Be Careful What you Say

August 29, 2008

“Be careful what you say, you might be listening.”  Steve Dickason (1949- we’ll see)

        If someone said this previously, I apologize for the plagiarism.


Ever wish you could predict the future? If the answer is yes, read on.


If you listen to the things you say to yourself, you will get a pretty good idea of where your life is headed. Self-talk is a very powerful form of visualization – one of the ways in which your conscious mind communicates with your subconscious.


Maxwell Maltz (Psycho-cybernetics) referred to the subconscious as a servo-mechanism, tasked with doing everything within its power to bring the world in line with our expectations. One of the ways we communicate expectations is through self-talk. Unfortunately, what we say does not always reflect what we want.


Self-talk is as likely to reflect our fears

as it is to reveal our dreams.


Example: You want to list a very expensive home that a neighbor tells you about to come on the market. But if your mind-chatter is saying: “I have no experience listing homes in that price range.” “I can’t compete with people who list expensive homes for a living.” you are unlikely to prevail or even make the attempt.


Negative self-talk can convince the subconscious to sabotage your efforts: you miss your listing appointment because you accidentally put it in the wrong time slot in your PDA, you get too sick to leave the house, you can’t find your car keys. There are a million ways to not do something and kid yourself that it’s not your fault. Obviously, self-talk can be dangerous: It can also be a powerful tool for growth.


When you detach yourself from self-talk and listen critically, you can predict your future. Better yet, you can control it. Years ago my wife, Cheryl, was a student of Silva Mind Control. She taught me the technique of saying “cancel, cancel” any time I notice negative mind chatter, and then replace the negative statements with positive ones, affirming the desired outcome.


To continue with the previous example, replace the fearful, disempowering beliefs with statements like: “People always respond positively to my marketing proposals” “I know I will do a better job for these sellers than any of my competitors.” “This listing is mine!”


Convinced of this new reality, your subconscious will provide the courage, time, energy and intuitive insights necessary to make it happen. At the presentation you will exude self-confidence, you will be truly present as you listen to the seller’s needs, respond with articulate, cogent and compelling reasons why they should hire you. And, you will have the courage to close for the listing, knowing that it is already yours.


To post comments, questions or your own experiences with self-talk, click on the “comments” prompt below.


To view my monthly Marin Market Update, visit I will post a new message on September 2nd with graphs and discussion that may surprise all who believe that the press knows anything about our housing market.

How Hard Can You Get Hit?

August 23, 2008

Quote of the Week


“It ain’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep movin forward.”  

                       Rocky Balboa


From the mouths of fictional punch-drunk fighters…


Part of living a happy, stress-free life is choosing your battles wisely. If we were to pick a fight every time life failed to turn out the way we’d planned, we’d all be punch drunk.


Choosing your battles means deciding how important it is that another driver fails to let you merge into an exit lane. Once it happens, there is nothing you can do but look for another opening or go to the next exit and double back. You can perform these tasks in an agitated, finger-out-the-window manner, or you can take a deep breath and “keep movin forward.”


How you react to life’s little disappointments is determined by “how hard you can get hit.”

1.    How much criticism can you take?

2.    How important is it that you are right?

3.    How important is it that others acknowledge your accomplishments?

4.    How do you feel when others act in ways you don’t agree with?


In the end, we have very little control over the actions of others. What we do control is how we react to those actions. How quickly and effectively we “move forward” depends to a great extent on how we react to adversity.


Having been in real estate sales since 1976, I have managed agents through several recessions and numerous transitions in the housing market. When the market slows down, many agents have to move through all four stages of grief: Denial, Depression, Anger and Acceptance. By the time they finally achieve acceptance, the bills are piling up and their pipeline is empty.


The agents who continue to thrive in the midst of change are those who calmly analyze the situation, make adjustments and keep working.


Succinctly stated by Joe Pass (The Guitar Player Book) “When the chord changes, you should change.”

Happiness is The Way

August 17, 2008

Quote of the Week


“There is no way to happiness: Happiness is the way.”

                           Wayne Dyer


This is one of the most important quotes of the 20th Century (and one I have written about many times). If, as a species, we really understood these 10 words there would be no need for anti-depressants. We would eat less “comfort” food, make fewer impulse purchases, slash the divorce rate, reduce the demand for illegal drugs and convert most of our prisons into condos or college dormitories.


Why is happiness so elusive?


Most people I know make happiness contingent upon the achievement of … something else.


“If I could just get one very expensive listing.”


