Success- an Army story - Posted by Matt B

Posted by John (KS) on December 09, 1998 at 08:13:35:

Great story Matt!

Success- an Army story - Posted by Matt B

Posted by Matt B on December 09, 1998 at 07:08:09:

I have noticed many newbies, like myself, posting on this board with questions concerning the validity of courses, or advice, or wanting to know how to get started in real estate investing. I have also noticed, in my short time posting here, that many will pop up with a flurry of questions, get the answers that they need to get started, and disappear. Some may resurface asking a question or 2, seeming more afraid than ready to deal. Jackie talked earlier about “taming the fear monster”. I have taken many steps since starting my real estate investing career towards meeting a goal of quitting a job to pursue real estate as a career. I have been congratulated because of my courage to keep driving toward this goal by taking consisent, measurable actions every day. I hope none of the seasoned investors here take this as my being full of myself, bragging about the baby steps that I am starting to take. This post is really for those just starting to investigate this field, then find that there is so much to learn, legal contracts to understand, sellers to offer to, buyers to find, etc.

I joined the Army National Guard a number of years ago because I could not afford to pay for college and could not get financial aid. I wanted to get a job in electronics and needed a degree or certificate.

When I went to basic training, it was just like what the Army vets that I had talked to said that it would be. There were drill sergeants screaming at you constantly, push-ups every 5 minutes, getting up at 4:30 in the morning, tons of running, and lots more drill sergeants screaming at you. I expected that. At the same time, I knew that all I had to do to succeed was take the advice of those that had been there before me and listen to the drill sergeants, do the push-ups, JUMP out of bed at 4:30 in the morning, stand at attention and let the drill sergeants scream, and run when I supposed to run. I also thought of the few MILLION or so others that had been through basic training before me and had successfully graduated and moved on to their next duty.

This seemed to be a foreign concept to most of the guys in my basic training unit. When on “fire watch” guard duty at 2 a.m., I would hear a lot of these “manly” men crying themselves to sleep. During the day, many would whine about how much that drill sergeant was screaming at them. Some would drop out of the group runs because “that hill looked too big”. (Drill sergeant would rip them a new orifice, of course.) Even the guys who would do great in one area would then whine and moan about another. (For the record, even though I started out being the slowest runner in the platoon, and would slowly drop to the back of the group during a run, with the drill sergeant screaming in my face, I kept moving and didn’t complain. Even when everyone got to go back to the barracks to shower and get ready for breakfast, and the drill sergeant had me run for another mile while screaming in my face, I just quietly pushed on. Not once did I change my way of thinking, which was, “Plenty of other people have already been through this. All I have to do is what I’m supposed to do”)

I could not figure out why the vast majority of these guys were so miserable. They signed up for this, didn’t they? Plus, where else would someone feed you, clothe you, give you free shelter, and hand you an automatic weapon to go out and play in the dirt with every day? Why was I the only one having fun? I thought that it was so cool that we got to go out one evening and have 3 M-60s firing tracer rounds over our heads while crawling on our bellies through the dirt. I thought that it would make a great story some day. (It did!) I guess it showed that I was having fun while everyone else was crying and complaining because I was made platoon guide by my drill sergeants.

Basic training went so smoothly because I knew that so many had done it before, and if they could do it, I certainly could. No one else seemed to realize that, though. They were under the impression that they were going to fail any day now, and were under so much stress because of that drill sergeant who was screaming in their face, that basic training was one of the hardest, most stressful things that they had ever been through in their lives. We even had a couple of guys quit and go home because it was just too stressful for them. On the other hand, I left feeling that I had just been through the most interesting, FUN things in my entire life!

Then one day, a really weird thing happened. My platoon graduated basic training! The weird thing is that this “overwhelming stress” had not actually killed anyone as it was believed to be capable of doing. How odd!

Now I’m sure the experienced investors here saw the point of my story a while ago, but in case you didn’t catch it, here it is. As I have begun my real estate investment career, I have been told by many experienced investors on this site what to expect. There will be lots of initial learning, lots of unmotivated sellers who will imply that I’m an idiot for even suggesting what I propose, realtors who think that I’m talking crazy when I propose the right kind of deal, people around me who tell me it can’t be done, and lots of things that can cause a person stress.

Knowing now what to expect, I can then realize that MANY people have done this before. MANY people have been through the exact same process. And guess what? The stress DIDN’T kill them! In fact, because of having gone through the “stressful” experience of getting started in real estate, they are multi-millionaires! (Gee, and all I got for basic training was a certificate and a nifty stiped pin!) And nobody even fired tracer rounds from an M-60 at them. (Or have they?)

I have learned to let the starting-out process be fun. Sure there are plenty of things during this process that could be stressful, but why not treat them as fun? I have found an awesome support structure on this board, and am having fun learning the process of finding owners of vacant houses, talking to new people, finding out how to determine what a property is worth, constructing an offer, which points to bring out when negotiating, finding buyers, etc., etc., etc. FUN, FUN, FUN!

I really don’t mind at all, either, that the “graduation” will be a few thousand dollars! (Sure beats that little striped pin.)

My point is that for those of you who are starting out, ENJOY THE PROCESS! It can be as much fun as the “graduation”! Don’t be the one that decides that it is “just too stressful” for you and drop out. Look at the huge amount of “graduates” who post here every day. They are only a TINY slice of the large number of successful investors out there!

Have FUN!

Re: Have Fun - Posted by Bill Barnes

Posted by Bill Barnes on December 09, 1998 at 10:41:44:

Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed it.

I always figure that if I don’t have fun it’s my own darn fault.


Re: Attitude!!! - Posted by Dave-TN

Posted by Dave-TN on December 09, 1998 at 08:58:50:

Thanks Matt, terrific story… I remember well, my same exact experience, some 36 years ago. I can still hear
that DANG drill sargent…Perception is everything.
“Your Altitude is dertimined by your Attitude”.

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win
glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure,
than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy
much in that grey twilight, that knows neither victory nor defeat.
– Theodore Roosevelt

All the best to you.