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Inner Game

Are You Ruled by Your “Amygdala”?

brainEver hear of an “amygdala”?  It’s a little almond-sized organ inside your brain.  It’s responsible for:

  • Arousal
  • Autonomic Responses Associated with Fear
  • Emotional Responses
  • Hormonal Secretions
  • Memory

Quite a list, huh?

For today’s lesson, the area on which I want you to concentrate is the one about “Autonomic Responses Associated with Fear”.  That’s just a fancy way of saying your amygdala is that voice inside your head quietly whispering:

“Don’t ask that girl out – she’s not interested in you.”

“Please don’t play me coach – what if I screw up in front of all these fans?”

“Don’t start that business – they never work out.”

“Don’t buy that investment property – you have no idea how to be a landlord.”

babyWhat Fear Looks Like

The amygdala evolved thousands of years ago, in order to protect cavemen from giant beasts.  It’s the classic fight-or-flight response, but that little organ is now choosing “flight” far too often.

I want to talk to you about how to selectively choose the “fight” response in your brain – because it is the ‘fighter’ who makes the fortunes in real estate.

But before I can go there with you, you must first recognize the signs of “flight”…

Flight is all about inventing ways to avoid taking risks.  This evasive tendency towards “flight” is sabotaging progress towards your real estate success. Your amygdala tries to get you sidetracked so you don’t do the challenging tasks which truly need to be done.

Let me give you some examples of how to recognize that your amygdala is winning:

  • You keep buying books on real estate investing thinking, “The next one will provide my silver bullet.”
  • You keep going to real estate bootcamps, seminars, and local meetings – but you never take the prescribed next steps.
  • You defer maintenance on the investment propert(ies) you have purchased, because it might reveal even more problems.
  • You don’t return missed phone calls from potential leads, because you think they won’t want to deal.

successWhat Fighting Looks Like

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” – Thomas Edison

Nobody became rich in real estate without encountering some setbacks along the way.  The first step to becoming a true real estate mogul is to understand that you will have setbacks.  But those setbacks are the greatest learning tool you will ever find.  (Far more so than the books, seminars, boot camps and other “education” that you see all over the place…)

Now don’t get me wrong.  A large portion of those commercial education products can minimize your setbacks.  After all, most of that material is the result of mistakes that other people have made. 

It is great to supplement (I repeat *supplement*) your education with those books and training products – but, for goodness’ sake, don’t spend all your time and money on them.  Heck, don’t even spend most of your time and money on them.  Instead, spend most of your time and money on activities that will bring you wealth when you DO get them right. 

It’s like a pilot flying an airplane.  The pilot must act to set the course and operate the aircraft, in order to arrive at his destination.  You are the pilot of your investing business.  The books and courses help you to learn to fly, and many of them can improve your skills…  But ultimately you must (i) sit in the cockpit and (ii) crank-up the engines.

pilotTake some time to learn.  Then implement.

Take calculated risks.

Analyze a deal.  If it’s good, move forward.  If not, move on.

Then do it again until you have a good one.  (And the good deals are out there!)

Once you have taken the plunge, do it again.  Look at each of these steps as a learning opportunity.  And if you have a setback, view it as a self-created seminar that you just “bought”. Remember: It’s NOT the end of the world.

Classroom seminars cost you money, and there is no chance of making money from them directly.  Conversely, your self-created real world “seminars” may cost you some money, but they also have a good chance of actually making money for you in the long run.

Baby Steps to Conquering Your Amygdala

Are you spending too much time buying education products? Are you spending too little time learning by building your real estate business?  Then here are some tips to change that ratio:

  • Accept that your amygdala will fight you.  Recognize that voice in your head.  Know that it will fight you.  Imagine using your middle finger to send it an obscene gesture every time it ‘talks’ to you.  Or better yet - use your Amygdala to guide you. Many times that almond is scaring you about exactly the path you should be taking.
  • Start small and work your way up.  Look through your own house and find things to sell on Craigslist. You will have to write ads, talk to buyers, negotiate and possibly fix or clean the items.  All of these are the same skills used to flip houses, but you start with much smaller risk.   Start the habit of putting yourself ‘out there’.
  • rewiredFind someone to push you. Just as people exercise or diet with a partner to push them.  Find another potential investor or trusted friend.  Tell them what you plan to do and have them hold you accountable.
  • When you have setbacks, don’t panic.  Take a deep breath and ask yourself ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’  Take some time to brainstorm solutions to the problem.  Sleep on it if you can.  You will often find a much better solution after you have thought about it for awhile.  That’s where real learning takes place.
  • “If that guy can do it, this should be easy for me.”  There are lots of people who are making a ton of money in real estate.  Some are smarter than you.  But there are also a lot that aren’t as smart as you.  Even Donald Trump was $600 Million in debt at one time.  But they all had one trait that made them rich - persistence.  That is a function of attitude, not natural talent.  Keep telling yourself that you have what it takes to make it big.
  • Network, network, network.  Being around people who are kickin’ it creates positive peer pressure.  It’s a lot easier to do something if you know “everyone is doing it”.  Not only will you gain access to more deals, learn more and enjoy their company, but you will feel more comfortable taking calculated risks.  Join forums, go to meet-ups, and make contacts.
  • Stay away from negative people.  Remember that everyone else has an amygdala too.  Their amygdalas will get worried when it sees someone else be successful. It will create feelings of resentment.  Many investors will hear all kinds of reasons why they should not invest from both family and friends.  They will call you “slumlord” or “crazy”.  They will try to bring you down.  It’s because you are showing it can be done.  And it takes away their excuses.  Don’t let that talk bring you down.

Going for your dreams involves risk.  It’s hard.  There are a ton of things working against you.  But that is why there are so many people in the world struggling today.  “Moguling” can be done by anyone.  But it is actually done by only a few. 

Why not be one of them?


Do It To It! Immediate Action Steps

Accept – Accept that your amygdala will fight you.

Start Small – Start small and work your way up.

Recruit a Motivator – Find someone to push you.

Keep Calm – When you have setbacks, don’t panic.

Be Tenaciously Optimistic – Keep telling yourself that you have what it takes to make it big.

Recruit Tenaciously Optimistic Teammates – Network, network, network.

Save Your “Flight” Reflex for Losers – Stay away from negative people.

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