Be miserable, or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice. -- Wayne Dyer
This business of real estate investing is not easy. Anybody who tells you it is is quite literally selling you something. Hard work and persistence are the name of this game. Starting in this business can be extremely daunting, between choosing your niche, how much money you have to start, the amount of time you can devote to it, etc.
You don't want to add misery to the beginning process -- it's important to get your mental attitude straightened out early. Otherwise it might take you twice as long to build your business at the start, if at all. Ask me how I know! I lost easily a few years at the beginning with spotty consistency and a scattered mind-set. I fell into each of these categories below at one time or another, and at times these can even plague established investors.
Here are some common misery pitfalls and helpful solutions to avoid them.
1. Obsessive Comparison
It is quite common, even for more experienced investors, to fall into the Obsessive Comparison Disorder trap. Networking and masterminding and even modeling are all great activities you should be pursuing. But constantly comparing yourself to another investor, maybe someone who got a faster start or a few lucky breaks, can be detrimental to your early development.
You can put this in a positive light and take up the spirit of competition to maybe outdo that guy in the future, but if you spin it negatively, as in "why not me," it can only be harmful. Again, modeling and aspiring to be like another investor is great; being jealous and constantly comparing yourself to the other investor in a negative light is always going to end poorly.
Comparison is the death of joy. -- Mark Twain
2. Being a Lone Ranger
Its a big world out there, why go it alone? If you aren't leveraging your local (and online... ahem BiggerPockets.com) networking to your advantage, you are losing out. At weekly/monthly group get-togethers, find a partner who fits what you want to do and has strengths where you have weaknesses. Get a mentor, shadow an agent, get out and do crap work to learn the ropes.
I've found partners and friends networking right on BP, and I've had coffee with at least a few dozen people who have all different experience and goals in real estate. Get involved — it's amazing how much it does for your early start.
Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. -- Andrew Carnegie
3. Being Afraid to Fail
Ah, failure. Such a powerful image when mentioned to the average person. Failure might as well just mark you for life and follow you around wherever you go, right? No way. To get over your aversion to failure, just go and find someone you feel is successful who never failed spectacularly in one way or another. Most people who we have looked up to at one time or another has had to pick themselves up from the ground and keep going.
Failure isn't the end of the road -- it's a bump in the road that can be the best teacher you could ever have. If you learn from your failures, you didn't fail at all. Experience has a price -- fail forward and not backwards. Dust yourself off, learn what went wrong and adapt to the experience. You will fail; it's not a matter of IF, but WHEN. Don't fear it, embrace it.
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better. -- Samuel Beckett
4. Being Paralyzed by Analysis
There is a fine line between sitting on the sidelines and learning about what you want to do -- and letting that learning or analysis keep you from actually doing it. I know plenty of investors across the USA, thanks to networking, and the ones who are doing the best have not let the tiny details derail their train while moving forward. There is a point where you certainly can overanalyze the situation and let it keep your train in the station.
The longer you go without action, the less you will do overall. Like the train engine just sitting there for years, rusting and drying up from no use, I've seen this happen to new investors, and it sucks. Consistent action forwards will keep the parts moving. Action begets action, which builds experience, and experience kills analysis paralysis. Get your train out of the station, and keep it moving forward. You may not be able to see what is around the next corner or over the horizon, but you will see what's next when you keep moving forward.
Get out of your own way. Stop the paralysis by analysis. Decide what you want, create a simple plan and get moving! -- Steve Maraboli
5. Having No Clarity/Goals
I speak from painful experience on this one. Don't let another day go by without writing out a detailed goal list and breaking those down into daily actions to keep you going every day. If you just have a goal of "make a million dollars," but don't have a WHY or a HOW, the likelihood of you ever reaching your goals is very slim.
If you attach a powerful WHY ("to help as many people as possible through charity and leave a legacy for my kids") with a breakdown of HOW you will get there, you'll be able to take the first steps toward your goal. So get out there, write down your goals and review them OFTEN. Some do it a few times a day or a few times a week. Having a constant reminder of what you are working toward will be a great way to keep the carrot in front of you and remind you why you are working so hard.
The tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. -- Benjamin E. Mays