How to Stop Sucking at Life (and Real Estate)

Aug 25, 2019

by Kevin Brenner, ADPI Hero, Capt, USAF / @investorkev

Everyone Sucks

Your day is finally here.  You’ve made it to the Big Show.  Coach taps you to close the game out in the bottom of the 9th inning with the bases loaded. The pressure is palpable as your team is only up by one run.  Here’s the problem, you’ve never thrown a baseball in your life. You wind up with a nice leg kick, lean in, and fire a 24 MPH fastball that barely makes it halfway to home plate.  The entire stadium erupts in raucous laughter.  Well, this didn’t go according to plan...     

The cold hard truth is that everyone sucks the first time they try something.  This applies to all facets of life, including real estate investing. You can read 10,000 books and still make silly mistakes.  So what do you do - curl up into a ball and cry. Probably not the most effective solution to your problems. Believe it or not, most people actually QUIT! They think to themselves, “well at least I can say I tried,” before moving on to the next half-hearted venture. 

Rather than quit the first time you have a run-in with failure, what if you analyzed your shortcomings and built smart systems that prevented or at a minimum avoided future similar causes that lead to that failure in the first place? Smart right. I thought so too. If you accept that you are totally going to SUCK at whatever you first try, and vow to not give up when you are staring failure in the face, then you may actually build a successful business. 

Or you can quit.

The choice is yours.

Keep reading to find out how to Stop Sucking!  


Why Mindset Matters 

While I’m not advocating for a complete balls to the wall, no amount of risk is too much risk attitude; you have to carry some sort of optimism in your search for success.  Risks are everywhere. Every decision you make, whether that’s crossing the street trying to get to the subway, or sending in your $10,000 earnest money check for your 16 unit deal you are working, carries risk. 

Conventional wisdom from the old guard, especially those who were burnt in the past, will tell you to be risk-averse. Invest in some mutual funds. Carry a nice balance in your savings account. Your money will grow nice and slow.  And by the time you are 90, you’ll finally be able to afford that year-long snowboarding getaway in Europe you’ve always dreamed of. Oh wait, you are 90. Better stick to water aerobics and butterscotch pudding.  

My point is simple - if you want to be successful you have to be able to properly analyze and mitigate risks.  Accept that risk is everywhere, and adjust your mindset accordingly. Learning how to mitigate risks in the real estate business can save you thousands of dollars. 

So rather than avoid all risk upfront, consider taking the time to identify risks to your business strategy and how best to mitigate them. Developing this mindset before you enter into a deal will help you separate the actual deals from the trash (and save you a lot of time in the process).  You’ll also become a pro at explaining risk to your private capital partners who may not have as much expertise as you in the field, thereby expanding your circle of influence by raising more capital, allowing you to participate in larger, more profitable deals! Slippery slope - maybe, but you catch my drift. Mindset matters people! 


The 3 A’s to Stop Sucking At Life (And Real Estate)


  • Accept


We kind of hit on this earlier, but I’ll double-tap it here.  You MUST accept that YOU WILL SUCK before you’ll ever STOP SUCKING.  Accept that you are not special. You are not a Real Estate guru...yet.  Maybe you have a goal of filling Grant Cardone style stadiums to the brim with hungry entrepreneurs chomping at the bit to get a slice of what you have.  That’s cool. But you are going to fight through the suck for a long time (think decades) before you reach that goal.  I don’t know the guy, but I’m sure Grant would tell you that he’s encountered some pretty crappy situations and made some God awful mistakes on his quest to become a millionaire real estate investor.  If you can take only one thing away from this blog, take this - Mastery is in asymptote. You will never achieve true mastery in anything because those who consider them close to mastery are always finding ways to improve themselves.  The best you can do is approach mastery, similar to the asymptotic approach of a line to the x or y-axis #nerdalert


  • Analyze


Rather than quit the first time you fail at something, try analyzing where you went wrong.  Be as objective as possible. Check your emotions at the door and try to take a scientific or experimental approach to the problem.  Where did you go wrong? When did you go wrong? What caused this failure? What could you do to prevent this from occurring in the future? Be intentional and detail-oriented.  Write it all out. It doesn’t have to be organized (I’m not asking for a full AAR here). For those non-military folks out there, an AAR is an after action report and its pretty much the bane of my existence (especially as a meteorologist lol).  Just come together with some organized thoughts on what you could do better in the future. Then, before you come up with a solution, send your thoughts to a mentor of yours. Perhaps someone you respect in the industry. Tell them where you screwed up.  Be humble, like I said check your emotions. Ask them to review your thought process and add input where necessary. The tough part about failing at something new is that a lot of the time you just don’t know what you don’t know. But your mentor might know.  So lean on his or her experience to fill in the gaps. I like to call this method failing forward.  You are going to suck, so the least you could do is learn something in the process of sucking. 


  • Act 


Action can take many forms.  Quitting is definitely an action and sometimes it’s advisable.  For example, if your plan is to run a short term rental business out of your primary residence in a city that specifically outlaws such practices, then quitting while you are ahead may be your best option (before you go to prison).  The quitting I’m talking about here though is the quick quit. The quit where you punch out, dissolve your business and then spend your days warning younger entrepreneurs with powerful ideas that real estate investing is for the naive and silly. 

Hardcore quitters like the ones described above typically skipped the first 2 A’s above and jumped right to the hard QUIT. The action you take will define you. Use your analysis combined with your mentor’s inputs to drive your next step.  Reach out to a network of like-minded individuals (cough cough...ADPI...cough cough) at your local REIA if you don’t have a mentor. Nine times out of ten, someone in your circle has failed in a similar fashion as you have. They may have a solution for you.  At a minimum, they’ll be able to tell you how they were able to overcome their failure to succeed in their real estate investment. Be wise, act accordingly. 


Fail Forward

So there you have it.  You suck (or you will suck) - a total bummer of a blog post right. Wrong. Accept, Analyze, and Act.  That’s how you will get over the inevitable suck that you will encounter in your business. Soon you will be a risk-mitigating machine making all the right moves in a dynamic marketplace.  Knowing that it takes time to get to that stage will help you accept your disposition and reduce the stress and sting of failing. If you are going to fail, do yourself a favor, and fail forward. 


 Kevin Brenner is an Active Duty Air Force Captain, ADPI Hero, REIA creator, blogger, and an active multifamily investor. You can reach out to him through the ADPI Facebook group, follow him on Instagram @investorKev, or email him directly at [email protected]



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