The Lessons Of Life - Posted by Lonnie

Posted by Lonnie on March 10, 2001 at 19:21:38:


You’ve posted a powerful message for all of us . I hope everyone will print it out, post it on their mirror, and read it regularly.

Thanks, and see you in Atlanta.


The Lessons Of Life - Posted by Lonnie

Posted by Lonnie on March 10, 2001 at 13:45:17:

On the way home this morning, Joanne and I stopped in for a waffle at one of the waffle houses. As we entered, an elderly woman employee welcomed us and said it would be a few minutes before a booth would be ready. There were vacant seats at the counter, so we decided to take those, instead of waiting for a booth.

Our waiter was a young fella that couldn’t have been more than 18 years old. He seemed very shy and very quiet spoken, and we could barely hear him when he spoke. As I sat there watching him, I had to wonder if perhaps he had just finished school, and this was the first, and maybe the only job he could get. (I certainly hope he didn’t spend 12 years in school to learn to serve coffee, waffles and wash dishes.) Or, maybe he had dropped out of school and this was the best he could do. I hope this is only a temporary stepping stone to a much better life for that young man. But I also have to wonder if he isn’t already programming himself to accept much less than what he’s able to achieve.

As I watched this elderly woman, and this young teenager, I began to see a scenario that’s all too familiar, and much too sad… First, I had to wonder why that elderly woman wasn’t at home enjoying retirement, and spending time with her grandkids, instead of seating people in a restaurant for what was probably minimum wages. And I wondered why that young man was willing to settle for a minimum wage job serving coffee and waffles, and washing dishes, instead of preparing himself for something better. (It’s possible he was working part time and still going to school, and I certainly hope so. But I didn’t get that feeling watching him go about his work.)

While watching this woman, and this young man, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was seeing history repeating itself. Here was an elderly woman who was now paying the price for making the wrong choices in her life. She had many years to prepare herself for a much better and financially rewarding life, but obviously failed to do so. Now, instead of enjoying a good retirement, and doing fun things, it was necessary to spend her old age working a minimum wage job.

And here was a young man who seemed content to follow the same path and make the same mistakes in his life. And if he develops a “comfort zone” mentality with this job, chances are good that he will never reach his true worth and potential in life. Without realizing it, he could be starting his journey through life on the same road as that elderly woman has traveled. And he could be falling into the same life style as so many other people do?working a job he doesn’t like, that pays just enough to get by on. And sadly, this is the same scenario I see everywhere I go.

With so many opportunities available to all of us, why does this continue to happen over, and over. And to so many people? We live in the richest and most opportunistic country in the world. Yet, the majority of the people set their goals very low, and choose to be poor all their lives. Oh, they don’t realize they’re making a choice to be poor, but by failing to prepare themselves to do better, that’s exactly the choice they make.

Folks, all of you have the ability to choose the type of life you want to live. If you want to be like the woman in this story, do like she did. If you want to be like the young man in this story, do like he’s doing. But if you want financial security, and a much better life, then obviously you have to do something much different. If you don’t, then you’ve made a choice to be poor. So be willing to accept the consequences.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at the workshop and the CRE Convention. You’ve made a wise choice. And if I should ever see you in a waffle house, I’m sure you’ll be eating the waffle, not serving it.

Happy investing and see you in Atlanta,


Stewardship - Posted by ray@lcorn

Posted by ray@lcorn on March 10, 2001 at 17:14:13:


Funny you post those thoughts today. I just left a discussion over on Ed Garcia’s board along these same lines. Except our discussion focused on the other end of the spectrum… that of overreaching for deals that one is not prepared to be in… quite the opposite of the never-reaching individuals you described in the waffle house. It is not strange to me that the answer to both dilemmas can be found in the same word… Stewardship.

I posted an excerpt of an essay I included in DealMaker’s Guide to MHPs over on the other board, and I will repost it here. The concepts are exactly those that I have heard you and others teach in so many different ways.

Many thanks to you and Joanne for continuing to shine the light for us all.



Many thinkers much smarter than I am have expounded eloquently on the concept of stewardship, defined as the practice of caring for what has been given to us. True to the teachings of so many sages, I found that the better care I took of the abundance already present in my life, the more abundance I received.

It reminded me of when I was a boy and I wanted a new bicycle. I had a purple ten-speed all picked out, and was hounding my Dad to buy it for me, promising to take care of it, and promising pay him back from my paper route money. He listened to my story, and then asked to see my old bicycle. Now, as a kid, I was a pretty rough on equipment. That bike looked like it had been through a war. The tires were slick, spokes bent and missing, the fenders bent and scratched. My Dad said that if that were the way I treated this bike, what was to make him think a new bike would be taken care of any better? What do you think I did? That’s right, I cleaned that bike up, straightened the dings, shined up the fenders and tried again. Instinctively I had attempted to demonstrate that I could take care of what I had been given in order to receive greater blessings. I got the bike, but the lesson it taught wasn’t truly learned until many years later.

Now that may be a sophomoric story to use as an analogy, but today I look at life in just this way. If I take care of those gifts (talents, money, friends, etc.) that have been entrusted to me, then I am creating the conditions necessary to receive even greater gifts (abundance). If I ignore or waste those blessings by issuing constant complaint and reasons why I can’t use them for good, then the gifts will be taken from me and redistributed to some other soul that is grateful, and ready for more. I will have denied myself the opportunity to use the gifts I already possess to create even more abundance.

This principle of stewardship has guided me ever since. In business it means I am a humble steward of the capital and resources entrusted to my decisions. In my personal life it means I must focus on remaining teachable, knowing I will never know all the answers, or even all the questions. In the day-to-day march of events, I am not being a good steward if I am not always looking for ways to improve, protect and to share the many blessings I have been given.

I hope you can see this principle at work in your life. No matter what your station in life or your situation at the present, if you don’t like it, it is within your power to change it. Your life is but a reflection of your habitual thought. If you are not enjoying the blessings and abundance of the universe, you must first make your mind ready to receive it. Find and express your gratitude for those gifts you already possess. Show the universe you deserve them. Make the most of what you have to do with. Another old proverb says, “Rather than curse the darkness, light a lamp.” In short, be a good steward.

*end of excerpt

I wrote those words because I hear too many people spending their time focusing on what they don’t have. It wasn’t until I learned to focus on and use what I had to work with to the best of my ability that success became part of my life.

Use it or lose it. The choice, as Lonnie says, is yours.