You Must Start From Where You Are Now

Performance Property Real Estate Question

Q: Gerald, I want to be a real estate investor but there are no good deals in my market, I don’t have any investment capital or any experience. Adam, Bergenfield, NJ

A: Nobody starts out with any experience when they do anything for the first time, Adam. As the philosopher, Lao-tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” If you want to be a real estate investor you have to start. Whatever you set out to do, wherever you want to go, you have no choice but to start from where you are now regardless of your present circumstances.

Here’s a little story to illustrate my point: Ed & Mark are friends from elementary school who decide to meet in Las Vegas to catch up and reminisce. Ed lives in Cleveland and Mark lives in LA. Living in Los Angeles, Mark is already much closer than Ed and thus can drive to Vegas in 4 hours or jump on a one hour flight. Ed has significantly more challenges in order to meet up with his friend–Cleveland is over 2,300 miles away from Vegas which is 35 hours by car and 55 hours by train not to mention the fact that Southwest airlines recently reduced direct flights from Cleveland to LA to once per week because of the pandemic.

The inescapable truth is that if Ed wants to get to Vegas, he can’t change the fact that he now finds himself in Cleveland and it does him no good to complain about it or to fantasize about how much easier it would be to get to Vegas if he started in California, Nevada or Arizona–he must start from Cleveland because that’s where he is now.

Most of us wish we were closer to where we’d like to be right now, but rarely are we afforded the luxury of being able to decide exactly where we get to start our journey.  Nevertheless, being rooted in the present moment allows us to  recognize the gifts we already have (friendship in the case of Ed and Mark) as well as our purpose (a fun experience in Vegas).  Wherever we decide to go, we have to start from where we are right now.  Thanks for your question, Adam.

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