“If I could experience just one more good market.”


“If I could only lose 50 pounds.” If, if, if.


But, if being happy is such a great thing, why do we make it so difficult to achieve?


You don’t have to be Carl Jung to recognize the training program. From infancy we learn that if we act in certain ways, we make people happy – in other ways, and we make them sad or angry. A baby screams and her parents freak. She stops, they smile and coo. When you brought report cards home, did your grades affect your parent’s happiness quotient? 


There is an ancient parable that demonstrates the folly of conditional states of mind – I’ll paraphrase:  A man had two great treasures in his life: his son and his stallion. They both brought him great happiness. The man woke one morning to find that his stallion had run off. With half of his treasure gone, he fell into a deep despair. Later that day the horse came back and brought along with him a beautiful wild mare. The man was elated. The next day his son tried to ride the new mare but was thrown and broke his leg. The man was again distraught. Shortly thereafter, a war broke out and the soldiers came to the village to conscript young men into the army. All were taken but his son who could not go because of his broken leg. The man was overjoyed.


The original parable goes on to epic lengths, the man’s emotional state being bounced back and forth by events beyond his control. The age of this story tells us that we have been placing conditions on happiness for a very long time. Are we then doomed to be unhappy unless…?


Through the years, I have learned two valuable lessons – “ways” to dramatically improve my state of mind. The first lies in the second part of the quote, “happiness is the way.” 


Wayne dyer suggests that instead of making happiness the result of achieving this or that, we make happiness a goal – independent of all others. It requires a shift in how we speak to ourselves. Here is a typical conversation you might have with yourself on the way to work: “If I can get this offer accepted today, I’ll be thrilled – life will be good.” Notice how you’ve made your state of mind contingent on a buyer writing a good offer and a seller accepting it? Good luck with your mood. Alternatively, you could say, “Today I will be happy and content no matter what happens.” Now, you might also want to say, “Today I will get this offer accepted.” The key is to not link the two statements.


As always, change begins with awareness. Notice how your mood rises and falls along with the degree to which your expectations are met. At the same time, focus on Being Happy instead of achieving things that will Make You Happy.


The second “way” to on-demand happiness is closely related to the first. But, instead of focusing on happiness as a distinct, independent goal, it speaks to how we perceive the world around us.

According to Dan Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior), all unhappiness comes from looking at the world the way it is and wishing it were some other way. If we could accept the world as it is, we would be content at all times.


How can we accept a world, however, that is filled with hunger, war and cruelty? That is a tough question. The answer is found in the understanding that you can accept something as being just the way it is supposed to be at the time, and still want to facilitate change. Sound impossible?


Let’s say that you have a fear of public speaking – most people do. But as part of your prospecting plan you would like to give talks to community organizations. Fighting your fear, blaming yourself or others, regretting past lost opportunities can all result in anxiety, stress, and sadness.


Accepting that your fear is a natural result of past experience and programming removes any reason for blame or regret. Now, whether you fight your fear or accept it, you are capable of overcoming it: I know, I had to do it at one point in my life. But, by first accepting my situation, I removed a great source of discontent and unhappiness.


It’s important that you don’t confuse acceptance with passivity. I am not saying that you should accept everything just the way it is and do nothing to change your situation or the world around you. Actually, accepting the current state of things frees your mind to take more effective action. Free from anger and frustration, you can think more clearly, evoke more creative ideas and become a more efficacious person.

Seek First to Understand

August 9, 2008

Quote of the Week


“It’s not what I think that counts, nor is it what you think that counts. It’s what I think you think and what you think I think that really counts.” Denis Waitley


Without communication, we would be as isolated and insulated as a delicate plant in a vast, lonely desert. It is our ability to communicate that allows us to interact, to become a community. Having evolved this amazing facility, doesn’t it make sense that we make the most of it?


Like many things that evolve over eons, we often take communication for granted. We are blessed with the ability to understand the needs of others and assist in fulfilling those needs, but all too often turn a deaf ear as we focus on our own wants and desires. This doesn’t make us horrible people, just people. Protecting our egos is something we learn at a very young age. But like many habits formed in childhood, what works to protect us as children can render us ineffective and dysfunctional as adults.


Fortunately, it is never too late to form productive habits. It starts by noticing when you are thinking instead of listening, focusing on your answer instead of the other’s experience. Once noticed you can begin to short-circuit your old listening patterns and form new, more effective ways to listen.


I think Stephen Covey stated it best: “Seek first to Understand, then to be Understood.”