One Thing & Another

Notes From My Journal

The Importance of Being Earnest

He had accepted the opportunity to become a partner in our Jiu Jitsu studio, but a week after he started he realized he couldn’t do it. He had two other jobs, a sick mother, and a car that seemed to break down every other day.

He wrote a long letter of resignation, apologizing and explaining his decision. Because he felt guilty about breaking his commitment, he made the letter formal and expressed his excuses in a sort of legalese, thinking they would carry more weight.

Before posting it, he read it again. It wasn’t doing what he wanted it to do. It sounded defensive and almost pompous. He tore it up and started from scratch. This time, he wrote from the heart:

Dear Mark,

 I fucked up. I should not have said yes to your kind offer so quickly. And now I’m afraid you are going to be really angry, and I don’t blame you. I have to quit this job…

 And rather than post it, he walked it in. His hand shook as he handed it to me. I read it. I wasn’t surprised. I suspected he had bitten off more than he could chew.

I didn’t feel anger. I felt compassion. More than that, I was so impressed with the honesty and authenticity of his writing that I offered him a scholarship to take the American Writers & Artists beginners program for copywriting https://www.awai.com.

He went through the program lickety-split. And now he’s working as a part-time copywriting apprentice. My bet is he’ll be making six figures in less than two years. Then he can quit all his other jobs and do Jiu Jitsu for fun.

Today’s Word: tub-thump (verb)

To tub-thump is to promote something or express an opinion vociferously. Example from Jean Zimmerman’s historical novel Savage Girl: “Ever eager to tub-thump America’s vast superiority, local civic chauvinists wanted our homegrown exposition to outstrip them all.”

Worth Quoting

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.”

– Viktor Frankl

From My “Work-in-Progress” Basket

Is Someone Abusing You?

Here’s How to Claim Your Power Almost Instantly

He was the kind of person that leaned into you when he spoke. Poked you in the ribs to emphasize his enthusiasm and never laughed at your jokes. When he met K for the first time, he put his arm around her waist. I didn’t like him, but I was making good money from him. So I put up with it. For a while…

Tony Robbins once told a story that went something like this:

He was on a flight in the first-class cabin when he was identified by a well-dressed, middle-aged man who said, “You the power guy, right?”

When Tony acknowledged that he was, the man confronted him. “I’ve watched your infomercial, and I think it’s crap. The way I see it, everyone falls into one of two groups: the powerful and the powerless. Ninety-nine percent are powerless. And regardless of what you promise them, they’ll stay powerless.”

“You’re missing the point,” Tony said. “Everyone has an untapped power center, and I show people how to unleash it and use it to fulfill their dreams.”

“Bull!” the man replied. “You want to see real power? Watch this!”

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One Thing & Another

Notes From My Journal

On April 16, 2007, I wrote this in my journal:  Rents are expected to go up in 2007. This would be the third year in a row. The rise is projected to be 5% this year for a 14% total rise since 2004, a report by Marcus & Millichap said. That compares to a 4% increase in pay. Over the same period, adjusted for inflation. Marcus & Millichap says this situation will make housing more difficult to find, especially in the coastal cities.  They predict the trend will continue for another three years. From 2000 to 2004 landlords couldn’t raise rents, USA Today said, because tenants were leaving to buy houses or condos. To feed that buying frenzy, about 300,000 apartments were converted to condos for sale in the past 3 years. Now, even with 92,000 new rental units this year, the stock is still too little to meet the rising demand. New York City is one of the worst. There rents have increased 7% in the last year. The national median rent will be $943 a month, which is 60% of the median mortgage payment of $1,566. Renters will get a break in Miami, Las Vegas and San Diego, where investors bought up thousands of condos hoping to flip them. Since the market faltered, many of those investors will need to drop rents to help them pay expenses or will be forced to sell them at steep discounts.

That was then.

This is now…

Since 2010, housing supply has increased considerably. Thousands of new units have been built and so the market for rentals has slowed. My partners and I have been selling our single-family holdings in favor of small-to-medium apartment buildings (8-50 units). And though we have seen some evidence of prices going down, it’s mostly on properties that were priced too high to begin with. As a result, we’ve had a tough time finding buildings in our general price range (up to 8 times gross rents).

Today’s Word: career (verb)

To career (kah-REER) is to go at top speed. As in “We careered toward the embankment.” Note: “Careen” means much the same thing.

Worth Quoting

 “Compassion is probably the only antitoxin of the soul. Where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless.”

– Eric Hoffer

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Word for the Wise

Spavined (SPAV-ind) – swollen, decrepit and broken down. Example as used by Lester Chadwick in the 1913 children’s book Baseball Joe at Yale: I can size a player up as quick as a horse buyer can a spavined nag.”

 Did You Know?

If you keep a goldfish in a dark room, it will eventually turn white.

 Principles of Wealth: #14 of 61

Income is an important factor in the acquisition of wealth, but it is not a measure of it. Nor are expensive possessions. The only measure of financial wealth is net investible worth.

