One of the greatest lessons I learned in personal coaching was to stop worrying about the past and future. The past has already happened and having regrets will not change what happened. However you can learn from the past and treat past mistakes as education. We don’t know what will happen in the future, but many of us still expect the worst and worry constantly. We can prepare as best we can for the future, but we can’t predict and it does not do any good worrying about bad things before they happen.
This is the second article in my series of articles about how to be successful in life. To see the original article and more in the series check out: How to be successful in life and real estate.
I have 10 fix and flips right now that I wish I would have sold some months ago, but I haven’t. I can’t change the fact I have held on to some properties too long, all I can do is do my best to get them ready to sell to make the most money I can. I did not start taking my real estate career seriously until I had been in the business 7 years. I cannot kick myself for waiting so long, but I can learn from those mistakes to improve how to act now. Interest rates may rise in the future making it hard to add on to my 11 rentals, or hurt the real estate market. I do not know if interest rates will rise, and if they do rise I do not know that it will hurt my investing or the market. I won’t ignore the fact that rates could rise, but I am not going to worry about it either because I can’t change them anyway.
The book that helped me relax more than anything
I have taken part in Jack Canfield coaching for over a year. My coach told me some of his students tell him one book was worth the entire fee for the coaching. That book is Too Perfect, When Being in Control Gets Out of Control, by Jeannette Dewyze. This book is all about obsessive compulsive behavior. When I first saw what this book was about I thought to myself; I am the furthest thing from obsessive compulsive! I have learned to keep an open mind about things, and I read the book thinking I could learn at least one thing that would help me improve my life. I learned about 1,000 things that would help me improve my life, and I learned I was actually very obsessive compulsive. Obsessive compulsive behavior is not reserved for clean freaks or those with obvious compulsive tendencies. I would guess that most successful people are very obsessive compulsive, but do not realize it or realize how much it is hindering their lives and success.
Obsessive compulsive tendencies include many characteristics that most people would consider habits of a successful person. Some of those traits the book describes include:
- Getting caught up in details when completing tasks
- Making sure work projects are perfect, not matter how long it takes
- Having trouble making decisions
- Second guessing choices you make after you make a decision
- Refusing to show emotion, because you are worried others will think
- Being worried that people are always trying to rip you off
- Always trying to get the best deal no matter how much time to takes
- Wanting to do everything yourself because you don’t trust others to be able to do the job right
- Constantly think about work or other problems even when you are not working or supposed to be relaxing
- Constantly think of what could go wrong when thinking about future events
- Get extremely upset when people are critical of your work or unhappy with you, even when the criticism is justified
- Feeling guilty when you are doing something productive even during your time off
As you can see many of these traits are things that very successful and driven people do all the time!
Why is it bad to be obsessive compulsive in life and work?
I can say from personal experience that I had many obsessive compulsive traits. I constantly worried about the future and money, even when I was making really good money. I would think what will happen if I lose my income or all of my business goes away. Have I saved enough money or invested enough money? These are good things to think about, but they should not dominate your thoughts all the time. I would get anxious and actually feel sick sometimes when thinking about money and the future. After reading the book Too Perfect, I was able to relax 1,000 percent. The book not only helps you realize where you might be obsessive compulsive in your life, but also helps you figure out how to fix those tendencies.
Part of being successful in life and business is having time to plan your future, relax with your family and be happy. If you are constantly worrying about the future, worrying about work and dwelling on the past, you are not enjoying life and you won’t have free time to plan for the future and make your life better. If you can learn to relax, stop worrying about things you can’t control or change and live in the present, your life will improve dramatically.
How can you stop worrying and free up more time completing tasks?
The book goes into detail on how to improve your life and let go. It helped me tremendously by allowing me to live in the now and stop worrying. One great tip in the book was most tasks do not need to be perfect. In work it may take 2 hours to complete a task 90% of the way, but the next 10% to make it perfect may take another 2 hours. Getting a task perfect takes a lot of time and most of the time it does not need to be perfect. There are some tasks that are extremely important that need to be perfect, but most tasks can be done 90 or 95 percent and still get the job done. Most people will not even know the task was not completed 100 percent except you. It was hard for me to start doing this, especially with REO work that had taken me so long to get. I wanted everything perfect, and I was scared to let any of my staff do tasks that were somewhat important. I slowly started allowing myself more wiggle room and allowing my staff to complete more important tasks. A funny thing happened, my work improved!
My staff was perfectly capable of completing these tasks and in some cases they were better than I was. The problem before was I was trying to complete 100 different things at once and my work suffered because of it. I was also slower at getting tasks done, because I wanted them perfect and I wanted to do them all myself. When I delegated and realized every task did not have to be perfect, I got more done and it was done faster which is sometimes more important than things being done perfect.
To learn how to use mindset and attitude to make yourself more successful, check out: How to Change Your Mindset to Achieve Huge Success: Why your attitude and daily habits have more to do with making more money and having more freedom than anything else. A 200 page book available as an eBook or paperback on Amazon.
How can you relax more by forgetting the past and not worrying about the future?
Another key component of my coaching and the book Too Perfect, was forgetting about the past. Many of us dwell on mistakes we made or have regrets about how we handled things in the past. The truth is we can’t change the past, no matter how hard we try. It will not do any good to have regrets or worry about how dumb we were a couple of years ago when we missed that opportunity. Yes, we can learn from the past. and everything we have done in our lives helps make us who we are today and gives us education. When I started thinking about the past as education and not stupid mistakes, I felt a great sense of relief. For all I know that huge mistake I made was actually a good thing. What we see as mistakes may have been blessings in disguise; maybe that huge opportunity we missed would have not been a great fit for us even though it worked out for others.
The same holds true for the future; we can’t worry about what has not happened yet. Many people tend to assume the worst will happen when they plan an event, think about money or anything in the future. The truth is the worst rarely happens and usually things turn out okay or even great. I like to plan for the worst, but hope for the best. I don’t want to be oblivious to dangers or things that may occur in the future, but I also won’t dwell on them. I like to plan for what could go wrong, but concentrate on what could go right and how awesome it will be once everything goes exactly as planned.
Don’t worry about what others think of you
I learned a great saying from Jack Canfield; when you are 18 you worry about what others think of you, when you are 40 you stop giving a hoot what others think of you and when you are 60 you realize no one was thinking of you at all. The truth is most people are not thinking about you and being critical of your choices. People are worried about themselves and when they are thinking of you, they are thinking about what you think about them. Live your life and don’t let what others may think of you change how you act and what you love to do. People are critical of me for buying a Lamborghini and I completely understand that, but it makes me really happy. Not everyone will agree with my choice, and the truth is most people are more worried about their own lives than what I am doing. I am not going to sacrifice my happiness for what I perceive others are thinking about me. Especially after you realize most people are thinking about themselves.
This idea really came into play last year when I spoke in front of a couple hundred people at a conference. I was never an outgoing person and I never volunteered to speak in front of anyone. After changing my attitude about life and realizing going out of my comfort zone was a good thing, I volunteered to speak. It was one of the best things I ever did and I felt awesome afterwards. People could tell I was not a polished public speaker, but I think they identified with me better because of that. They went out of their way to tell me I did a good job and had great information. When you see a person speaking, you don’t notice their mistakes or miscues unless they point them out themselves or are super self-conscious about it.
Relaxing and living in the present is one of the most important things you can do to improve your life. It frees up time, makes you happier and will make you more successful along the way. Don’t worry about the past, the future or what others think, live your own life.