The Obstacle Is The Way
Maree Tassell explains why the challenges of property investment are also the solutions.
1 June 2019
Firstly, I can take absolutely no credit for the title of this column. It is 100% plagiarised from the title of a book I have just read by author Ryan Holiday.
The book draws its inspiration from stoicism, the ancient Greek philosophy of enduring pain or adversity with perseverance and resilience. Stoics focus on the things they can control, let go of everything else, and turn every new obstacle into an opportunity to get better, stronger, tougher. As Marcus Aurelius put it nearly 2,000 years ago: “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way”.
I found the content of this book so useful that I have recommended it to my friends and staff and I now am doing the same to you.
This Is Why:
Property investment often isn’t easy. And it’s not meant to be. Every week I talk to new, nervous investors or want-to-be-investors who with trembling voices ask me “But what if something goes wrong?”. I don’t think my initial assurance that things will go wrong at times is quite the answer they are expecting. However the news is certainly not grim. It is exactly those same challenges, mistakes and frustrations that create the foundations for our eventual success.
Going to the gym and starting to lift weights can hurt - initially. But that pain is also the evidence of progress being made. Likewise, developing persistence and gaining experience in property investment also pays off.
Example: I am currently in the process of subdividing my property and building on the rear section and the process has been long and painful as I keep getting sidelined with unexpected issues and delays. I’ve done subdivisions before, but not like this. However, I’m not too fazed as I know now that I am going to learn things I don’t yet know and the end result is I will develop skills I don’t currently possess. So I am curious to see how it all pans out.
A great example I have seen is with clients who use the strategy of relocating properties. The first time they attempt this, they usually swear it will be their last. The delays, the hidden costs, the consents – and the contractors! And then voila, it is done and often the financial rewards are worth it. So away they go again, and each time it gets a bit easier. That is why so many investors follow a similar type of pattern as they proceed, as continuing with a formula they now understand becomes more straightforward than embarking on a new direction.
The Obstacle is the Way provides examples from some of the most successful people in history - from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs - who have applied the principles of stoicism to overcome difficult or even impossible situations. Their embrace of these principles ultimately mattered more than their natural intelligence, talents, or luck.
So you too can take heart. If you’re feeling frustrated, demoralised, stuck in a rut or completely “over” property, it may be that it is your attitude that is the problem more than the situation itself. Taking a long term view and combining it with a short term resolve to be responsible, adaptable and open can make it all worthwhile.
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