave me the confidence to see the deal through.

Three months into the listing, I got an offer for full asking price, 2.8 million dollars, and closed the deal soon after.

Everyone was happy and made some money. J was happy, the attorneys were happy, the buyers were happy and even M was happy. We all shook hands at the closing table, popped a bottle of champagne and toasted. Cheers!!

 OH! By the way, did I say that I was happy too? My commission check was more than my salary for the year. How could I not be happy? I was smiling so hard I thought I would tear my face.

I had found my confidence and went on to sell and buy properties for J and M. The Kiplinger letter was spot on. Real estate sales boomed in 2000 and crashed in 2005. By then I had made some good money.

Two things I reflected on during those times. The first was, let’s call him, Mr. tax notice who always told me “you got to get lucky”. But was I lucky, or was it something else, something I have never been able to figure out?  

Then there were the words of the agent I worked with doing rentals. Yep, I was one of the big boys playing with lots of zeros. He was talking about my first commission check for selling the first 2.8 million dollars of commercial real estate. Not bad. Not bad at all, right?

The series of events that led to my success in the short period of time I practiced real estate seemed, scripted by destiny.

It started with my visit with the real estate investor who told me about the Kiplinger forecast and his advice that I get a real estate license in time to get some experience and make some real money. He planted the thought in my mind.

Then it was my encounter with my friend’s wife on the golf course, her sponsoring the real estate course I had to take, her confidence in that I could pass the state licensing exam, the first time.

I always heard that it was one of the most difficult exams to pass, and that the average agent had to take it at least twice before passing it.

Then it was J who trusted me with millions of dollars of real estate holdings. To this day, I still do not understand why.

In the end, I’m still not sure luck had something to do with my success. I believe it was, people who gave me advice, people who believed in me and me being prepared to welcome the opportunity.

 However, I believe the most important thing was overcoming my lack of confidence, believing in myself and daring to play with the big boys.  An amazing and emotional journey; an unlikely story.

One thing all successes have in common however, is that they all begin with a single thought. Mindful of this, we are animated and passionate about doing those things we believe would make the idea a present reality some “Now” into the future.

No, I did not forget to share, with you, my definition of Success as I “Feel” it. Here it is.

 “Success is a series of emotional experiences lived while in the pursuit of a worthy goal. The achievement of that goal is the embodiment of success”.

Is this a definition you can work with? I hope so. It is living with intention, passion, and purpose. This is what fuels the journey.

Paradoxically enough, it doesn’t matter if the goal is achieved. The experience of Success is still a necessary precondition, and for me it is deeply personal and only I can feel it. No one can experience it for me. The same is true about feelings of disappointment.

Here, I am suggesting that one can be successful even if the goal is not achieved. Having said so, I am mindful that, for many, failure to achieve a goal means one is less than successful. I totally disagree. We’re talking about life here. It does not change the reality and the importance of the life you’ve lived while in pursuit of your goal.

My meaning of Success also suggests that one cannot fail in terms of life lived while in the pursuit of a worthy goal. How could it? This life lived should never be thought of as a waste of life; a waste of time; a waste of lifetime. It is all life; life best lived; win, lose or draw.

 For those who believe not achieving a goal makes you less than successful, see if you find meaning and inspiration in this quote. It is titled, Failure.

“Think of Failure as nothing more than a temporary experience. It is not a permanent condition or a terminal disease. Experience it, and then let it go. Survive it and try again. Nothing scares away Failure, more than another Try. Nothing is more attractive to Success, than courage; the courage to try again “unquote.

Now, are you ready? Here goes. On your mark, get set, give it your best shot.

When I set upon the achievement of a goal, it is with the belief that the goal can be achieved; otherwise, I would not act. Then, when I decide to act, there often seems to be a lurking feeling of the fear of failure.

Now, imagine pursuing that same goal, but with “anxious anticipation” instead of fear. Anxious anticipation is my own perception about outcomes, and this mindset seems less stressful.

For me, it is all about perspective and this one makes pursuing goals easier, and achieving them, more certain. It makes for a better journey.

When I commit to the pursuit of a goal, I do not disregard all other facets of my life. I still live my entire life as I go on about pursuing my goals, and I do so mindful of “Being” in the present, when leaving anything out is impossible.