It had a pool in the back and automatic doors on the garage in front. It was the nicest house I had ever lived in and our first home. Three bedrooms. Two baths. Friendly neighborhood. $170,000.

“Do you think I’m being foolish?” I asked. “Spending so much on a home?”

Eddie looked at me as if I was crazy. “Your income last year was more than double the cost of the house,” he said. “And your income this year is higher still.”

“So?”

“I close hundreds of houses a year in this area,” he said. About a third of them are for homes that cost more than a half a million. And they are bought by doctors and lawyers that make no more than you do.

“So?”

“They drive Mercedes. You drive Hondas. They drink Dom Perignon. You drink Proseco. They all look rich, but most of them are in debt. They spend their money faster than they make it.”

“So?”

“How much did you have in savings last year?”

“About $175,000.”

“And this year?”
“About $250,000.”

“That’s what I thought. You are worried about buying a home that cost you about six or seven months of salary. That alone tells me you are an extremely conservative spender.

“More importantly, you’ve made this promise to yourself to increase not only your income but your savings every year. And you’ve been doing that for years.

The doctors and lawyers I know are spending two to five times their yearly salaries on their houses. These guys have great incomes but they also have great debt. Debt that is often greater than their assets. They are buying prestige and keeping their fingers crossed that their financial situation will always be strong. They have zero savings and no net worth.”

“That net worth thing. It’s always troubled me. How can I count my house or my cars? I’m always going to need them. I don’t want to be forced to sell them.”

“Okay, then don’t count them. Count only the net worth you have after subtracting them. Call it something…”

Years later, when I wrote about it, I called it net investible wealth.

 How to Fix Your Business in Seven Days

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Word for the Wise Hauteur (haw-TYURE) – This is a word that you should almost never use because it almost always sounds pompous. It means “disdainful arrogance” or, less often, “overbearing pride.” You will come across it a lot in magazines like Vanity Fairand in art books. So don’t use it… but be sure you recognize it when you see it.   If you want a model of productivity, James Patterson is a great candidate…  He writes novels as frequently as I try to retire – like twice a year. His secret? He doesn’t work alone. He teams up with other less famous and less successful but very capable writers. He gives them the outline. He edits for pace and tension. …

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Word for the Wise Leonine (LEE-uh-nine) = of or relating to a lion. Example as used by Sax Rohmer in the 1915 crime novel The Yellow Claw: “In the leonine eyes looking into hers gleamed the light of admiration and approval.”  Quotable Quote “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary can speak.” – Hans Hoffman Principles of Wealth: #12 of 61 The term “value” is widely understood in theory but rarely in practice. Value denotes that which you can appreciate and benefit from, both now and also in the future. Anything that is valuable to you can be said to be a value. Friendship, for instance. Or fidelity. Or art. Or dance. Or music. …

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Word for the Wise Preternatural (prih-tur-NATCH-uh-rul) – existing outside of nature; extraordinary. Example from George Will: “Beyond his preternatural affability, there is some acid and some steel.”  Champagne Trick A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continually from the bottom of the glass to the top. Principles of Wealth: #11 of 61 To acquire wealth, it is helpful to be able to define it. Fewer than one in ten people can. The answer is “stored value.” That kid driving the red Ferrari? The doctor with the huge white house on the ocean? The attractive older woman wearing the Oscar de la Renta gown? They look wealthy, but you can’t tell by their possessions. …

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Word for the Wise Claque (KLAK) – a group hired to applaud; a group of sycophants. Example as used by Charles P. Pierce in an Esquire article titled “Nobody Knows How to Play This Game Anymore”: “The bill passed the House because the Freedom Caucus, that claque of unreconstructed extremists who hold the balance of power there, gave in a little.”  Did You Know…? Cats spend 66% of their lives sleeping. Principles of Wealth: #10 of 61 Wealth is neither absolute nor objective. This is so because those things that we value are by nature relative and subjective. Your Richard Mille watch cost you $35,000 when you bought it 10 years ago, when the company first came into the public …

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Word for the Wise Pinguid (PING-wid) – fat and oily. Here’s a lovely sentence from The Bunsby Papers by John Brougham that includes it alliteratively: “Peter was pinguid, plump, and plethoric – she was thin to attenuation.” Did You Know… ? If you add up all the numbers from 1 to 100 consecutively, the total is 5050. Keep that in mind. You never know when it will come up in conversation. Principles of Wealth: #5 of 61 Wealth and income inequality are realities that exist in every economy – even those committed in principle to the distribution of wealth. Many people today, believing that equality is an intrinsic and achievable good, seek to flatten financial inequalities through government programs and …

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Word for the Wise Popinjay (POP-in-jay) – a strutting, supercilious person. Example from Ernest Hemingway: “If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing. A writer who appreciates the seriousness of writing so little that he is anxious to make people see he is formally educated, cultured or …

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