The pursuit of happiness, cycling and lockdown musings
About the author
Jane Slack-Smith has been named one of the Top 10 Property Experts in Australia by Money Magazine, one of the Top 4 Financial Influencers by Qantas and been awarded the Australia’s Mortgage Broker of the Year twice.
Over the last few months you will know that recently I have been subjecting my family to 80’s movies – yes Melbourne lockdown has been hard and long.
We recently watched The Pursuit of Happyness. (Ok, I know it’s not an 80’s movie, but the story is truly inspiring…) How a single Dad did everything possible to secure the future he wanted for him and his son …. and to the say the least…it was tough – living on the streets type of tough.
It makes you realise that, despite all the things we have been dealt this year, we are still fortunate, more than most.
Melbourne lockdown has been tough. Today we hear that we can now travel 25km… although this feels like a relief I am not sure there is anywhere I really want to go for walk that is within 25km, regardless it is nice to know I can. Maybe for excitement I might visit a supermarket for my weekly grocery shop which is outside the 5km limit I have been under for the last few months.
All these impositions and changes to our familiar routine makes us resilient. Just like the character that Will Smith plays in this movie – he never gave up – he had a goal and he was focused and although things got tough – and sometimes he just had to have a good cry – he kept going.
I have just finished a one day (virtual) mastermind with my mentoring clients, hence why this email was not sent earlier.
We have explored the stories we are being told by experts and media about the property market, the economy and the future. We have explored who benefits from the stories being told (and even a conversation about the documentary Social Dilemma). We explored the stories we tell ourselves, the stories that could try to derail us achieving our goals. We then jumped forward and redefined the goal we are trying to personally achieve and we defined the path to achieve that goal. Just like in the movie…
There are 3 remarkable scenes that stood out to me from the movie Pursuit of Happyness (not a spelling mistake).
The Drowning Man scene: this is similar to a story I used to tell when I used to speak at seminars. Essentially, there is a drowning man, 2 boats come by and ask if he needs help. He says “no, God will save me”. He drowns… He goes to heaven and says “God why did you forsake me?” God says “wow! what do I have to do? I sent you 2 boats…” (click see the clip)
So here is the thing.
For some, you may feel like they are in a situation outside your control, and you can do nothing, but take the time to look around because their will usually be something to support you on your journey through. A random act of kindness, an incredible sunset, a call from a friend. Even when things are dark if you look you can see the light.
In the last few months I have been thinking a bit about what it takes to push through, to be resilient, to not give up.
Because I get it, life is tough for lots of people at the moment.
So I wondered, could you ‘rehearse’ resilience, could you prepare for the worst-case so when you faced it you were ready to act?
In all my property investing teachings I risk-minimise everything I can. I have used this technique for over 20 years and I have taught it for nearly as long. So why not apply that to life?
My philosophy has been, if you know the worst-case scenario, you can take action to minimise the risk.
So I started researching how would you prepare yourself, and your children, for a downside event, maybe another pandemic, the next big cultural shift, the next spanner in the works?
What do we need to make us more resilient?
Does anyone practice the skill consciously of resilience?
Who does this and how can I learn what they do?
I didn’t have to look far.
I had been following my cousins’ cycling over the last few months. He and his brother and their folks moved to Colorado, USA, over 10 years ago, so the boys could have the best opportunity to develop their cycling skills. Both brothers raced in competition teams and were successful.
However, at one point they lost the love of cycling.
So they took off on an adventure and made a film cycling the 2500km from Port Macquarie in NSW to Ayers Rock, and then they did it again across the US.
Lachie (one of my cousins) then decided to enter a few off tour and off road races. The kind of race without the 10 person support crew rather the type of race where you carry your bike over fences, sleep when you are tired, sometimes in ditches, get lost in the wilderness… he literally took to the wild.
Riding hundreds of kilometres without sleep for days. This was real Bear Grylls meets cycling stuff. And he won, twice. Last year he cycled 1,803 Kms from Lands End to the top of Scotland, in the GBDuro, covering over 260km a day and leading the pack usually by about 500kms.