The reality is that my life is always whole in the Now and because it is, I am always living my entire life; not some of it, not most of it, all of it, all the time; so are you.

Furthermore, it is especially important to me, that the quality of the life I now live, as I pursue my goal, be nonetheless meaningful and satisfying. It may as well be. I am headed in that direction anyway.

Hey, life is a one-way street, a 180-degree experience. Remember that.

I believe life is a Journey mostly fueled by emotional experiences that, as best I can, I try to regulate through thoughts and perceptions. I also believe that life’s pursuits, however sophisticated or simple, are temporary episodes experienced during the Journey that is, my entire life.

A quote titled, Live Now.

“The quality of the life you now live as you pursue your goal should nonetheless be meaningful and satisfying. Think about it this way. The Thrill lives in the Hunt but dies with the Kill. The Thrill is in making the most of your life now. The Hunt is the experience of pursuing a worthy goal, and the Kill is the goal achieved and the reset of a new one “unquote.

Just in case, let me explain. The Thrill is about making the most of your life while in the Now. You may as well. We are all “Traveling Hostages” of the Present as we journey through life in Time. Then there is the Hunt; the intentional pursuit of a worthy goal; an episode interwoven into our lives as a whole and culminating with the Kill; the goal achieved and the reset of a new goal.

To make my definition of success easy to work with, I present it to you as an Acronym. Starting with the letter, S.

S for Serious. The pursuit of a worthy goal should be treated as a serious endeavor.

U for Unstoppable. You will need to be passion-driven as you pursue your goal. Don’t beat yourself up if you encounter setbacks. Press on with anxious anticipation; not FEAR.

C for Commitment. Overcoming obstacles, as they will arise, is where your degree of commitment will determine if you are to achieve your goal. Realize that “Attaining many things in life is much easier than making the commitment to actually attain them”. In the words of the late Zig Ziglar, you must be the bacon in a “Bacon and Egg” breakfast. In it, the chicken is merely involved. But the pig is committed. You see, the chicken can always lay another egg, right? But the pig, the pig gives his life so that you may have bacon.

C for Confidence. Confidence and positive expectation are what will keep you moving toward your goal. It will get you out of bed in the morning. It will pull you into the future with anxious anticipation.

E for Eager. Of course, you will need to have the “get-up-and-go” to get to where you want to be. However, don’t expect anyone to share a drink in your vision of a successful journey toward your goal if your pop has no fizz.

Fizz is the enthusiasm gas that exudes from the passion you are driven by and, it can be contagious. You will need this gas because you alone cannot achieve your goal; others will be involved.

However, to keep them involved, it will take enthusiasm to capture their imagination and gain their trust to journey with you. Keep your Emotional tank filled with Enthusiasm gas.

 S for Smart. Know what to do, what steps to take, follow directions, figure things out, seek advice, research, etc.

S for Satisfied.  You should be satisfied having achieved your goal. Celebrate! You should also be satisfied even if you did not achieve your goal, It’s Life. The Universe does not always conspire with us, and it may be why we don’t always get what we want even having done all that was required or expected.

Still, the time and the experiences lived will never be in vain. It is your Life lived; a life that qualifies you to say, “I gave it my best shot,”. It talks to the Journey, your Journey, and the series of emotional experiences lived. A worthwhile Time of Life lived.

Now. I realize that for some, this mindset may not be easily adaptable and, I understand. Having put all on the line, and still fail, could be overwhelming.

For those I repeat my thinking about failure. I hope it will shift your perspective. “Think of Failure as nothing more than a temporary experience. It is not a permanent condition or a terminal disease. Experience it, and then let it go. Survive it and try again. Nothing scares away Failure more than another Try. Nothing is more attractive to Success, than Courage; the courage to try again.”

I leave with a quote titled, Trust. It is a quote I live by.

“Trust God, and as you do your best, believe in yourself, be patient and, trust your destiny” unquote.

 It’s time to commit to experiencing success.

Next week in episode 4 I will talk about indecision, what I believe causes it and how to overcome the reason why.

Until then, stop by my website, nowoclock.live. There you will find more original, positive, inspirational and thought-provoking content you can mind your mind with. Share what you find there and spread any idea you agree is worth spreading. There is something there as there was here, for almost everyone. I hope there was for you.