Friday, June 19, 2009

Attitude is Everything

We cannot control the market or the circumstance of a transaction, but we can control our attitude.

Bad things happen. Market forces create adverse conditions for sellers where there is insufficient demand compared to supply or interest rates are too high for reasonable housing payments. Inspections reveal previously unknown problems with a property. Appraisals produce results that do not support purchase prices. Underwriting guidelines change. These are all circumstances over which we, as Realtors, do not have control.

It is natural for us to react to these situations with strong emotions. Our emotions are real. We feel anger, anxiety, frustration, bewilderment; real feelings. However, feelings are momentary. After the feelings surface we have opportunity to review and analyze our feelings. We have time to reflect on those feelings and choose our attitude. Our attitude is our perspective on the situation which may or may not be controlled by our feelings.


The manner in which we react to circumstances, as influenced by our attitude, often times affects the results or outcomes of particular situations. If we approach a circumstance with a defeatist attitude, we are likely not to succeed. If we have a victim attitude, there will likely be more bad circumstances coming our way. An opportunity attitude will help us see even better opportunities. A determined attitude will guide us to finding solutions.

Attitudes don't offer guarantees, but they do come with unintended consequences. Having the right attitude won't necessarily solve your inspection or appraisal problem. A positive attitude will attract people to you, and that may bring additional business. The right attitude may create or enhance a bond of customer loyalty such that even if a particular deal falls apart your client or customer will devote themselves to you and refer plenty more customers.

If attitudes can sometimes influence outcomes and sometimes produce unintended consequences, then controlling your attitude, or, more specifically, maintaining a positive attitude would be extraordinarily important in real estate (or any sales environment). After all, what kind of outcomes or unintended consequences would you want? Positive ones, of course!

Suppose that there are no effects from one's attitude either intended or not. Suppose that results are independent of attitude. When circumstances arise what do we control? Circumstances being what they are we cannot change them. Other people's responses, if we assume they are independent of our influence (our attitude would be the influencing factor), cannot be controlled. It seems that the only thing that we can control is, in fact, our attitude.

We react to a situation or circumstance with real feelings. We think about those feelings and choose an attitude. Our attitude produces subsequent feelings. Positive attitudes generally produce positive feelings. Negative attitudes - negative feelings. If for no other reason than to feel better, we would be wise to choose positive attitudes.

The next time you are faced with an adverse circumstance stop for a moment and think about what attitude you will choose to embrace. Experiment with different attitudes if you like. Be sure to analyze the results that you achieve with the different attitudes you embrace.

Personally, I like the odds with the positive attitude. I like the idea that I can at least control my own attitude. Plus I like how I feel when I have a positive attitude. In tough situations attitude is everything.

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