After that ride, he said:
“It’s about pushing the envelope to where your boundaries are. Something like this, you’re going to find them. It’s all about how you deal with them, and hopefully how that helps you grow out of it.”
And then last month, he completed another one of these epic adventures, The Badlands… 700km in 2 days.
Here some excerpts from his interview about that race:
“It’s about putting yourself in difficult situations often enough that they’re no longer difficult… I specifically went out three days before this race with my bike fully loaded and tried to get myself lost in the Pyrenees, which I did very successfully. And then it involved a two-hour hike off a mountain to get out of it.
I did that to try and sort of frustrate myself in the difficult situation, but just make sure all those mental cues are there to calm yourself down, bring yourself back and be like, “It’s fine.” Because that ultimately is the limiting factor is how you deal with that difficulty.”
(full interview here)
Seriously, he got lost on purpose!
He faced the biggest fear, getting lost, and then learnt how to deal with it so he was prepared in case it ever happened when he really needed to be level headed…when it counted.
I recently attended a talk by Mark Mathews, a big wave surfer. His biggest fear is drowning… so, in an attempt to overcome his biggest fear, he had one of his support team submerge him underwater until he passed out, so he could know what his worst fear would feel like. So this is going a bit extreme, in my opinion, but it demonstrates what elite athletes will do to be the best. **WARNING: DO NOT DO THAT AT HOME**
So ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ – the movie, Lachlan Morton – the cyclist… What does it all mean?
To me, it all comes down to how you deal with tough times. How you look at the situation, how you react, how you prepare yourself for the worst and take action to build resilience to be able to face anything thrown at you. Having the confidence to back yourself.
These last 7 months have been tough. Take a moment just to acknowledge that you have had a horrible time. It is fine to recognise this, even whilst knowing others might have done it tougher.
However, it is how you come out of this that will make you better.
Tough times will come again and you now know what having your life turn upside down feels like, you have practised for when it happens again and you will be better prepared for the next time.
Regardless of what you read, these are not unprecedented times. Pandemics have been happening and being recorded for over 2,000 years.
Just remember, this too shall pass and you be ready for the next difficulty that life serves you.
During our wrap of my quarterly mentoring session on Sunday, I asked everyone to share their key take away. Was it the Vision exercise, the real market data analysis, the professionals and experts who joined us to discuss the on the ground intel? As good as they all were what kept coming up was this quote:
I encourage you to focus on what you can control, set yourself a goal, be vigilant and resilient and congratulate yourself on how much you have learnt and how far you have come.
And as always here is to Your Property Success
P.S. Oh so you want to know the other 2 scenes I loved from the movie?
- Why you should no one ever steal your dreams https://youtu.be/dPEdwaLQLag
- If you are dedicated on being more efficient and being the best you can be to get done what you need to do, then sometimes a little change can make a bit difference https://youtu.be/xPBBnS4br9w What would you do with an extra 8mins a day? How could you get to the top of your list without going through the process everyone else does?
P.P.S. If you are wondering what young Lachie is up to at the moment – well, he is back on gravel and one of the 18 Aussies in the 3,497 km Giro ditalia race that will take place between the 3rd and the 25th of October. If you are like me and know nothing about cycling, apparently this is the Italian version of the Tour de France – if you are really keen you can track him – a different type of dot map this time 😉
If you would like to checkout helpful information then you might find the following useful.
- Borrow My Brain Series. Sometimes you just need a second set of eyes over a property purchase. In this series I talk to investors and first home buyers looking for some help. https://www.janeslacksmith.com.au/borrowmybrain
- Your Home is Your Gold Mine. This series was completed for Australian Women’s Weekly. It shows how your home can be the cornerstone of your wealth https://yourpropertysuccess.com.au/goldmine/
- Are you a first home buyer who is wondering if now is the time to buy? Check out all the resources including the First Home Buyers Show here http://firsthousebuyer.com.au/
- For a collection of all our my courses, podcasts, series and more you can find it all here www.janeslacksmith.com.au