In recent years I’ve been accused of Being an Opportunist, An Information Junkie and Always Asking Too Many (God-damn) Questions (directly or indirectly).
I chuckle at my accusers because it is my Insatiable Curiosity that has allowed me to achieve, succeed and thrive as a Business Consultant, a Real Estate Investor and an Entrepreneur throughout my entire life.
Aside from my love for reading instilled in me by my Aunt since childhood, I was also taught the practice of finding out the key pillars of critical thinking, for myself: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How and How Much. (Yes, How Much, because Money always Matters!)
Even when I failed miserably and experienced severe losses, that ballsy insatiable curiosity gene of mine always asked myself 1) What the Hell Happened, 2) Why Did This Happen, 3) Who Was Involved, and 4) How Will I Not Repeat the Same Mistakes Again?!
Opportunities Abound Everywhere!
As the years go by I observed that we miss out on Opportunities daily because we’re not curious enough.
We are so caught up in the mental fog of our own Fears, Doubts, Worries, Anxieties and Insecurities, that incredible opportunities could be screaming in our faces and we just don’t see or hear them because of our fog!
As you go forth in life, consider giving yourself a chance today to step out of your fog long enough to see the clear light of opportunities that may or may not be for you.
If for you, you can seize them now to solve your own problems and eliminate or minimize worries that keep you in the fog in the first place!
I know we all have Trust Issues in a world of fake news and fake friends.
However, we have to take chances and risks to seize new opportunities today as they come before us.
I love listening and learning about all sorts of topics, then asking questions to fill the gaps left in my mind.
I always want to learn and understand HOW THINGS (REALLY) WORK and the people who make things work.
I want to know what motivates people to do what they do and what their life is like behind the scenes or behind closed doors when they do it.
In particular, I want to understand what people do and how they benefit from it.
I want to know what drives them and exactly how they profit and become better off…
I’ve always wanted to understand how people make money, how much they REALLY make (gross and net) and what it took to make it…
I just want the satisfaction of knowing and understanding for myself!
In my early 20’s as a young real estate investor, with the mentoring of a motherly Indian real estate agent, Indira Raghu, she was caring enough to take me under her wings and guide me into buying not only my first home but several other smaller investment properties in the area.
She is now deceased but as I reflect on my life, much gratitude goes to her for caring enough to get this wide-eyed ambitious young black girl on the path to building a solid real estate rental portfolio in her mid-20's.
As we drove around in her BMW with her big fat MLS book with all the listings (mobile apps didn’t exist back then), we were only looking at 1–4 family properties, but I always wanted to know how investors acquired the larger buildings: multi-family apartment buildings and commercial properties.
The people in my circle at the time, including other smaller property owners and landlords couldn’t tell me.
At the time, the only way I knew to buy real estate was to work as a technology consultant and save 20% to put down on a rental property.
That worked well for me on several smaller properties but then to buy a $1M+ building I didn’t have the know how to generate $200K for a downpayment!
Because of my insatiable curiosity, I eventually learned that one way that those higher priced multi-unit and commercial properties are purchased is by doing a 1031 Exchange (Section 1031 of the IRS Tax Code) which allows real estate investors to exchange the equity they have in smaller properties, tax deferred, to acquire larger properties with more cash flow.
I first learned that strategy from David Lindahl, a well-known apartment building investor and trainer, and I went on to do several 1031 exchanges from the properties that Ms. Raghu helped me acquire.
So, by simply asking questions and being curious enough to learn how those men buy those big buildings, I got the answer and was able to do it myself.
Of course, I also learned that some just had a pile of cash from inter-generational family wealth and some raised money by doing a syndication or creating a private money fund to acquire high dollar investments.
I learned there were numerous ways to finance and structure deals, but only after I asked and followed the money!
I’ve been blessed to study and learn from wise and successful entrepreneurs and investors over the years who are kind enough to share their insights, ups and downs, knowledge and experiences, in books, courses and live events.
Many look at the expenditure as an expense, but to me it’s an investment that saves me time figuring things out on my own.
Just imagine if I never learned what a 1031 Exchange was?
I’d never be able to graduate beyond investing in 1–4 unit properties!
Learn Enough to Make Informed Decisions:
Okay, I’ll confess that to this day I have serious Trust Issues.
I’ve fallen victim to scam artists and just trusted people who I thought had my best interests at heart.
Since my early years in business, I’ve always been a risk-taker and therefore an easy mark for contractors, service providers, other investors and startup entrepreneurs seeking venture capital.
Of course, I take full responsibility for my actions and decisions in doling out money and I realize I was just too trusting and uninformed, or ignorant.
I lacked knowledge, the tools of due diligence and financial insights back then.
Because of wise mentors, education and simply investing in deals over the years, I have the financial sophistication today to make smarter decisions when it comes to my own money and determining who and what to invest my time and money in.
At this time in my life, I’m crystal clear about what I will never invest in and why.
I’m also crystal clear on what I will invest time, money and energy in today because of the high ROI (return on investment) on my time, money and energy in my later years.
The dirty secret is that I spent literally millions of dollars that came through my fingers to figure out what I have no business doing and what I should be doing.
I became crystal clear from going through the school of hard knocks and failing forward every year. I also got to know my strengths and short-comings which is critical for each of us.
Better to easily leverage our strengths than to work on improving our short-comings or weaknesses. The latter is an uphill battle with constant resistance!
Over 25 years later from driving around with Indira Raghu in her shiny BMW, the maxim “Know Thyself” is profoundly ingrained in my brain, because it’s only from getting to know myself and love myself enough to trust my own instincts, that I can quickly say No or say Yes based on Informed Decisions about what Assets and Opportunities to pursue and invest in.
The key point here is to get the information first to make an informed decision. That informed decision then becomes a Yes or a No.
It’s perfectly okay to be the information junkie and get enough information for your comfort level to decide what’s for you and not for you.
I’ve often been labeled an information junkie since my early years as an investor because I spared no expense in investing in my real estate and business education.
There were failures and losses along the way but the insights, wisdom and lessons are PRICELESS!
I’ve learned TONS MORE from my failures and losses than I have learned from my successes and easy wins. Ponder that!
Sadly, we miss out!
Too many of us just say No to EVERYTHING without being properly informed because we have trust issues: we don’t trust ourselves and we don’t trust other people or institutions.
I challenge you to never lose your insatiable curiosity 1) To take time out to understand opportunities that come along, 2) To learn how things work and 3) To make informed decisions that take you to a Yes or a No decision.
By the way, don’t get stuck in limbo at Maybe!
Make a definitive Yes or No informed decision.
Life is too short to be stuck in eternal limbo.
Once your curiosity is satisfied and your research done, go forth and take action or move on to something else that’s more appetizing, if that opportunity is not for you.
To my accusers I say there’s nothing wrong with doing that!
For My Insatiable Curiosity? Yes, I’m Guilty as charged!