Are we the kind of contender that gets back up?
What kind of player are we?
“But what is philosophy? Doesn’t it simply mean preparing ourselves for what may come? Don’t you understand that really amounts to saying that if I would so prepare myself to endure, then let anything happen that will? Otherwise, it would be like the boxer exiting the ring because he took some punches. Actually, you can leave the boxing ring without consequence, but what advantage would come from abandoning the pursuit of wisdom? So, what should each of us say to every trial we face? This is what I’ve trained for, for this my discipline!”
— Epictetus, Discourses, 3.10.6-7
In a world of the social media scroll, sound bites, and TikToks, how hard is it to stop and really read the passage above? In the midst of all the emails sitting in your inbox, this one requires you to slow down and digest what Epictetus is saying. It is not quick nor easy. It takes something: time, discipline, patience.
Epictetus was talking about boxing. In modern times we often refer to sports like baseball, basketball, and football. We talk about the mindset of these modern day warriors: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Clayton Kershaw. Many look up to these athletes not only for their accomplishments, but for their work ethic, discipline, and especially their ability to bounce back after taking a beating.
Another Stoic, Seneca has written that unbruised prosperity is weak and easy to defeat in the ring, but “a man who has been at constant feud with misfortunes acquires a skin calloused by suffering.” A man like this, he says, will fight all the way to the ground and never give up.
By definition only a handful of people can become “The G.O.A.T.” (Greatest Of All Time), not just in sports, but also in our field of profession. And, many of us are not wired for that “warrior” mentality. For people (like me) who consider themselves ‘lovers, not fighters’ – it can be hard to relate to these athletic type of analogies. However, what Epictetus is saying still applies. We are going to get hit. We are going to get knocked down. Much of this year so far could be considered a very long and uncomfortable boxing match.
If we look around, we see that some people are doing just fine. It’s almost as if their business and activity hasn’t budged – in fact, from the outside, it looks like it got better! On the other hand, some people are really struggling. People are not only dealing with the economic circumstances, but unfortunately for some health has been an issue.
Regardless of where we are on the spectrum, we have a choice as we wake up each day: what are we going to do? Are we going to give into negativity, scarcity, disempowering conversations? Or, are we going to suit up (wait – put on real clothes again?) and move ourselves forward? We aren’t necessarily talking about monumental shifts, or dramatic transformations. We are talking about simply starting with what is in our control: our mind and our actions. They can be simple. They can be small. But they must be taken every day.
The beauty, and tragedy, of real estate is that it is a momentum business. Many of us lost our momentum back in mid-March. Now is our time to build it back up. Although many of our usual ways of touching and connecting people has been taken away (at least for now), we can still reach out and let someone know we care about them. We can still be of service.
If you have already been doing this – awesome! Don’t let up! If you need some extra motivation – today is the day! Either way, consider getting a physical calendar and put it somewhere you can see it in plain view. Start checking off every day that you take this action. Whether it be one call, or 10 calls. Maybe you want to track some other activity, like exercising with a 15 minute walk, or 10 minutes of calisthenics, or maybe try something new like meditation or yoga?
What kind of player are we? Do we contend all the way down to the mat? And most importantly, do we get back up?
All the best,
In addition to being a realtor for the last 15+ years, Steven Ross is the author of the upcoming book, “Doors Open When You Knock: A Timeless Framework for Boundless Opportunity and Freedom.” As a trainer and mentor, Steven helps people to hit the sweet spot in their business, minimizing the hours they work while maximizing the income they generate.